Dear Friends,

It was a wonderful effort on the part of South Central Regional Medical Center to stage a health fair last week. I almost went but I “chickened out.” You see, I know I’d max the physical tests they offered. I’m lucky there because I”m pushing 70 and I take only a statin drug. Dr. Beaman, my family doctor, sends my annual bloodwork to me with “like a teenager” and “all systems perfect” scrawled across the annual Labcorp report.

It’s that “other” part of the fair I really needed to pay a visit to…the mental health part. I knew they would be welcoming and professional, but I was afraid I’d start to cry.  (Not that they probably aren’t used to that!)

No, I decided like everything else in my life — I’d do the mental health healing on my own. After all, I’ve got my “go to” mental health “Board of Directors” from the Laurel Leader-Call.  

Tracy Traylor’s “Face and Endure” column truly helped me and her “Crockpot Anger” one made me really, really smile. (I haven’t been doing much smiling lately and that’s a shame … I’ve got great dimples!)

Jerry Marcellino, pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church, tells me God is in control and I’m ashamed to say I don’t understand everything the pastor says but I read and re-read it and his words gave me comfort.

Then there’s Dr. Bill Myers. On Jan. 29, he said in his column that it’s OK to cry in tough times. Thanks for that, Dr. Bill, I’m certainly doing a lot of that!

And last but not least thanks to Rhonda Smith at South Central Behavioral Health Services. Rhonda, your column on seasonal depression forced me to get out of bed and get some sun to help with my feelings of despair.  

My wonderful husband of 49 years, David, has struggled with mental issues. He took that all important, brave step back in 1994 to see a psychiatrist and he’s been under his care since. David treated that sickness as just another part of his overall health care needs and has successfully run 2 airports across the nation since.

I used to roll my eyes in disdain at this “special light” he used in winter for his sadness and secretly was never very supportive of his mental health care regimen. “Just get over it,” I would think to myself many times. Then came the July 11th raid on our property. The old Mary Ellen Senne went somewhere and was replaced by a quivering mass of jelly. I keep our sprawling business going only because I don’t want to let down my employees or tenants that depend on “Ol’ Ms. Mary Ellen.”

In our younger years, David and I piloted aircraft and jumped out of them. Brave stuff. But I know realize Ol’ Mr. Dave has one up on me in the bravery department. He took that important first step many years ago to help himself mentally. I’m not quite there yet.  

I read every article I can about “the blues,” especially those from my Laurel Leader-Call “experts.”  

I often wonder if writers ever ask themselves, “Is anybody really reading this?” Or, “Am I helping anyone?”  Well, I’m here to tell you Jerry, Bill, Tracy and Rhonda, you’ve sure helped this lady.

Please, you four, keep on writing and I promise you I’ll keep reading.

Mary Ellen Senne

Johnson Community

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