Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 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. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A date?

I had a date last night. It's been a long time since I had a date. We met for the first time yesterday afternoon at a local establishment. He had a beer and popcorn. I had a Coke and popcorn. After three hours of talking, it appeared we were hitting it off just fine. He's a nice guy. Well established. Mature with two kids. It was kind of nice to be out. I so rarely do anything like that. I think there will be a second date.

I was worried, as I always am, about meeting someone new. With a convoluted history as long as mine--well, it's not exactly a selling point. I got more worried when he began talking about his ex-wife, who had an eating disorder, and one of the women he's dated recently, who had bi-polar disorder. He wasn't exactly complimentary of either woman's illness, and he definitely had bad experiences with each one. I decided to leave my immediate history hidden, for now, right then and there.

Hiding any part of me is not how I typically proceed, and I hope I've not disappointed anyone with that decision. I did tell him I was in recovery. I'd rather he get to know me before he makes any decisions about me. I figured if he knew I had depression up front, we'd probably never have gotten to the "getting to know me" stage. Maybe he'll drop me like a hot potato once I'm more forthcoming with him, but I figure that says more about him than me.

I don't know. It's so hard to know how people will react to any type of mental illness history. The stigma out there is so great. What's interesting is this guy sees a therapist, so he's gotten past some of that stigma. He also has some education about mental illness, but he's definitely still got some stereotyped ideas. Maybe I'm being a fool even considering a second date...but then again, it's been an awful long time since I've had a second date! Right now I plan to take it a moment at a time, enjoy it for what it is, and go from there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A lazy weekend

I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm still in garage sale hangover mode. Maybe I'm not as active as I like to think. I don't know, but I'm feeling really lazy this weekend. I got out yesterday morning to help with our local half-marathon, but otherwise I've done absolutely nothing this weekend. I contemplated riding my bike this morning--a gorgeous morning--but here I sit with my cup of coffee listening to NPR instead.

I'll be honest. I'm hoping to work up the gumption to get on my bike later today. I would like to get back in shape. I feel so much better when I'm in shape. (Although I am feeling pretty okay now!) I wish I wouldn't take these exercise breaks, as it's always so hard to get started again. But then again, I think there is something healthy about taking breaks, too. Who knows? I'm envious of those who can run and run and run for years on end and seem to enjoy it all the time. Sometimes it's just work for me. Today may be one of those work days.

I've not much else to report. Lazy weekends don't lend themselves to news and stories. I am still recovering from my garage sale. Maybe I'll get busy cleaning and rearranging my house today. Then again, maybe I'll just sit here, drink coffee, and enjoy NPR.

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. --Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

Thursday, August 26, 2010

just moving along

We're still settling things around the neighborhood after the break-in a couple nights ago. Actually, the very next night, the neighbors on my other side had a pogo-stick taken right out of their front yard while they were in the back! Who steals from a 6-year-old girl? Class-less. The good news is that the police came around yesterday and actually did some fingerprinting. It appears the home intruders initially planned to go through a window. They cut the screen and tried to slide open a locked window. (When that didn't work, they just broke in the door.) Fortunately for my neighbors, the thieves left perfect hand prints on the locked window! Hopefully, those idiots already had police records and comparable prints on file.

I'm still selling things. Since the garage sale, several of the items I listed on Craig's List have sold. I've gotten rid of my motorcycle helmet and saddlebags, a bike helmet, my old GPS unit, and a dog kennel. I like Craig's List! So simple. I'm looking around my house to see what else I can sell!

We had our track club picnic tonight. Potlucks are tough on my Weight Watchers program! Despite my garage sale garbage eating and two potluck dinners within the past week, I've been able to lose weight. I weighed myself yesterday, and I'm down 4.7 pounds! That makes me quite happy. I am noticing a slight difference in how my clothes fit, but I'm looking forward to them fitting even better in a couple weeks. I just have to continue being mindful of what I'm putting into my mouth. The Weight Watchers points program really helps me with that.

I've started exercising again, which has probably helped off-set the potlucks. I've done something everyday this week. I ran a couple miles three times, swam once, and did my circuit training today. I feel like I'm starting over, but I knew that would be the case after taking three weeks off. I need to set some goals. It's hard for me to work out just for the sake of working out. I could start training for a late fall marathon. Unfortunately, marathons end around here in mid-October, too soon, and I don't have the funds to travel anywhere. (Every penny I'm making is going toward my basement remodel!) So I'm not sure where to set my sights. For now, I'm a goal-less exerciser.

Life is going well. My dog is sound asleep on the floor. The crickets are chirping outside. And I'm almost ready to go to bed. Work will be busy tomorrow, but I'm not worried or overwhelmed. I figure I'll get things done one step at a time. It's nice when my head is clear enough to allow for such peaceful thoughts. Here's wishing all of you a very peaceful evening as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Criminal

Just as I turned out my lights and headed to bed, my doorbell rang. What the hell? Who rings a doorbell so late at night? I apprehensively approached my front door. Peering through the glass, I recognized my neighbor standing there. I opened the door as the words rushed out of her mouth, "Someone just broke into our house!"

Ironic. Just an hour earlier I told a woman, who was thinking of moving into town, how safe our neighborhood had been. I questioned my neighbor, "What happened?" They had been out for dinner, away from home for a mere three hours, when someone smashed their way in. She wanted to know if I had heard anything. I was shocked I hadn't. Our homes are only one driveway-width apart. The scumbags took everything they could, ransacking the house in the process. My neighbor cried as she detailed the losses. (Oh, and in case you were wondering, the police were of no help. When my neighbor called last night, the officer told him to file a report online! They didn't even send a car! I'm a supporter of my local police, but this shocked me! I guess we don't pay enough taxes in this part of town.)

My first feeling was fear. My first thought was, why not me? Why did they choose their home rather than mine? It was really scary and ironic because I had thought about the possibility of a break-in on the heels of my garage sale. The thought had crossed my mind--What better time to target a home than right after they take in a whole bunch of cash over a weekend?! If they had hit my home, they certainly would have taken quite a bounty, as I had yet to make it to the bank. I even wondered if I was supposed to be the target, but the scumbags screwed up and hit the wrong house! Of course I didn't mention those fears to my neighbor.

I was immediately relieved to have a dog, as I went to bed scared. Maybe the dog tie-outs hanging at the front and back doors were actually what saved me, because I was gone for about an hour last night, too. I'm not sure what Puck would do if someone smashed their way inside, but I do know he has a good bark as long as they are outside. He tends to wag his tail once someone actually approaches him. Hopefully, no one will ever test him.

My sense of security is definitely shaken. I'll be locking and double-locking the doors for a long time to come. I may even finally replace my back door. The current door would be easy to break. Ultimately, I have no control over whether someone breaks in or not, and that's frustrating. I don't like feeling scared in my own home. I'll let you know if anything positive comes out of the situation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thank God, it's over!

My load of stuff has been lightened significantly. My pocket is full of cash. And thank God, it's done! My garage sale is officially over. I'm pretty sure I won't do it again! It was a lot of work. It rained on us once. It was hot and humid otherwise. A group of men came in a bunch and stole some electronics. We sold a lot to many families in need. (For example, one family bought 10 pairs of my old running shoes!) I hurt my mom's feelings. (More on that in a later post) At closing, we stocked up a young couple with several hundred dollars of free stuff for their new pad. And the Salvation Army is much richer this morning. Wow! What an interesting, exhausting weekend.

I'm not sure where to start. Again, I couldn't believe how much stuff I had accumulated. My driveway and garage were crowded with things, upon things, upon things. Then, just to make it more interesting, my friends Bill and Cindy arrived with three truckloads full of their belongings. It just occurred to me. I really should have taken some pictures! Long story short...we were loaded with stuff.

The first day, with the exception of 10 minutes of rain, was long, hot, and fairly steady. I was outside setting up by 6:00 AM for a sale scheduled to begin at noon. We made our first sale at 8:50 AM. Crazy! We finally packed up by 8 or 9 PM, and then we all went out for a huge meal and pie. (My diet really suffered this weekend!)

Yesterday was more of the same. We went from 8 AM through 4 PM. It was busier and hotter than Friday. By the end of the day, we were practically giving things away. Actually, we did give things away. I looked around at 3:00, and even though more than half of the bounty was gone, I realized I was going to be hauling an awful lot of stuff to Salvation Army if I didn't get busy letting stuff go! We all went into "Everything Must Go," mode.

At 3:30, a very young couple drove up. They walked through. As they were heading back to their car, Cindy asked, "What do you need?" She started, literally, shoving things into their arms. "How about sheets? Do you need some sheets?" She pushed sheets at them. They smiled sheepishly. We found out they were just setting up their small pad. Oh my! That was all we needed to hear! We told them, "Take whatever you want! Please!"

Initially they were shy, but by the time they left we had them stocked with a new futon, a Thermarest sleeping pad, two pillows, two sets of sheets, several blankets and throws, a comforter, two duvets to cover the out-of-date comforter, a clock, a beautiful candle, a lamp, an LCD monitor/TV, and several other items I can no longer remember. With the exception of the monitor, we gave them everything, free! It was so fun! I think they were happy they stopped!

Shortly after that fun, we began packing up. By the time we finished, it was again time for a big meal and good dessert. I treated my mom and step-dad to their meal for all the help they provided over the weekend, especially since they barely sold enough to make half their time worthwhile. After dinner, I barely had enough energy to make it to bed.

This morning, I've arisen to a messy, disorganized home. But it's an emptier home, and that's fantastic! I have floor space I haven't seen since I bought this place 6.5 years ago! I love it! I'm going to re-commit to better eating, begin exercising again, and figure out what to do with all this extra space! For awhile, though, I may just enjoy the emptiness! Carry on, friends!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Still selling.

A big thank you to those of you who left such thoughtful comments on my last post. I'm still unpacking and sorting through things to sell. The big sale starts tomorrow. I can't wait. I never expected I'd feel so anxious to get rid of my stuff, but I can't wait to get it off my hands and out of my soul. Junk. Junk cluttering my house, but it feels like it's cluttering my soul. I'm ready to lighten up.

I sold another big item today--my trumpet. I played trumpet in high school and a little bit in college. I owned that instrument since I first learned to play. It was at least 25 years old, but it was in pristine condition. And now my co-worker's son will learn to play on it, too. I feel good about that.

It's kind of funny, now that I think about it. The people who purchased my car bought it for their 17 year old daughter. It's her first car, but in order to drive it she'll have to learn to drive a stick shift. My stuff is being used for learning left and right! That's kind of cool.

People keep asking me why I'm selling so much stuff. I think my parents are even a little worried. That's kind of funny. Besides feeling overwhelmed with old things and old memories, I want to be able to pick up and leave at any time. I can't do that if my house is loaded with stuff. Maybe I'm feeling a little restless. Maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis. I don't really care. Lightening my load feels good, and I'm going to keep doing it until I'm done. And I'm not done yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Memories

Phew! I spent the day, and I do mean the whole day, unpacking boxes I hadn't touched in 6.5 years. Wow...it was a long day full of memories. Every box I opened contained multiple tightly wrapped surprises. Initially, it was like a strange Christmas, but as the day went along, my heart got heavier. Every tightly wrapped surprise contained a memory. And every memory brought forth a host of feelings. It was a long day.

As I opened each box, some items transported me back in time instantaneously. Others required a bit more thought. Most of the memories were from my "previous life," when I was one of two. My ex left 8 years ago, shortly after my depression began. So almost every memory today was categorized as B.D. (before depression) or A.D. (after depression). After unpacking everything, I really did have a sense of leading two separate lives.

The photos were the most interesting. Besides the fact that almost all of the B.D. photos were also associated with my ex, there was another surprising difference between the B.D. and A.D. pictures. My smile was different. As recently as the year 2000, (depression began in November, 2000) I look very happy. My smile is open and wide. There is a light in my eyes which I no longer see. I truly appear to be a different person than I am today.

And I think I am a different person. My smile now is more reserved and self-conscious. It is the smile of someone who's been to battle, and who's battle may not yet be done. It's a weary and leary smile. That makes me sad.

Perhaps I shouldn't be sad. After all, I have been through a long battle. In ten years, I've grieved the sudden loss of love, battled suicidal depression, went through ECT and lost my memory, began drinking and quickly became an alcoholic, lost my job due to my illness, lived by the skin of my teeth on disability, and learned to navigate the world alone with a disabling illness. There have been a lot of tears and triumphs, and I've definitely changed.

Up until today, I was certain the change was for the better. I am a more compassionate, grateful person today. Honesty and integrity guide my actions. That wasn't always the case in the past. But after seeing the B.D. photos today, I'm not as certain the change was for the best. Something seems to be missing.

Ultimately, it was a tough day. The memories piled so high, I eventually crumbled under their weight. I was already crying when I came upon the last box. It contained cards from my ex and wedding stuff. That box has gotten smaller and smaller over the years, and today I was able to let it go. It took a short time, but it became clear it was the right thing to do. My tears cleared, and I felt relief. It was finally time, I guess.

As I sit here reflecting, I'm looking forward to emptying my house in a couple days. Maybe lightening my house of it's memory-laden load will also lighten my eyes. Maybe not, I don't know. It was an interesting day, a long day, a difficult day, and a day I'll eventually forget. And that's okay. These memories were okay to visit, but dwelling on them is not in my plans. I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that light is out there somewhere, and eventually I plan to catch it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lightening the load

My beautiful motorcycle is now gone. I watched it drive away yesterday. Tough. Having a bike represented some sort of freedom, I think. I didn't ride it often, but when I did, there was nothing more mindful I could have been doing. I could daydream driving my car, but on my motorcycle, a squirrel could have killed me. It was a great way to rid my mind of whatever was weighing me down. I'll miss that. I'll miss that freedom. But it didn't make sense to hang onto something I wasn't using, either. I think the freedom of lightening my load will outweigh hanging onto unused toys.

And that brings me to today. I've spent the day preparing for a huge garage sale, which I'm having this Friday and Saturday. As I mentioned here last week, I have too much stuff. I moved into this house 6.5 years ago, and I've got stuff I haven't even unpacked yet! Lots of it! Obviously, if I haven't needed it in the last 6.5 years, I don't need it at all. Don't you agree? There is also a lot of mental baggage among that stuff, which I also do not need. I'm looking forward to the freedom of being rid of the baggage and the stuff.

It's been a long day of lifting, hauling, sorting and pricing. My back is killing me! This is the most exercise I've had since the triathlon a few weeks ago. Once again, I've hit a lull in my motivation. I've got so many things going on right now, I just don't feel like going out for a run. Fortunately, following Weight Watchers is keeping me from suffering the consequences of my inactivity. I miss racing, but I'm otherwise doing okay with my lull. I know I'll eventually get back out there.

I'm tired and ready to hit my bed now, so I'll leave you with a quote I found during my hours of sorting today. Goodnight.

The will to succeed is important, but what's even more important is the will to prepare. --Bobby Knight

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buzzing right along

Things are still going well around here, even though I feel like I've got 100 irons in the fire. I just got back from a walk with Puck. It's been brutally hot and humid around here, with heat advisories nearly every day, so walking is about the extent of our exercise. I did play softball last night. It was even hotter then! But we played really well, and it was a fun game even though we lost. Our season is now over, so that's one less thing I have to think about.

I've had my new vehicle for two days, and I'm fretting about it just a bit. You see, with the two right hip surgeries I've had (and written about here previously), I can't sit in certain positions. One of the positions which bothers my hip is good, upright posture. Unfortunately, my driver's seat promotes good, upright posture. No matter how many ways I adjust the seat, I can't get the pain out of my right hip and leg. I'm hoping to figure it out, but I don't know what I'll do if I don't. If I don't solve this dilemma soon, I'll really be fretting!

My 12-year-old car left yesterday, and I have to admit, I was really sad. Kind of silly, I know. I'm glad a young woman will continue to own it. I think she'll enjoy the ride, and I feel good about selling it to her. Now if I could just find a buyer for my motorcycle... Anyone? She's a beauty!

The work on my basement continues to progress. Soon, I'll have to decide on a color scheme. I've got the bathroom figured out, but I'm not sure what to do with the large room where all of my exercise equipment will live. White is so boring, but with it being a basement room, I'm concerned most colors will appear dark. Hmmm...It's nice to have such pressing problems! Ha!

Well, I'm off to a mandatory staff meeting. It's my day off, but what can I do? At least it will be air conditioned! So long for now...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sold

Wow, the busy, busy, business continues. I sold my car. And tonight I drove home in my new one! Yippee! It was strange going from a little sports coupe to an SUV. I felt like I was driving a bus! My motorcycle is still for sale, but I've had lots of interest.

My basement renovation is nearing completion. I now have walls! Soon, it will be up to me to paint, and then the guys will come back to trim it out. It's been 3 years since the flood that caused the loss of the rooms down there. Now, it will finally be better than it was originally.

I'm also preparing for my garage sale, which I decided will be next Friday and Saturday. Preparing will be a lot of work, but it will be soooo worth it to lighten up my home. I've got too much stuff!

By the way, I weighed myself today. I've lost 4 pounds already! And that's without exercise! This Weight Watchers program really works. It's made me very mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth. I'm making better choices. But the primary result is that I'm choosing not to eat for reasons other than hunger. Huh, go figure! I eat now when I'm hungry, and I don't eat when I'm not. I'm pretty excited about the weight loss. I don't look any different, but my clothes fit better.

So life is good. I'm putting one foot in front of the other, and that seems to be working for now.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

For sale

I am selling my car. Why? Because I bought a new one! This is a big deal. I've had my current car for 12+ years. I bought it brand new, and I've been the sole driver ever since. It's a 1998 Saturn SC2, and I just took it past 200,000 miles. I put a very fair price on it, and people have been coming out of the woodwork. In fact, I sold it today, but then I realized I needed it for a few more days, as I won't have my new one until Tuesday! DAH! Unfortunately, when I told the young man (buyer) this news, the deal no longer worked for him. I have at least three people coming to look at it tomorrow. I expect it will sell.

I'm going to be sad to see it go. This car has been through quite a journey with me, and it's treated me very kindly. It's funny how a person can get attached to something like a car. I actually want it to go to a "good" home--somebody who will take care of it. Isn't that a bit silly?

Anyway, I bought a 2006 Toyota Highlander with 59,000 miles on it. It's gorgeous, loaded, and big enough to carry my bike and my dog at the same time! Unfortunately, in order to keep my payment as low as possible, I'm also selling my motorcycle. My 1985 Honda Shadow has also been kind to me. I'll miss it, but I just don't ride it enough to make it worthwhile. I'd rather spend my time and money on my bicycle, I guess.

So I've been busy around here. I had to clean up my car and motorcycle so they'd shine. That was a bit of work for my very dirty car. I've also been cleaning out my house, as I plan to have a large garage sale in a couple weeks. I've got so much stuff that I never use, or that doesn't fit me anymore, or that I just no longer want, it's ridiculous! I'm feeling weighted down by excess stuff. I want to get rid of it all! Preparing for the sale, however, is also going to be a lot of work.

Speaking of work, things are quite busy there now, too. I worked 12.5 hours on Wednesday. I've got two patients in a town one hour and ten minutes away now. By the time I drive there, treat both of them, and drive back, half of my day is gone. But I don't mind one bit. And soon,I'll be driving that 1:10 in my new vehicle! Hee, hee...

Life's busy. I'm busy. Things are going well. I'm not doing a lot of exercising, but right now I'm okay. Following the Weight Watchers plan helps me feel less panicky about not training. I do hope things settle just a bit, however, because I'd like to get back on my bike. Well, I better get back to it. That laundry won't fold itself! Take care everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

quick note

Tired. Worked 12.5 hours today, and I've still got paperwork to do. But you know what? Except for missing my softball game tonight, I didn't mind. I like working in home health care so much that 12.5 hours doesn't feel like a long time. Especially since more than 2.5 of those hours came with driving to and from one patient. We cover 10 counties, and today I think I traveled to the furthest reaches of the furthest county we cover. So I'm tired. And it's way past my bed time. I'll catch you up tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The family relay

We did well. My brothers and I finished a very respectable 7th out of 36 relay teams at our triathlon yesterday. We finished 3rd in our division, which was won by the overall winners. We finished the 0.8 mile swim, 20 mile bike, and 5 mile run in a combined 2:04:00. I finished my extremely rough (bumpy) bike ride in 1:02:58. I wanted to average 20 miles per hour, and despite the horrible road surface, I did, so I was happy. In fact, I think we were all pretty happy with our individual efforts as well as our group time. And, better yet, it was really fun!

Like I said in my last post, it had been a long time since we'd done anything together. One of my brothers thought it was the first time we'd done anything sporting together since my dad used to hold backyard mini-Olympics when we were young kids. He may have been right. I think we've all got the bug to do it again, better (i.e. we may actually train), next year.

My entire weekend went well. I think my mood has rebounded. My whole family, including my older brother and his family from Nevada, were unexpectedly at my youngest brother's home for the after-tri barbeque yesterday. Again, it's very rare that we are all together, and even more rare that I tolerate it as well as I did. That's why I know my mood must be better. It was nice to tolerate, and even enjoy, their company for the day.

I'm now busy trying to figure out what to focus on next. I'm not feeling particularly motivated. I'm not in shape mentally or physically to do any racing right now, which is tough, because this month is full of local races. But I don't want to end up in the black hole again, so I guess I need to pick something out in the future and get busy. I'll get right on that...after my nap. Enjoy your week everyone!



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