Out of Whack: Living in 2020

Love and Medicine is groping for words. My emotions are all over the place. I cry at the drop of a hat. Sometimes the tears are tears of joy. Other times my heart aches for those I love who are far from me. There are days I wake up hypomanic, filled with ideas, energy and ambition. Other days are like Groundhog Day; is this really still happening? But no matter what, I always wake up grateful.

The lake in my backyard (and Normal People) saved my quarantine. Whether I am immersed in it, gliding over it on a board or just staring – marveling at its beauty – water nourishes me mentally and physically like nothing else. Refer to my previous post on The Paradox of Water and I strongly recommend the book Why We Swim.

Siem Reap, Cambodia 2007

I love lying down at night. My nights are rich and laden with dreams, 3 hours of REM sleep, easy according to my wearable. Pre – Covid I averaged 38 minutes. The nights are cool thanks to my bamboo sheets and ceiling fan.

In the morning, before brushing my teeth, I roll out my yoga mat and the first voice I hear is Adrienne. Following her 30 Days of Yoga keeps me on track. Some days Adrienne is the only voice I hear for hours.

My work as a clinical researcher has dried up. Clinical trials are on hold. I no longer drive to the clinic in Madison. I have a part time tele-psychiatry practice. I have focused on research for so many years and now I am back to practicing classic psychiatry. Anxiety and depression are the flavor of the day while OCD sufferers are finding some relief and validation in this period.

My family and I have been separated by thousands of miles since February. I have never met my first grandchild,
who is already 3 months old.

I have WhatsApp video and Zoom and I am grateful for technology. If only it could transmit the touch and smell of a baby’s skin. My heart aches for someone I have never met. I hear grand-parenting is beyond wonderful, I never dreamed I’d be experiencing it from so far away.

At the same time you hear about families reunited, adult children that come home in the midst of chaos. Multi-generational households are on the rise. It is a relief to have adult children spared from decisions about school.

While we all live with uncertainty all the time, these times are uncertainty squared.

Every time I want to write about my isolation, I hear a story that is worse than mine. There will always be stories that are worse. And stories that are better. We are all doing the best we can.

Just seeing this cake today, made me disproportionately happy. Emo to the max!


How are you feeling these days? How are you coping?



  1. Elana on August 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Anne, I so get it. All I can say is hang in there and hang on to the happy, calming, normal-ish moments. I think with a ton of patience and understanding even us oldtimers will realize we can do it – we can live in and through this sucky pandemic. You will find your post-pandemic thing to do, be it research, writing a book, or just floating on soothing waters. Big hug and thanks for this poignant post.

    • Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Elana,

      Even us old-timers got this! Are we old-timers?

      It just all feels very surreal but we have no control so we can’t overthink it.
      I was never a planner and now no one else can plan either. I’ve grown accustomed to my solitude and appreciate it.
      I’m also fortunate to be able to work and help patients that are really struggling.
      What a fashla with the flowers!

      Love you, Annco

  2. Jodi on August 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    You nailed this one Anne K.!!
    So we’ll written

    • Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks Sissy! Hope to see you tomorrow for the girls day – the highlight of my week!

  3. Madeleine on August 21, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Beautiful, encouraging message Anne.

    • Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Madeleine. So happy to see you are reading Love and Medicine.

      I’m trying to talk about what others feel and might not be saying, taking vulnerability out of the closet!

      I wish I could see an end to this madness. In the meantime just need to be grateful and make every day count…

      So much love to you and yours and keep reading!


  4. James on August 22, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Anne, Your dissonance is shared by so many. Thank you for describing it so well. Denise and I are fortunate not to worry about money or housing or even jobs. We are coping by staying active outdoors, seeing some friends with distancing and by trying to not get on each others nerve. The political climate just adds to the anxiety. Water is also my salvation, both in my backyard pond and from my boats. Fishing is always regenerative. And, we love yoga with Adrienne. Hang in there, Doctor. You are a guiding light for many of us.

    • Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Jim,
      Beautifully written comment from one writer to another. You and Denise are lucky that you have each other and that you like the same things, even though it probably feels like togetherness overload these days.
      Our summer has been so lovely, I basically go inside only to sleep.
      Our friend Adrienne can sometimes be annoying with her sense of humor but she is supportive, keeps us from getting old and inflexible and on top of it she tells us she loves us!

      My lake is full of wide-mouth bass, crappies, blue gills and perch if you’re in the neighborhood.

      Politics is beyond scary right now, all we can do is speak our truth and vote…

      Keep reading L+M, I always look forward to your feedback. I am trying to build up my readership and possibly launch a private practice from there but we’ll see. In the meantime its one foot in front of the other and keep moving!


  5. Marci on August 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Anne,
    I rarely check in to Facebook. I did today and I am so glad. Your post is so meaningful and well written. We are all living these crazy times together and the disappointments we have all had to face are huge. Your post is a reminder to take joy in the small things, water, technology, yoga. We will get through this and our resiliency has been tested and stretched and we have grown.

    I wish you joy, good health and lots of love in the days, months and years ahead.
    Sending hugs!

    • Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Marci, so happy you checked in and caught a glimpse of my world – which, as it turns out, is so similar to what other people are going through. It’s really all about the small things, always was, and now even more so.
      I wish I saw an end in sight but in the meantime we have to carry on…
      Water, technology and yoga just about says it all for the two of us.
      You have no idea how much you calmed my heart by taking the time to comment so sincerely and beautifully.

      Love to you and yours,

  6. Anne Koplin on August 25, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Oh Terri,
    Hearing the news about therapy made me jump for joy. People cannot live life to the fullest without doing the inner work. This is the perfect time to do it, and you don’t even need to drive! Deep and dirty are music to my ears..
    Yeah, the sleep is a mystery. I do know I am going to sleep much earlier and also waking up early. And I am more physically active even if it’s just a short walk before it gets too hot. I’m way sweatier than normal too 😑
    “out of whack” indeed but putting one foot in front of the other and grateful. As I know you are too.

    Keep reading Love+Medicine!
    Love and miss you,