The title of this thought ramble is courtesy of my friend Catherine. She often told me — “Life is calm, I’m walking peacefully when all of a sudden, without any warning, I’m on an ice field and I fall through.” That was her way of describing a bout of depression. I remembered the phrase recently when, the ice broke, and I fell through. Its not like I didn’t have any warning that it was coming. After all, it was the Fall of the year, leaves were falling, cooler temperature, gray skies. I was a year older. Various body parts were showing their age — not working as well as they used to. The messages coming through were to focus on the present, the past is gone and the future is still to come. And I ignored the messages. After all, I thought I had dealt with the issues from the past and moved on. WRONG! All of a sudden I was remembering my childhood. Searching for happy memories. Since it wasn’t necessarily a white picket fence, happy family — it isn’t a place I enjoy visiting. My father did the best he could and so, I guess, did I.
I was worried that my father would fall into the past when his memory declined because of Alzheimer’s. I was afraid he would remember the fire and the death of my mother and brother. Thankfully he was protected from those dark times.
Searching for a way back to the surface, back to the light, I hit the stop button in my brain. I turned on music to help distract my thinking. I’ve heard that when you are asleep — lost in a nightmare, you can tell your brain to stop — it is only a dream. I tried the same concept — even though I was awake. I refused to go down the same dark path that I have traveled many times before.
I would love to state that I exercised because I know that works to ease stress. I did Tai Chi but not any strenuous exercise. I felt I had no time, too much to do. And if truth be told, I do. I don’t know if I’m moving in slow motion but everything I try to do seems to take longer. Of course, I’m still trying to do many things at once. Instead of enjoying the quiet while I exercised, I turned on the TV. Yo-Yo Ma was the guest speaker, he has a new CD — Playlist on the Borders. I was reminded of the time, many years ago, when he was a gift to me. I planned to go to the Celtic Fest downtown in the city. It was early afternoon — a line of people by the Chicago Symphony caught my eye. It was a free day and I changed my mind and joined the line. It took a long time to enter. Yo-Yo Ma was the featured artist. He delayed the concert until everyone was seated. I enjoyed myself totally and stayed until 10:00 PM.
I often have “help” from the other side. The key is to recognize it.