Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 13 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Why DONATE? Read: Asking for Help, post from 12/04/2013. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Self Talk

Irrational Mind (IM): I feel a little heavy.
Rational Mind (RM): That's normal. You're tapering.

IM: My legs feel heavy and tired.
RM: Your legs always feel heavy and tired during your taper. It's normal.

IM: I think I've gained 2 pounds.
RM: It's normal to gain a little bit of weight, even a few pounds, during a taper for a marathon.

IM: I'm afraid it's going to make me slower.
RM: We've been through this 22 times. You'll be fine, just as you've been every other time.

IM: My knees feel sore.
RM: That's happened to you before. Aches and pains, and worries about aches and pains, are normal while tapering.

IM: What if I don't finish?
RM: Worse things have happened. The world will not end. Besides, you've finished 22 times before!

IM: I feel worried and anxious.
RM: You always feel worried and anxious just before a marathon. It's normal.

IM: I'm worried my mood will be affected.
RM: You always feel worried and anxious before a marathon. It's normal. It doesn't mean you're mood is faltering.

IM: Are you sure?
RM: 22 times!!

IM: I'm worried about Jet. I hate leaving him.
RM: You always hate leaving him. He's resilient. He'll survive. So will you.

IM: What if something happens?
RM: Your dog sitter is very capable. You've used her before, and nothing has happened. Why would this time be any different?

IM: I don't think I did a very good job speaking to that class yesterday.
RM: Where did that thought come from? I thought we were talking marathon!

IM: Oh, right... I feel a little heavy.
RM: Ugh. Here we go again...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One year anniversary

It has been 365 days since one of the oldest, most prestigious running events in the world was shattered by two bombs. Senseless tragedy ensued. There were 3 deaths and over 260 injured survivors, 16 of whom had to have one or both limbs amputated. Another death occurred in the following days when one of the bombers ambushed an M.I.T. police officer. Stupid, senseless, vicious... Why?

I wore my Boston Marathon jacket today and immediately noticed I was standing a little taller. There was a sense of pride, of solidarity with all those runners who were there last year. I was lucky. I wasn't there. I'm not sure I could go back this year if I had been. I'm so impressed with all the survivors who have carried on with their lives despite their injuries. Some of them are even running this year. I congratulate them. I'm in awe of them.

I spent part of the day today watching The Tribute--the city of Boston's ceremony honoring the bombing victims, although they prefer to be called survivors. It was beautiful, powerful, and honorable. Boston Strong was front and center today. I was impressed.

As I prepare to go to Boston, and as I think about running next Monday, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to be a runner, to have the opportunity to run marathons and the honor of running Boston. Life can change in an instant. I've had my share of struggles, this illness being the central struggle, but I can still run. It is part of my identity. I don't know what I'd do if I lost it. Thankfully, I haven't had to find out.

In six days I will join 36,000 other like-minded souls in a 26.2 mile journey from Hopkington to Boston. I expect it will be an emotional journey, maybe even a goosebump experience. I expect that last half mile down Boylston Street, the site of the bombings, will be humbling and amazing. I am honored to be participating this year. I am honored be a part of taking back our streets. I will be Boston Strong.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Working better

I had the opportunity to work this week. I worked three, four hour shifts. The good news is I'm doing okay despite the stress of working. In fact, it didn't feel so stressful this week. That's a change for the better. I was pretty anxious prior to the first shift I worked on Wednesday, but my anxiety subsided soon after my shift began, and I was able to focus on working. It helps that I work with wonderful people who were happy to see me back. I'm lucky.

In general, I've been doing well. I'm feeling good. My mood has remained stable. I've been taking care of what needs to be taken care of lately. Running my errands, completing my housework (not all at once), tapering for Boston, and going to meetings. It's so nice when life is easy, when the grip of depression is loose and there is light in my world. I'm grateful.

I continue to be humbled and honored by you, my readers. Your comments surprise and satisfy me. I am so happy to hear my simple writings make a difference in your lives. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Getting ready to go

I am less than two weeks away from running the Boston Marathon. I'm really looking forward to going now. From a running standpoint, I feel ready. That's really great. I never thought I'd be able to say that in January when running was so slow and tough, and I was feeling so heavy.I'm still in the process of losing the depression weight. I've lost at least 7 pounds since January, and that's made a big difference in my running. It's gotten easier and easier to run faster and faster over the months of training. I'm anxious to see what my body will do on marathon day, April 21st.

I'm also anxious to see my boyfriend, D. We haven't seen each other in at least 6 weeks! Too long. He's coming to Boston to watch me run. We're flying separately from our respective states and meeting at the hotel in Boston. I can't wait! I've been missing him a lot lately. We're staying for a few days after the race, too. I lived in Boston for five years, so I'm excited to show him the sites while we spend time together. I'm afraid it might be hard to leave.

Hopefully, when I do come home, I'll have more work options. I'm still trying to get some shifts scheduled so I can get back to my pre-depression-episode life. I will be working tomorrow for the first time in two weeks. I'm worried my improved mood over the past two weeks has simply been the result of not working, which would mean my struggles prior to that were likely the result of going back to work. I hope that was not the case. I'd prefer if it was more of a coincidence. Until I get some consistent shifts again, I guess I won't know for sure. It will be nice to work while feeling better.

And finally, thank you all for your comments on my previous post. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and appreciated your kind words of support. As so often happens when I write here, I now know I am not at all alone. I hope the comments of others were helpful to the rest of you, too. I'll keep writing in hopes that we all continue moving forward despite our personal battles with this dreadful illness. Carry on, friends.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Defective

I said something the other day, a bit in jest, but realized later that it had some truth to it, actually more truth than I'd like admit. But admit it is what I am about to do. I've become aware that I approach relationships from a position of defect. That is, I feel I am defective. I feel I am a defective person, because of my illness, in comparison to you. And to you, and you, and you... Internally, I feel less than pretty much every person I meet and with whom I interact. Ouch.

That wasn't an easy paragraph to write. I am not proud of this fact. This has been a hard realization at which to arrive. But I wonder if I am alone. I wonder if others can relate. And if you can relate, what have you done about it? This is not an attitude or feeling I want to continue. I'd much rather approach others feeling as if I were an equal.

As I've noted, this is a fresh observation of an underlying belief. I don't think it is obvious to those around me. I think others would be surprised to learn I feel this way. I don't think I act as if I feel less than my friends or coworkers, but feel that way I do. I don't totally understand it myself. I'm not even sure how it impacts my life exactly, but it probably does, right? It's something I'll have to work on, I guess.

Feel free to discuss.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No work

I'm struggling with what to write here today. I don't have anything new or interesting to report. Life is slowly moving forward. I say slowly because I've been bored thus far this week. I have not worked since last Wednesday, and that was only for a couple of hours. And I'm not scheduled to work the rest of the week either. Things are slow at the rehab facility and at the hospital, so there has been no need for extra help. While working did make me anxious, it was better than sitting home when I'm feeling well enough to be working. I'd much rather be dealing with my anxiety today.

That being said, I have been running as scheduled, going to meetings, and catching up on a bit more housework. My energy has been better, which is another reason I've been frustrated by not working. I've had plenty of time to nap, but I haven't needed to nap! Go figure. I'm not complaining. It is what it is, and like everything else, it's temporary. I'm grateful my mood and energy have been better than they were. Wouldn't it be nice if that were permanent? I can hope.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gratefully a bit better

Perhaps it was your enthusiastic and supportive response to my last post. Perhaps it was not having to work the past couple of days. Perhaps it was just a matter of time passing. Whatever the reason, I am feeling a little bit better. My apathy has declined while my energy has improved. In fact, I was able to do some housework yesterday, which was a pretty big deal. It's been awhile since I've given a damn about or had the energy to do housework. I'm grateful to be feeling well enough to be somewhat productive again.

Today my mood was helped by the completion of my third and final 20-mile training run in preparation for The Boston Marathon on April 21st. It was a gorgeous day! Finally! I had a conversation with God about gratitude off and on throughout my run. I thanked God for all the people and things I have in my life. I am a lucky woman. Despite this awful illness, I have a lot for which to be grateful. I probably don't think about that often enough. Today, while running for 3 hours, I had plenty of opportunity to say thanks.

What's on your gratitude list today?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Apathy

It says, "loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities." It's one of the official symptoms of depression.Yup, got it. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to write. I don't want to go to the store. I don't want to visit. I don't want to talk on the phone. I don't want to cook or prepare even simple things to eat. I don't want to clean. I don't want to change my clothes. I don't even want to open the door to get my mail! It's all too big, or too overwhelming, or just too uninteresting. And it all takes energy. I don't have any of that right now.

Sleep. That's the only thing at which I am currently proficient. The funny thing is I'm not interested in sleeping either, but I can barely keep my eyes open most of the time. Despite my hyper somnolence, I've been able to keep a few commitments. This is how it goes. I sleep, work for a few hours, and then collapse in exhaustion. I sleep, struggle through a run, and then I sleep some more. I sleep, go to an appointment, and then collapse in a heap. It's painful and exhausting to leave my house. I'm battling just to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

I'm trying my best not to worry. Of course I am worried...waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I can't do that. I've got to stay in today. I'm doing my best to keep moving forward, even if it means sleeping more than my fair share of the day. I'm trying to do what my body will allow when it will allow it. I wish it wasn't painful and exhausting to leave my house. I wish something, anything, held my interest. But that's not the case right now. Despite the apathy, I feel I've got to keep pushing. And that's what I'm attempting to do. It's hard. This illness is hard sometimes. I hate it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Only one direction from here

Despite my best efforts the dive in my mood continues. Actually, rather than a quick dive, it now feels like a gradual, suffocating, slide underwater; really black, heavy, murky water. The symptoms I'm experiencing have multiplied over the past couple days. And today depression took away what little energy I had left. I'm heavy, exhausted, and slow.

I've been trying to do what I can to get out, keep to my commitments, and talk to friends (though I admit I haven't done too well on that score). Socialization is always the first to go. Today, I lost running. That's a scary sign, as that's often my last bastion of normalcy. But today I tried and failed.

Okay, perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I didn't totally fail. I did get some of my run accomplished, but very unlike me, I could not complete the miles I had scheduled. And the miles I did run were so difficult, I was incredibly frustrated. I was forced to begin walking far from home. My body just wouldn't go. Jet and I slowly made our way back. It was a long, cold, misadventure.

I'm concerned. I certainly don't want to go through another depression episode. I want to keep moving forward. I want to keep working, running, and socializing. I want to feel the feelings of life, not stand outside myself and coldly observe. I'm going through the motions without feeling. I want to be in motion instead.

I'm speaking to a high school class about depression tomorrow. Hopefully that will help get me out of my head for an hour. I'm also scheduled to see my therapist, which I certainly hope will help turn the tide. I want and need to get my head back above water. I'm low, so low. Up is the only direction I have left to go.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dive...

Short post today, as my mood has taken a dive. Things are very dark today. My energy is low. My thoughts are negative and slow. It's difficult to move. It's been a long day. I'm counting on this being a temporary crash. I have to believe that. I can't fathom going back to where I've recently been. I will not. Despite my hopelessness, lethargy, and fatigue, I've been trying to move. It took two attempts, but I did get a short run in today. And I'm right now preparing to go to an AA meeting, despite the fact that being around people may be downright painful. I can't go backwards. There is just too much to lose. I pray my efforts will pay off and my mood will bounce back soon.



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