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    Meyer: Living in the in-between

    By Melissa Meyer, MS, LPCC-S
    Marion Star — Guest columnist

    We think of “no man’s land” as a place that’s unsteady, unreliable and even dangerous. We doubt we can cross it safely. The uncertainties leave us worried about our current footing and confused about the path ahead.

    That’s similar to the way many feel during what is hopefully our last phase of life in a pandemic. Have we found a path forward, or are we still mired in the pandemic’s disappointments? Are we still repeating our circuit around the maze of 2020 where we had to navigate a whole different way of living without the benefit of GPS?

    Questions about health still dominate conversations and discourage our optimism. What ramifications should I expect if I do or don’t get vaccinated? Do I still need to wear a mask? When is it safe to host large family events again?

    We think we’re about to finish this marathon called COVID-19. But, we’re exhausted, a little dazed and even skeptical that we will finally break the tape. All these perceptions and perplexities are valid.

    That said, perhaps we need to stop focusing on what we can’t change and do something about what we can.

    And, what we can change is our thinking and beliefs. Last year was one of the most challenging in recent history. For example, economists tell us that the depths to which our economy plunged were some of the lowest the U.S. has ever experienced. On the other hand, they also tell us that the subsequent economic rebound likewise has been one of the fastest and most robust — and that even greater gains lie ahead.

    In my practice and in my life, I find that every crisis carries some form of blessing. The pandemic echoed this truth.

    Maybe you rediscovered the joy of family dinners and kids game nights. You remembered that loved ones and their hugs are as essential to our lives as water and food. Buying toilet paper now feels like scoring a winning lottery ticket. Masks express our fashion and our passion, with colorful patterns and sports team logos. Your kids could now staff tech support for Zoom.

    Nothing atones the loss of a loved one or struggling with longer-term health impacts. Yet, even in the midst of our pain, we can be grateful for the kind phone call from a friend, the words of encouragement posted on our social media page, the way our favorite pet cuddled with us when we needed it most. These acts of love may not compensate, but they can ameliorate our sense of going through it alone.

    As we close in the last leg of our journey and you find yourself limping or falling, don’t forget that we made it this far together — and together we can get over the finish line. Need support? Reach out to someone you trust. Sense that someone else is hurting? Lift their spirits with an email, call or walk around the block.

    Breaking down our walls of isolation reassures us that we can get to the other side, even when we walk through the land of “not quite yet.”

    To reach Melissa Meyer and the team at Maryhaven, visit or call 740-375-5550.

    Melissa Meyer, MS, LPCC-S, is director of Regional Services for Maryhaven, Central Ohio’s largest and most comprehensive behavioral health services provider specializing in addiction recovery.

    Read in the Marion Star