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!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

If my 2012 retrospective looked at only the first month and the last month of the year, one might conclude I had a pretty crappy year. In January I was hospitalized for 3 weeks with unrelenting, debilitating depression, which was only relieved after a full series of ECT treatments. That was challenging. In December I lost my soul mate, my loyal companion for the past 13 years, my dog, Puck. And since then I've been struggling to regain my unaccompanied footing. It's been hard. Yes, the opening and closing months of 2012 could have been better.

Despite those early and late traumas, however, 2012 wasn't all bad. In between I spent many wonderful hours with family, friends and Puck. Puck and I slowly transitioned from running together to daily walks together, time which I initially found boring but gradually learned to cherish. It was our special time. My mood remained relatively stable, with the exception of one late summer dip, and I was even able to decrease one med and totally eliminate another from my regimen. I ran injury free for the entire year, which began just 3 months after significant knee surgery. And I completed five marathons, including Boston, for the second consecutive year. Over the course of 2012, I managed to stay sober for one more year, find a new job which I enjoy, and resume a relationship with a special man. Hmmm...like I said, 2012 wasn't all that bad.

Entering 2013 I have high hopes that my mood will remain stable, my relationship will expand and grow, my running will be injury free, satisfying and joyful, my work will be prosperous and fulfilling, and my relationships with friends and family will be simple and loving. I'm aiming high in 2013.

What are your hopes for the new year? Let me be the first to propose a toast to good mental health for all of us. Be safe. Be happy. Be resilient. Happy New Year, my friends.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Seven Years

It's a big day today. Not only is it my nephew's 7th birthday, it is also the day, seven years ago, when I took my last drink. I am seven years sober today. I don't remember that last drink. There was nothing special about it. It was not monumental, but thankfully it was my last. Apparently, I had finally had enough.

Despite the notability of the day, there was nothing monumental about today either. It was just another day. In fact, I only thought about my sobriety anniversary a couple of times. And perhaps that is just the way it should be, for living sober is just the way it is today. I no longer struggle with sobriety. As long as I keep working my recovery program, hopefully that will continue to be the case.

Seven years ago the case was different. Getting sober was quite a struggle. I don't take my recovery for granted. I know that I am only one unchecked thought and one sip away from my next drunk. I know people who try and try but cannot seem to get this gift. I know people who have died before the miracle happened, and getting sober is a miracle. I don't know why I got it when others didn't. Thankfully, I did get it. I am very grateful to be sober today. Seven years...wow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas...

As I sit here alone on Christmas morning, it is quiet, sunny and cold outside. The sky is brilliant blue. I am sitting in front of my living room window, the typical spot in which I compose all of my posts. And while not a creature is stirring upon my street, I imagine the houses of my neighbors are teaming with excited revelry. My house is quiet. I am sipping my coffee, listening to NPR, and thinking.

I am trying not to focus on waking up alone. I am trying to avoid thinking about Puck's absence, picturing his smiling face and wagging tail instead. There have been no tears yet, but I am making a concerted effort not to be sad. It's been a long, long time, at least 13 years, since I awoke in an empty house, alone, on Christmas day.

Perhaps I am feeling sorry for myself. After all, it looks like there was some revelry here. There are still empty gift bags lying on the floor, the remnants of opening gifts two days ago with D, before he returned to his home. I don't know why, but I haven't bothered to pick them up and put them away yet.

I had a lovely weekend with D. We were particularly close. He was impressed with how I was handling Puck's death. I was happy to have his strong arms wrapped around me. We celebrated my birthday with a quiet, happy dinner with best friends, Bill and Cindy, on Saturday night. We were the only people in the restaurant, the food was fantastic, and we lingered in conversation for a long, long time. I felt surrounded by love.

Earlier in the day, D and I ran 6 miles together, and I ran another 9 Sunday evening after he left. I set out to run 4, but I couldn't bare to come home, so on running I went. Yesterday was supposed to be busy, but I only worked 3 hours, as the nursing home was locked down with the flu, and I had the rest of the day to myself. After napping for 3 hours, what else was there to do, I donned my running clothes again, and ran a chilly 5-miler as the sun sank. That helped.

I've taken to leaving the radio or television on while I'm out running or doing errands. It makes coming home a bit easier when there is noise in the house. College football tempted me to sit in solitude after my run last night, but instead I gathered myself for a Christmas Eve candlelight service at a local congregation. I was concerned about attending alone, but I felt the need to be closer to God, and I went anyway. As expected, I cried as we sang Silent Night with candles aglow, but the tears were brief, and in the end, I felt peace.

I know Puck is up there, at the right hand of God, bouncing and wagging his tail. I instructed God to let that tennis ball fly, and in Puck, he would never find a finer, more loyal friend. I asked God to take care of my boy until we meet again.

Merry Christmas, friends. Though we may never meet, I am humbled by the opportunity to spend this day with each of you. Thank you for your support. As I walk this journey with you by my side, I know I am never truly alone. I am grateful for that. Peace be with you on this special day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

One week


It's hard to believe it's been one week since Puck died. The hole in my heart still feels gaping and raw. I can't get used to my quiet house. Everything I did for the first time without him was difficult this week. Even doing the laundry was sad. I couldn't hear him padding about above my head, as I loaded the washing machine in the basement. And when I began cleaning my house, including vacuuming my floor, yesterday, I thought I might collapse in despair. I couldn't stop crying.

I cleaned because my house needed it, and because D is coming this weekend. I was able to work through the pain and get it done, although it took most of the day. I put some of Puck's things away, but I've left others out. His presence is still here even though most of his hair has been swept away. It will be really strange when I finally run out of little bundles of black hair to pick up. I'm sure there are still a few hiding around here right now.

It's been a strange week at work. It was alternately difficult and relieving. Sometimes it was a nice distraction. At other times I wanted the people around me to quit going about their lives as if nothing had happened! Couldn't they see how much pain I was in? Fortunately, those egocentric thoughts were somewhat rare. Actually, my co-workers have been very supportive and kind. Everyone knew Puck was my family.

Life is moving forward, even though I'd like to reverse time and erase what happened. I talk to my boy a lot. It's habit, and it's helpful. I am awaiting the arrival of his ashes, and I'm in contact with someone who hand makes memorial boxes in which to place them. I received the paw print from the vet clinic a couple of days ago. Actually, I received it on my birthday. I recognize every bump, crevice and crease. I think I even know which paw they used. I was surprised by that. But I guess 13 years does lend itself to intimate knowledge of a loved one. I miss you, Buddy. I love you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A not so Happy Birthday

It's my birthday today. I am 45 years old. It's hard to believe. I remember when I thought 35 was old! I'd go back to 35 in a heartbeat, but only if I could have the life skills and knowledge I have today with me. Otherwise, forget about it! Those were some tough early years of depression and drinking.

Today I am smarter, sober, and living with this devastating illness. Up until a couple of days ago, I would have said life is good. But today, life still feels heavy and sad. My house is so empty, and I feel so alone on this birthday. I miss Puck so much.

Typically, I'd have slid out of bed a couple of hours ago to a wagging tail and a smiling, expectant face. How could I not smile? Today, my radio blared the NPR news for over an hour before I could finally throw off the covers to face the day. It wasn't until several minutes later that I even remembered it was my birthday. Not exactly an auspicious beginning.

I've already been on Facebook, where the birthday wishes with their shiny words and exclamation points almost feel cruel. These are the same Facebook friends who comforted me with beautiful thoughts and prayers just a couple days ago. I know they mean well, and I'm glad for their kind wishes for a good day, but the hurt is still too big. A good day, a happy day, feels very far away.

I lit a candle for Puck last night. There are a few pet loss web sites out there, and through them I learned of a worldwide, Monday night candle lighting ceremony for lost pets. At the designated time, I lit my candle for Puck. I caressed the lock of hair I had cut from his tail before he died. I talked to my boy. I cried. Did it help? I don't know. But I think I'll do it again next week, anyway.

As I told my psychologist yesterday, I'd give anything, and everything, to have just one more day with my boy. One more walk. One more tail wag. One more smile. One more moment to kiss him, caress him, and hold him tight. I love you, Buddy. I wish you were here for the beginning of my 45th year. Together, we would have a very happy birthday.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Depths of Despair

My heart is broken today. I am overwhelmed with grief. My beloved Puck is no longer here by my side. No longer do I hear his nails click, click, clicking across the hardwood floors. His repositioning groans are absent. And his heavy sighs have disappeared. I dropped something on the floor and immediately expected his quizzical look off to my left, but it wasn't there. There are empty beds in every room, and lonely toys and balls strewn across the living room floor. I hesitate to vacuum for fear of losing every trace of his physical presence. I knew this time would eventually come, but it came so suddenly, and this is the hardest thing, by far, I've ever had to endure.

Puck developed internal, abdominal hemorrhaging around 8:00 PM Thursday night. I rushed him to the emergency vet clinic when it became clear to me that something was wrong. He was using every muscle he had just to breathe, and he couldn't stand up. The emergency vet found bloody fluid in his abdominal cavity. She surmised he had a malignant tumor which had ruptured. Apparently, this is quite common in older labs and retrievers.

There was a possibility it was an isolated incident, and the bleeding would stop, and he would fully recover. Surgery was an option, too. But where there is one tumor, there are often several, she said, and it would only be a matter of time before another one ruptured. Even with surgery, his life expectancy would likely have been only 3-6 months. It was too little reward, I thought, for the pain I would have had to put him through.

He stabilized enough in the emergency clinic that I was able to take him home. We laid on the bed together. My friend Cindy also spent the night. He didn't sleep, and by the middle of the night, it became clear he wasn't improving. It was at that point that I made the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. It was time to let him go.

I snuggled with him and tried to make him comfortable for the rest of the night. Cindy drove us to the vet yesterday morning, and we began the process of saying goodbye. Cindy and I stayed with him through the end. It was impossible. Even my vet cried. Everybody loved Puck.

I know today he's in a better place. I have to believe he's running free in some unbelievably magical place, without pain and with pure abandon, just the way he did in his earlier years. I have to hold on to the possibility that we will meet again. I have to, or the pain is simply too much to bear. My heart is broken. I'm overwhelmed with grief. I'm trying my best to walk through it with dignity and grace. I'm sure that's how Puck would've wanted it. I love you and miss you, Buddy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Puck: My most beautiful Boy

My most beautiful boy. My companion for the last 13 years. My running partner. My friend. Died today. I don't know how I'll get through life without him, but I'll try my best to approach each day with anticipation and a smile. Just like he did. Prayers are appreciated.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Years

I passed a dubious anniversary recently. Maybe some of you noticed. In the introduction to my blog, where it used to say eleven years, it now says twelve. It's now been 12 years in which I've been suffering from, fighting against, surviving despite, and living with depression. Twelve years...

This life-altering journey began in November, 2000. The depth of my illness, alcoholic drinking, and ECT have robbed me of much of my memory of the last 12 years, especially those early years. Maybe that's for the best. Memories can be a double-edged sword. But while I don't remember many details of this battle, I do vividly remember the person I was prior to this long journey. And while I'd like to retrieve a lot of pre-illness things, which I lost along the way, I do not miss that lost person.

This illness stole much from me, but I'd rather not focus on that today. Depression also gave me an opportunity to grow. It challenged my perseverance, my toughness, and my character. It taught me acceptance and humility. It changed me from a self-centered, controlling, stressed, know-it-all to a more open, get-along person who has come to know some serenity and peace. Today I can see beyond the boundaries of me and put myself in an other's shoes. I've grown. I'm grateful for that.

Don't misunderstand me. Depression is not something I'd wish on my worst enemy. The stigma alone is more than most can bear. This illness debilitates bodies, clouds minds, and steals souls. It is a challenge nobody deserves. I hate it.

These last twelve years were full of challenges which felt too overwhelming to overcome. But overcome I did. My survival was often ugly and usually painful. Depression took me to the edge of life more than once. But I'm still here. Stronger. Kinder. Better. On this dubious anniversary, at least I can celebrate that.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Finished

It wasn't my best day today, but it wasn't my worst either. I had hopes going into today's Dallas Marathon of perhaps bettering my time from The Twin Cities Marathon in October, but it was not meant to be.

I may have started too fast. I think that may be what I find when I look at my mile splits later. By mile 8, I was laboring, but I often have bad patches between miles 8 and 10 in a marathon, so that wasn't totally unexpected. I slowed my pace a bit, and tried to rest. I began the self-talk at that point in time, too. Just get to mile 10, and then, just get to mile 13, and then 16, 19, and 20. That's what I told myself.

I began walking up a long hill just after mile 19. That hill did not level off until after mile 21. I ran some of it and walked some of it. Between miles 21 and 22 I tried to run the whole way, and I think I did. I got a tiny second wind. I ran more than I  walked all the way up to mile 24, but at that point my legs just quit. I lost a lot of time over those last 2.2 miles. It was a struggle. I was very happy to cross that finish line!

I finished in a respectable 3:52:40. Like I said, it wasn't my best nor my worst race. Twin Cities was much more enjoyable. This one was a lot of work! I'm pleased to have just completed my 20th career marathon. That is something of which I am proud, especially as 10 of those 20 have been completed in just the past two years. I think I'll enjoy a little easy running for awhile. Of course, I'm already looking at the calendar toward my next marathon challenge!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ready, I think

I'm packed and ready to go to Dallas tomorrow. I've decided not to bring my computer with me, so it may be a few days before my next update. I'm looking forward to getting into Dallas, settling into the hotel, shopping at the expo, picking up my number, and then finding a good place to eat. Eating quality carbohydrates and resting will be my focus for the next couple of days. I'm anxious to get to the starting line. As usual with the marathon, it's difficult to know what type of performance to expect. I think I'm still in fairly good shape, so I'm hoping for the best. I'm flying back home after the marathon Sunday evening, and I'll be back at work Monday morning. I'll post all about it as soon as I have the chance. Until then...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Five days and counting

I just finished a busy day of running, working, errands, a meeting, walking Puck, and packing. I've got two more busy days ahead of me before my plane leaves for Dallas on Friday. The Dallas Marathon is Sunday morning. I'm now experiencing the preparatory anxiety and excitement I routinely get in the days before a marathon. It's all part of the process. And I like it!

Things continue to go well. Actually, considering I discontinued one of my medications a few weeks ago, with my doctors reluctant permission, things are going extremely well. My mood is good, but even better, I've noticed I'm much less fatigued than I've been in, well, years! I still take a nap just about every day, but my naps are shorter, and if I miss my nap, I don't suffer nearly as much. It's nice. It's really nice.

D and I are also doing well, I think. We haven't seen each other since my last visit to his home in early November, but we talk frequently and text each other daily. Last night, D dropped a bit of a bombshell on me when he asked me to accompany him to The Caribbean next month. Wow! We have no definitive plans yet. He's "researching it." I'm pretty excited, but I'm remaining cautious in case it doesn't happen. It would be wonderful to spend 4 or 5 days together on a beach far from home. I'll let you know how things develop.

That's it for today. I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunities I have in life today. I'm grateful to be feeling well. I'm grateful for fulfilling work. I'm grateful to be running well. And I'm really grateful for the support of friends, professionals, the recovery community, and those of you reading this blog.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life's little moments

Yesterday morning our occupational therapist entered the office and immediately began blaring, "The Old Gray Mare" from her i-pod speakers. We all laughed, as just a few days before she and one of our very elderly patients were singing the chorus to that song as they worked together. It was the only way our OT could keep the patient on task. We use whatever techniques necessary to get our patients to work with us sometimes.

Later in the morning, while the OT was working with the same patient, she played, "The Old Gray Mare" for her. We all, including our very elderly patient, began singing along. Before we knew it, our typically wheelchair-bound patient stood up and began shaking her hips while she sang. It was beautiful! That was the most activity we had seen from this patient in quite awhile. It was great fun!

Today I was half-heartedly cursing the OT for playing that song, as it was stuck in my head for my entire ten mile run! But actually I didn't mind the repetitive tune, because every time I heard the song in my head I saw our patient standing up, shaking her hips, and singing out loud. It was, for me, a ten mile smile. Pay attention to life's little moments, my friends. They are precious.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy, busy

I'm finally sitting down after a quick walk with Puck and a long day at work. I don't have much to say or anything very interesting to report, I'm afraid. I've been busy working my new schedule and getting used to my new buildings and patients. I find I'm a little more tired during the week now, but napping, which I do almost daily, seems to take care of that. So far my running hasn't suffered from the increased hours, which I was worried about happening. Of course, I am tapering right now. I'm getting prepared for The Dallas Marathon, which is now less than two weeks away. I'm excited about that! And I'm still feeling good. I'm sure looking forward to the marathon is helping keep me on track. It's good for me to have goals. And that's all I have to say for now. I'm tired, and I'm hoping to go to bed early, so it's time for me to go. Good night!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Good days

It's always nice to string together several good days in a row. My mood has been good lately. I've been functioning well at work. I'm much less overwhelmed than I was a few weeks ago, even though I am still getting used to my new schedule and new buildings. Running has also been going well, which is nice as I had a tough schedule this week. So things are good.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After working for a few hours in the morning, I came home and ran a 7 mile tempo run on an absolutely gorgeous day! I don't remember the last time I was able to wear shorts and a t-shirt on Thanksgiving Day in Minnesota! It was great! Before the weather changed, which it did by Thanksgiving night, I took Puck on his walk, too. I then joined my friends Bill and Cindy at another couple's home, where there were about 12 of us gathered, for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a group of healthy, happy, sober people--all friends--and it couldn't have been nicer. I am so grateful to be associated with such kind, humorous, loving people.

I had a busy, but not too busy, day at work yesterday before I spent the evening with friend, Bill, eating another turkey dinner. I do love turkey dinners! I hope I ran off all those turkey dinner calories today. I ran 13 miles in preparation for The Dallas Marathon, which I did decide to enter. The race, which will be my 20th career marathon, is two weeks from tomorrow, on December 9th, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm grateful to be feeling well, running well, and working with less stress. I'm a lucky woman. It doesn't always feel that way when my illness rears it's ugly head, but I am fortunate. I have built a life worth living despite depression's challenges. I am surrounded by people who love me despite my occasional penchant for isolation. And I have everything I need despite intermittent economic insecurity. Life is good today. I pray your life is also filled with love, gratitude, and everything you need. Take care, my friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time for the Gratitude List

  • Mom and Bruce
  • Puck
  • Family
  • Bill and Cindy
  • Dr. L.
  • Deb
  • Shawn
  • Don
  • Sobriety
  • Running
  • My house
  • My job
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • and so much more!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Home again

I just returned from my weekend with D. We had a lovely time. He indulged my training schedule and waited, after he ran 8 miles, while I ran 20 miles Saturday morning. I had a good run. It was a beautiful day, and D took me to a beautiful trail through the woods. I ran 10 miles out and back. There were a lot of other runners and bikers out, but there was no shortage of quiet solitude either. It was nice.

During my run, I hit a rough patch between miles 12 and 15 but then finished strong. I'm still thinking about signing up for The Dallas Marathon. Based on how well I ran and recovered from this 20-miler, I think I'm still in fairly good marathon shape.

After our run, D and I indulged in a couple of big, delicious burgers before heading out to an art museum. Walking slowly for hours through an art museum is not typically how I recover after running 20 miles, but I put on some compression stockings and did fine. I got a short nap in later while D cooked me a very enjoyable Thai dinner. It was a long, productive, complete day together.

After such a wonderful time together, it was difficult to leave today. Puck and I packed up and headed out early this afternoon. Despite the challenge of the distance between us, I think things are moving along nicely in our relationship. I'm glad. He's one of the good guys, and I really like him.

I'm now getting settled back into my nice, quiet house. It's going to be another busy week, as I'm working 6 out of the next 7 days. I'll even be working Thanksgiving Day, but hopefully only half the day. I've been invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my very close friends, and I'm really looking forward to that. I have a lot to be grateful for. I think I'll try to focus on that throughout this busy week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick update

I've only got time for a quick note tonight. It's been a busy week thus far. I began my new work schedule, and I'm working an extra shift tomorrow, so I will be at work all five days this week. Monday and Tuesday I was very overwhelmed and struggled through each day. Today was busier, but I also did better. I was less overwhelmed and more relaxed. Hopefully things will continue swinging upward.

I'm leaving Friday after work and traveling 4 hours in order to spend the weekend with D. I'm planning on running 20 miles Saturday morning, because I'm thinking of running The Dallas Marathon in early December. D may come to Dallas with me. I found a cheaper than cheap flight, and I'm itching to run after the New York cancellation. Like the week thus far, I think it's going to be a quick, busy weekend as well.

That's all I have time for right now. It's past my bed time, and I've got to be up early to run before work. Good night.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Settling in

I'm still settling back into life after my chaotic, stressful trip to New York. My mood did take a hit. The last couple of days have been a little rough, but I think things are beginning to smooth out. I'm feeling better today.

I worked hard to avoid sliding any further into the darkness. I ran 7+ miles fast and hard both Friday and Saturday. I don't usually run two days in a row, but it was necessary to battle the impending doom. Both runs helped boost my mood. I also attended a couple of AA meetings and surrounded myself with positive people even though I didn't feel like it. The meetings helped get me out of myself for a little while. I needed that.

I spent most of today alone. The day started slow, and I actually went back to bed an hour after getting up. But then I went to the gym to lift some weights. Later, while watching football, I opened my accumulated mail and paid some bills. Puck and I went for a chilly walk. I took care of the trash pick-up, made my lunch for tomorrow, and already set out my clothes. These were all little things, but I was focused on taking little steps today. I just wanted to keep moving forward, and I think that helped.

I'm anxious about returning to work while not feeling in tip-top shape. I know I'll likely feel better once I'm there. I actually begin a new work schedule this week, which is another unknown entity creating some anxiety. I'll now be splitting my time between two buildings, and I added 1/2 day, Tuesday afternoons, to my schedule. Those extra hours will certainly help me out. We'll see how I handle working on what's typically been a day off. One thing is for sure, I'm anxious about a lot tonight.

I'm going to say a few prayers to relieve me of my fears and anxiety. After all, I'm not doing myself any good sitting here worrying. Tomorrow will come soon enough, and then I can face my fears rather than write about them. I think getting back into the full swing of my routine will help settle me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Early Exit

Well we tried. My mom and I did our best to make the best of a trip we never would have taken had The New York City Marathon been cancelled immediately after Hurricane Sandy, as it should have been, but I couldn't take it any longer, so we left. We were supposed to enjoy New York City for another 5 days, but I woke up Tuesday in tears; overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, and as a result we flew home yesterday. I've never been so happy to be home, alone with Puck, in my quiet house.

From the beginning this was a tough and almost immediately disappointing trip. The marathon was cancelled a mere 4 hours after our arrival. Again, had the New York Road Runners and Mayor Bloomberg not insisted just one day before that the race would go on, I never would have made the trek. Worse, the media coverage was incredibly negative. I totally understood the backlash, but it really felt like we, the runners, became the bad guys in this whole mess. It was very uncomfortable.

I had no desire to be an extra burden in a city already burdened and chaotic. We did our best to stay positive through the closures, the overcrowded subways, and the mess. But I grew more and more anxious with each passing day. Emotionally, I grew more and more fragile. I felt stuck in a place in which I had no desire to be. The final straw came Monday evening when we waited in line for more than 1.5 hours just to catch a bus home. I guess it was then that I broke.

Tuesday morning we decided to go. Like I said, I woke up in tears. We changed our flights from Saturday to Wednesday. Ironically, our last day in the city was one of the best. I took a fast, tough run through Central Park, which helped calm me down a bit. We rushed to The 9-11 Memorial after we heard it had reopened, and that was amazing. We had a nice dinner in Times Square and then ended our evening with Phantom of the Opera at The Majestic Theatre. But still, I couldn't wait to go.

Thankfully, my travel home went off without a hitch. Despite another impending storm, my flight took off and landed on time. My friend, Cindy, graciously picked me up from the airport and brought me home. I hugged Puck harder than I've ever hugged him and again broke into tears. And then I slept, and slept, and slept.

This morning, I'm still feeling very fragile. I've been in contact with my social worker and my psychiatrist. I'm worried. All I want to do is curl up and sleep. I need to get back to my life, but I just want to sleep. I'm not interested in doing laundry, going to the grocery store, taking Puck for a walk, or even going for a run. My head hurts. I'm tired. And I want to sleep. This is not a good sign.

I'm going to try to fight. I know curling up and staying in bed will not help, as enticing as that may seem. And I know, please know I know, that my problems are minor in comparison to those still suffering out east. But, as some of my readers pointed out, this is my blog, and it is about me and what I'm dealing with right now. My life is good. I will recover. But right now, depression is trying to take over. I'm in trouble. I'm anxious. I'm overwhelmed. I'm scared. I feel fragile, and fragile sucks.

I'm happy to be home. Yet I don't want to move. But move I must, or I will lose.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cancelled

I wrote a post earlier here about my feelings about the NYC Marathon being cancelled, which it was yesterday afternoon. After just a couple comments, and after re-reading the post a few hours after I wrote it, I decided to remove it. It was self-centered. I apologize.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stressful start

Hurricane Sandy has certainly wreaked havoc and left a path of death and destruction in her wake. My prayers go out to everyone on the East Coast at this time. Having been the victim of a flood myself, although mild in comparison, I have some understanding of the clean-up that awaits. I wish nothing but speedy restoration and recovery to all of those devastated by this storm.

In comparison to what's happening out there, my dilemma, which I'm about to explain, is barely worth mentioning. The storm left me up in the air as far as my travel plans. The once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York, which I'd been planning for more than one year, was suddenly in doubt. Airports were closed. Subways were not running. And the City of New York needed to decide if they wanted the marathon to continue as scheduled. They finally made that decision yesterday. It will go on as planned. But that didn't end my uncertainty.

After perusing the Internet, listening to ESPN, and reading comments to the many newspaper articles written about the subject, it became clear to me that many New Yorkers do not want us (marathoners) there! I had to decide, did I want to participate in an event where I'm potentially going to be despised for participating? Did I want to be, in many opinions, part of the problem? No, of course not! Nonetheless, it was not an easy black and white question to ponder.

Take away the fact that this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, which I was really looking forward to, the reality of the situation was that I had hundreds of dollars already spent which could not be recouped. The marathon entry fee alone was nearly $300! And that was money lost if I didn't show up. Likewise, because of my precarious financial situation, I couldn't afford trip insurance on my flight. I have no plans to fly anywhere within the next year, so no chance to re-book for another date, meaning the ticket cost would also be lost. Tickets to NYC shows and events had likewise already been purchased. If I didn't go this year, it'd be unlikely I'd be able to gather the funds to try again next year.

So I decided to go. I leave early tomorrow morning for NYC. Perhaps it is a selfish decision. I don't know. But for many reasons, it is the decision I made. I hope to have a wonderful experience. There are New Yorkers who do want us to come. Perhaps those people will be out in force on marathon day. We'll have to wait and see, I guess. I know the marathon organizers are putting plans in place to raise money for the locals in need. I'll definitely do my part. I don't know what else to do or say. I'm going to New York. I'm less excited than I was one week ago, but I'm hoping for the best.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting ready

My prayers go out to everyone on the East Coast of the United States. I hope everyone stays safe. I have been watching this developing monster storm with particular attention, as I will be in New York City, hopefully, in just a few days! So far it looks like things will be cleared up by this Friday, which is when I'm supposed to arrive. In fact, the extended forecast is for sun, sun, sun from Friday through marathon Sunday. Whether my plane will be able to land as scheduled I do not know, but if I can get there, the weather is looking like it may be okay.

I'm getting prepared to leave. My plan is to pack tomorrow, even though I don't fly out until Friday. I'm that excited, and I'm that worried I may forget something. I want to prepare early. Silly, I know, but I think it will help ease my mind a bit.

I'm not sure why I'm so anxious about this particular trip. It might be the size of this marathon, 47,000 runners, that's freaking me out. Maybe it's the gigantic marathon size combined with the gigantic city size. There are a lot of logistics which go into getting to the starting line of such a large event. For instance, just to get to the starting line, I have to take the subway, a ferry, and a bus! I will begin that process at 5:30 AM, even though I don't start running until 10:05 AM! It's a little overwhelming in very overwhelming surroundings! No wonder I'm anxious!

Hopefully, getting myself all set up tomorrow will calm me down. I'll be doing my final speed workout, a gentle 6 by 400 meters, when the sun comes up. That will probably settle me a bit, too. After that, I just have a few easy miles on Thursday before boarding my plane early Friday morning. As long as the weather clears, I should be ready to go. I pray the storm passes safely and quickly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A little sad

I'm feeling a bit sad tonight. I've been missing D all week. For some reason it still feels like he just walked out the door, that fresh sadness. It's different for me to miss him like this. We have a long distance relationship, after all. If I miss him this much every time he goes, I'm in trouble.

On top of missing him, I'm missing my mom already. Although we will be spending 8 days in New York together beginning next weekend, she just left Minnesota for the winter. She and my step-dad go south for the winter months. They won't be back until next May. She had been around here for the past couple of weeks, and we spent a lot of time together. It was nice. I feel a little silly for missing her already. I am grateful for the relationship we have today.

So I'm feeling a little sad tonight. And even though I've identified the cause of the sadness, feeling sad still makes me a bit uneasy. Sad feels a little too similar to depression for me to be totally comfortable with it. But I don't expect this sadness to morph into depression. I think I'm just sad. I've not much more to say than that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

They say...

They say God won't give you more than you can handle. I often reflect on this statement when going through trying times. Sometimes it helps. Today was not one of those times.

After what was supposed to be a routine furnace inspection, the serviceman showed me a hole in my heat exchanger. He then condemned my furnace. That means he disabled it. Apparently the hole will allow Carbon Monoxide to be released into my home. He also told me my Carbon Monoxide detectors were expired, and they may not have alerted me to the threat. Who knew Carbon Monoxide detectors expired? It was quite a handful of information to swallow!

The end result of all this information was that I needed a new furnace! I tried to stay composed, as this came as quite a shock, and finances were already thin. My parents just happened to be on their way over, as we had planned to go out to lunch. By the time they arrived, 5 minutes later, I was panicking and crying. I was already scrambling to put together the funds for the upcoming New York Marathon trip. Where, I thought, was this money going to come from?

I tried to compose myself. I said the Serenity Prayer a couple of times in a row. My step-father tried to help by making some jokes, but he quickly followed that up with a serious, "Don't worry about it." I'm glad he was composed, because my mom started crying as soon she saw me crying, so she wasn't much help. Eventually, we all settled in at the kitchen table and talked.

My parents decided they could help me out. We got a couple of estimates and made a decision. I'm getting a new furnace on Thursday. Fortunately, it's rather warm right now, so I should be okay until then. More significantly, I don't know what I would have done if my parents hadn't been able to offer assistance. I wasn't expecting their help (hence the panic), and I will absolutely pay them back, whether they expect it or not. I'm so grateful for their willingness and generosity.

Things are tough right now. I'm trying to work more hours, but all three of my employers are currently slow and not in need of extra help. Go figure. They say things always work out as they should. I have to have faith that is so. God, I hope that it is so!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A nice time

It's Sunday afternoon, and D has just departed for home. I'm a little sad. And I'm very tired.

D arrived Friday around 6:30 PM. I was anxious prior to his arrival, but once he was in my house, I felt better. We ate out both Friday and Saturday nights, went to a pumpkin patch for some Fall activities Saturday afternoon, visited with my parents, and visited with my good friends Bill and Cindy. In between, I ran 13 miles (he ran 6) Saturday morning. We drank coffee, read the paper, walked Puck, talked a little politics, and just hung out. The subject of my depression didn't come up, and that also felt totally okay. It was a nice weekend.

Now I'm sitting here watching football and wishing we had more time. After all, he wasn't even here for 48 hours. It was too short, one week would have been better. But that's not realistic at this time. We're both busy with our lives. In fact, it may be mid to late November before we even have a chance to see each other again. That's a long time. Life. It is what it is.

The real news is we had a nice time. Everything went well. We were comfortable with each other. December, 2011, was the last time we spent a weekend together, and this felt just like old times. I'm happy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cleaning day

I'm taking a late afternoon coffee break. I've spent the day cleaning my house. I don't think there's much I dislike more than cleaning. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone dropped in just about any day or time. I keep my house picked up and the dishes washed, etc... But I really dislike cleaning. Things I've been doing today, vacuuming, washing floors, dusting, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom; these are the things I don't care to do. But I've got company coming.

I guess that's the good and the bad reality of impending company. I get a really sparkly house out of the deal, which I love, but I hate making it sparkle! I'm surrounded by sparkle right now, although I still have to clean the bathroom! Damn!

I'm looking forward to my company, D, arriving tomorrow evening. He'll be here until mid-day Sunday. I wish we could spend more time together, but that's the major challenge of living 4 hours apart. It's one of many big challenges. But so far, I think it's been worth the work.

I'm sure we'll spend more time working, i.e. talking, this weekend. I sure wish D could assure me he won't disappear again if I have a depression episode, but maybe it's not fair to expect such assurances. This is a developing relationship after all. Nevertheless, I worry. I try not to think into the future. But I can't help but wonder what will happen if I get sick and end up in the hospital. If he's unable to say he won't leave, I guess I have to decide if continuing to see him is worth the risk. Work...

I try not to have the worry thoughts. I much prefer to stay in the moment and enjoy our time together. And for the most part, that's what I plan to do this weekend. I think it will be a good weekend, too short, but good nonetheless. I'll keep you updated.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

My time of year

This is my time of year. Warm days followed by crisp nights, as was the case today, are my kind of days. I love the musty smell of leaves in the air. I love the sound of dry leaves crunching under foot, especially when I'm walking with Puck, and we're kicking up the fall debris together. We just came in from our walk, in fact. The sun set before we turned for home, and we enjoyed Fall's heightened sounds and smells as dusk settled in. It was a lovely end to a very nice day.

I'm still feeling well. I think I usually feel well at this time of year. I don't recall any depression relapses of any significance which have occurred in the Fall. Winter and Spring seem to be more precarious. It's nice to feel good. It's nice to enjoy life.

I'm getting back into my training. I ran 16 miles in the rain Saturday morning, and tomorrow I'm back on the track for eight, 1/2 mile repeats at seven minute pace. Based on how tired my legs were during Saturday's long run, I think I'm in for a pretty tough workout tomorrow morning. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to getting back on the track. What can I say? I like to push myself, and I always feel great after a hard speed workout!

Speaking of feeling great, this weekend brings big news. My friend, D, is coming to visit. It will be our first weekend together since we stopped dating in January. Well, we didn't really stop dating. He disappeared when I was in the hospital getting treated for depression. Anyway, this is a big step in our relationship. I'm nervous and excited.

D still hasn't assured me he won't disappear again if I have another relapse. Depression is so foreign to him. It really scares him. But I think we're moving in the right direction. We've certainly spent a fair amount of time discussing the issue, which I really appreciate. If he's willing to be educated, I'm willing to do the teaching. The fact is I care about him. I'm hoping we can develop a strong relationship, but even if that doesn't happen, none of this time together will be wasted. I'm enjoying the experience. One day at a time, my friends. One day at a time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back to life

I'm back at my life and feeling really tired tonight. I think it will be an early bed time for me. It's been a busy week of work, recovering from the marathon, and beginning to ready myself for the New York City Marathon, which is now only 3 weeks away.

I plan to run anywhere from 13 to 16 miles tomorrow. It will depend on how I feel. I ran 7 miles yesterday. My legs were hollering at me a bit. Five miles probably would have sufficed. But I recovered well, and I even lifted some light weights tonight after work. I'm actually looking forward to my long run tomorrow. I hope my legs cooperate.

My mood continues to cooperate. It remains good. I haven't noticed any post-marathon dip so far. Keeping that dip from happening is the main reason I'm anxious to run long tomorrow.

Work has also been going well. I'm feeling comfortable, most of the time, and I think I've actually helped a few patients along the way! My co-workers are great people. We have a lot of fun and laugh a lot throughout the day. I appreciate that. I'm needing to work extra hours in order to stay on top of my budget, but so far that's working out okay, and I seem to be tolerating it well.

That's basically it for today. I'm doing well. I'm grateful. And I'm grateful for you readers. Thanks! I appreciated all of your support on my recent marathon journey. Let the next journey begin!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One More Time

I'm still glowing in the aftermath of Sunday's marathon. I'm recovering well. My left calf is the most sore, causing me a slight hitch in my step, but otherwise I'm feeling really good. I planned to swim today, but I rather enjoyed doing nothing for the first Tuesday in an awful long time. Tuesday's are usually my speed work day. Instead of running hard, I practiced napping hard. It worked. I think I took three naps today! It was quite nice.

I will begin some active recovery tomorrow. I have to get back at it, as I am running the New York City Marathon in 4 weeks. On Sunday, November 4th, I get to do it all over again. I'm really looking forward to New York. I've only been there once in my life, and I've never run the marathon there. My mom is coming with me, and we're staying for 8 days. Financially it's going to be a little tough for both of us, but it's a once in a lifetime event, so we're going for it. I can't wait to trot through the streets of New York City with 46,000 other runners! I expect it will be amazing!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

That's more like it!

It's nice to know training hard pays off. After training hard for 2.5 months for today's Twin Cities Marathon, I was really worried I was going to bonk. But that didn't happen. Instead I ran a very steady, consistently paced, and fairly fast 3:41:54! I believe that is the fourth fastest of my 19 marathons. And I felt good! I felt strong! And I'm really, really pleased with the result.

I actually held myself back for much of the first 20 miles. I didn't want to make my usual mistake of going out too fast and paying dearly for that later in the race. I consistently right around or under my planned 8:35 pace. Around mile 10 I began to feel some fatigue, so I started a mantra of "rest until mile 16" over and over again. I kept my pace consistent and focused on relaxing.

And then when I got to 16 miles, I extended my mantra. "Rest until twenty." There are some fairly good climbs between miles 20 and 22, so at 20 miles, I extended it once again. I relaxed. I ran steady. I felt good. I knew I could give more, but it wasn't until mile 22 that I let it go.

I knew by mile 22 that, unless something dramatic happened, I was going to qualify for Boston. I knew I was going to finish under my 1:45 goal. I knew I was running well. I wonder now if I waited too long. I do think I could have run even faster, as I wasn't totally spent at the finish, but I'm glad I ran a smart race. I'm glad I finished in a time of which I can be proud. And I'm so glad I trained hard. The reward is certainly sweet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Life is Good

Hello, and Happy Wednesday! I had a long work day today, but I got my nap in after work, and now I'm feeling fine. I'm tapering big time this week, so I've been resting on my non-running days, including today. Tomorrow I have a short 3-4 mile run scheduled, and I'll probably do a couple slow miles on Saturday as a final tune-up. Did I mention I'm running a marathon on Sunday?

Life is moving along smoothly. The financial stress I mentioned last week was relieved slightly with a paycheck I received yesterday. My regular job pays me on Friday, and I've got several extra hours coming on that check, so hopefully my relief will be even greater then. I'm working some extra hours this week, too. I think extra hours will be a fact of life far into the future, and as long as I remain stable, that's perfectly fine with me.

I've not much else to say tonight. I'm feeling good. Life is good. I hope for nothing but the same for you.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Countdown is On

One week from today, I'll be toeing the starting line at The Twin Cities Marathon. Although unseasonably warm weather is predicted for the upcoming week, the extended forecast has highs in the 60's for marathon day. That would be perfect, especially if it was overcast, too! For the first time this year, I wouldn't have weather to worry about. That would be a nice change.

I'm excited, anxious, and ready, I think, for the big day. I've certainly put in the training. I should be ready. Since early July, I've run five 20 milers. I've done speedwork at paces I didn't think I could hit, and I've completed long tempo runs which weren't always fun. So I did my homework. Next Sunday, we'll see how well it pays off. This is a marathon, after all, and marathons are known for screwing up the best laid plans. Anything can happen. I hope everything falls into place on marathon day.

My friend, D, is running The Chicago Marathon the same day. D is the old boyfriend. We're still talking about renewing our relationship. Well, I think we have renewed it, but it is at a much slower, more cautious pace than previously. He's still worried about the depression. I'm still worried he's going to disappear the next time I have a significant episode. Hence, the abundance of caution. It's good. We're moving along.

It's cool that he's running a marathon the same day, as we've been able to commiserate during training. And I'm really looking forward to talking with him after we've both crossed our respective finish lines. Hopefully it will be a good day for both of us.

Seven days and counting... I'll be relieved when the starting gun is finally fired.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Damn money

I'm sitting here with my foot in a bucket of ice trying to abate the tendinitis in my right achilles tendon. But tendinitis is not what's on my mind tonight. I'm thinking about money, damn money. If there's one thing that gets me going, it's financial stress. And right now, if there's one thing I've got, it's financial stress. Dammit! I hate financial stress!

Financial stress almost always makes me resentful of my illness. Resentment is not a sentiment I can afford, as it, too, will drag me down. Anyway, I'm resentful of this damn illness, because my financial stress is a direct result of depression. Before I got sick, I worked full-time. Since the onset of depression, I've either not worked or worked part-time. Part-time is nice. It keeps me emotionally stable, but it sucks when it comes to paying the bills. And every once in awhile, for various unforeseen reasons, it really, really sucks! That's where I'm at right now.

I opened my checking account last night and found that, as scheduled, all my bills had been paid. Unfortunately, I also discovered my account balance was zero! I have another 7 days before my next paycheck comes. How did this happen? Well, as I mentioned, various unforeseen circumstances. I live on a razor thin line between solvency and insolvency. It doesn't take much to upset the apple cart.

I don't want to go into all of my woes, but my apple cart has definitely been upset. This kind of stuff really bothers me. I pride myself on being very good with my money. I don't buy anything I don't need. I'm never late paying bills, and I don't even use credit cards! No matter what, I take care of my responsibilities. Seeing a zero account balance, especially when I've got a week before another paycheck, is not sitting well.

I do have a small savings account, which I hate to touch, but I guess this is one of the reasons I have it. Of course, then I worry about replacing the savings account money! Ugh! Like I said, financial stress really gets me going. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marathon on the Horizon

It's Sunday, and two weeks from today I will be sitting here recounting the details of the wonderful, hopefully, fast, hopefully, marathon I ran that morning. Two weeks from today is The Twin Cities Marathon. I ran 13 miles at marathon pace yesterday, and I felt pretty good, especially considering I had a very busy week. I spent my time running, especially when I was feeling good, visualizing marathon day. Hopefully, those visualizations will help when marathon day is actually upon me.

I'm really looking forward to this race. I'm trying not to let the negative, worry thoughts slip in. It's a bit dangerous to get too excited about a marathon, as it's such a long race, anything can happen. But I feel like I've trained really hard, and I've definitely put in the work to set myself up for a good day. That's all I could do. The outcome is yet unknown. We'll see what happens. Only two weeks to wait.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Still better

Things are going well. I'm feeling fairly good. I'm probably not back to normal yet, but I'm much closer than I was. I have occasional intrusive thoughts which creep into my brain, but today those thoughts are more annoying than they are frightening or worrisome. So things are moving along.

The one symptom I am still struggling with is fatigue. I'm flat out sleepy! I'm making it through work, but I sleep for at least an hour immediately after I get home. I spend many hours sleeping, after I finish running, on my days off. Fatigue always seems to be one of my lingering symptoms, so this is nothing new, but I'll be happy when it passes.

Other than that, I have little to report. I'm in the first week of my three week taper for my upcoming marathon. I had a great workout yesterday, and I'm generally feeling ready to go. I think it's going to be a long three weeks. I'm anxious to get to the starting line.

That's it for now, my friends. I'm living life on life's terms, and right now the living is getting a little easier. I'm very grateful for that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fewer valleys

I think I'm getting better. My mood has been a bit more stable lately, and that has been despite, or perhaps because I've been busy. The roller coaster has mellowed. It's more like a kiddie coaster now. I am still dipping, but the valleys are fewer, and they are more shallow. I'm hoping these are both good signs.

Like I said, I've been busy this weekend. I ran my last 20-mile training run before The Twin Cities Marathon. I was out there before the sun rose yesterday morning. It was a gorgeous day! Things went well. I hit the pace I planned to hit, and I wasn't too pooped at the end. I think I'll be ready when I hit the starting line in three weeks.

Last night, I told my story at my regular AA meeting. I've only done that once before, and it was a few years ago, so I was nervous. I typed up what I thought was a fair amount of information yesterday afternoon, as I was expected to speak for close to an hour. At the meeting, what I typed up only took 25 minutes to say, but I still got good feedback from the audience members. I guess I'll have to add a couple of anecdotes to my story next time.

Today was another busy day. Do you remember "D," my boyfriend from last year? We met on a bike path in northern Wisconsin last spring and dated until I was hospitalized in January. He disappeared when I was in the hospital. He couldn't handle it. The depression scared him.

Well, D and I have been talking off and on since mid-April. It was very, very sporadic texts at first, but in mid to late July, we began speaking a bit. Finally, we decided to meet about one month ago. We live 4 hours apart from each other, so we met in the middle and had dinner.  It was nice, but we didn't talk about what happened or anything substantial.

I didn't think things were going to go anywhere after that meeting, but D and I kept in touch and met again today. Today we spent about 6 hours together. And we talked a lot about what happened in January, about depression, and about where we might go from here. We are both so comfortable with each other, I hope he's willing to be educated. We plan to meet again, and I'm really happy about that.

Now it's time for bed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Own Private Roller Coaster

Up and down, round and round, up and down I go. In the last couple days, I have felt better and then worse, and then I've been better, and then I've been worse. Sometimes the better has lasted hours. Sometimes it's been only minutes of relief. It's so frustrating. I am beside myself. I don't know what else to do. I don't feel like I can expect anything to stay the same for very long.

Today was particularly frustrating and painful. I felt okay when I got out of bed. I went for my tempo run, as planned, prior to seeing my psychiatrist at 8:30 AM. After my run, the world went dark. I crashed. By the time I saw my doc, I could barely hear myself talk. She increased one of my meds. It's helped in the past.

I slept much of the day. I could hardly wake up. Everything was slowed. I was so low. Earlier in the week, I planned to run a cross country, 5K race tonight. As race time approached, I forced myself out the door. The race was literally just down the road at a local golf course. I got there, signed up to run, and then sat on a tree stump awaiting the start. The high school cross country meet was still being run, so there were probably 500 parents, spectators, and kids running around. I felt alone in the crowd.

I began to leave, but someone stopped me to chat. I ended up running the race, a difficult, hilly affair, and I ran well. Go figure. The pain of effort felt better than the pain of emptiness. I came home 1.5 hours after I left, and my mood was good. It was like night and day.

I chatted on the phone with some friends who had been concerned. I told them I was okay. After that I took Puck for our usual walk. We were half way through our walk when the darkness descended again. Within 45 minutes of telling my friends I was well, I felt dark, heavy and alone. It didn't make any sense.

I am frustrated and baffled. It seems I am on my own private roller coaster. I'm doing life. I'm working, running, staying connected with friends, and following doctor's orders. But I can't seem to get off the roller coaster.


Huh... I just re-read this post, and I realized something. I wouldn't expect a cancer patient's illness to go into remission because she was doing all the "right" things. I wouldn't expect a diabetic to suddenly be free of diabetes because he went to work. Why am I expecting my depression to magically go away? It seems I'm forgetting this is an illness. And sometimes, like many illnesses, it just doesn't make sense.

This roller coaster is no fun. Feeling low sucks. I'd like to be able to change my illness with my actions, but I think I've now proven there's more to it than that. I think it is important to keep doing what I've been doing. I'd likely feel a hell of a lot worse right now if I hadn't taken my meds or run that race. But I have to remember I'm dealing with depression--the illness--and sometimes, no matter what I do, it rears its ugly, ugly head. I'll try to be more patient. This too, I know, shall pass.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Better

Things are looking up around here. I'm moving ahead. While I'm not quite back to full strength, I am feeling better every day. I've been able to run, work, do my chores, and meet with friends on a fairly consistent basis over the past 4 days. I'm grateful to be feeling more like myself again. And I'm especially grateful this episode did not last very long. If felt like forever when I was in the midst of it, but I know it could have been a lot, lot worse.

I'm not sure what else I have to report. I'm glad I'm doing better, because work has been long and busy the last several days, including today. I worked 9.5 hours on Friday, 8 hours yesterday, and 8.5 more today. In between I ran 15 miles on Saturday. I'm so glad I didn't have more than 15 miles scheduled, as my legs were really dead. It was a tougher than usual 15 miles, and I was glad to be done. I took a long snooze after that one.

I guess fatigue is the one lingering effect from this depression relapse. That hasn't really gotten better yet. It was really noticeable during and after Saturday's run, but it's been pretty significant every day. I'm tired. Just tired. I'm hoping the fatigue will abate soon. In the meantime, I'll keep sleeping...a lot.

Thank you all for your comments and support over the past couple weeks. I so appreciate everyone who reads my little blog. And your comments really did make a huge difference during this time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Ray of Light

There is a ray of light peeking into my soul. With the help of my psychiatrist, I made it through the long Labor Day weekend. With the support of my social worker, I returned to work on Wednesday, and although I didn't think I'd be able to handle it, I did. I spent last evening with friends and noticed a bit of my humor coming back. Today I struggled but completed my 11 mile tempo run, actually made it to the grocery store and purchased my groceries, and again spent the evening with friends. My mood has lightened. My anger at this damn illness has softened. And tonight I'm feeling just a little bit better. I'm putting one foot in front of the other, and for the first time in a couple of weeks, I actually feel like I'm getting somewhere. I'm so grateful for that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The fantasy lab test

I think depression is unique among illnesses. Depression is so gray. There is no signature cough, no tell-tale physical pain, no excessive bleeding, and no abnormal blood test. It leads someone like me to question whether or not I am truly ill. Is this a relapse, or am I just sad? Is depression rearing its ugly head, or do I just have a defective character? Is this me or my illness dragging me down? In the midst of feeling so low, these are horribly tormenting questions running through my head.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a lab test which proved when depression was active? I feel bad, I go to the doctor, the doctor orders the test, and yup, there it is in black and white--I've got another case of depression, or I've had a relapse of my illness. It would be as clear as day. There would be no shades of gray. There would be no stigma, no questioning, no shaming, no guilt. What would be would be, and we'd treat it accordingly.

Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

broken


i am tired
i am broken

i am tired
of being broken

my brain is tired
my brain is broken
my brain is loud
my brain is

    convincing

it wants out

hard not to agree
  hard not to resist

i
am
tired

Friday, August 31, 2012

Something is wrong with etta

I apologize profusely for my inattention to this blog over the past week. I believe this is the longest gap in posts since I began this blog over 4 years ago. I pride myself on regularly posting here, so I come back to you ever so apologetically.

I haven't been participating in life much this week. My mood took an extremely precipitous dive last weekend. I ran my half marathon on Saturday, and I felt like my fairly-normal-self afterwards. As far as I remember, nothing abnormal happened Saturday or Sunday, but by mid-day Sunday I was reeling in the abyss. The world was dark. My thoughts were darker. I was overwhelmed and paralyzed. Just like that...

My situation has not improved this week. Things are still very dark. My thoughts are frightening, yet I am somehow not frightened. And that is a bit scary...if that makes any sense. It's been a really, really rough week.

It's been so rough, I haven't had the energy to do much of anything, including posting here. Nor have I been a model patient or role model. I've been isolating. I don't want to see or talk to anyone. I've had fits of anger and frustration. I've thrown meds in the toilet, contemplated my worthiness, and been obstructed by a very noisy brain. I haven't always handled things well this week.

I do feel an obligation to be a positive voice here, which made the thought of blogging when I felt so low a precarious proposition. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I couldn't post what I was feeling, thinking, or doing, as there wasn't much positivity in any of it. So I didn't post anything at all.

But tonight I figured I'd at least let you know what's been going on, even if it meant skipping most of the gory details. The gory details aren't necessary. Many of you have been there, done that. Things suck. Life doesn't seem worth living if it means living like this, which is why I'm praying for relief. I'm doing what I can, and I'm waiting. I'm hoping this will pass soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Decent Half Marathon

Considering I didn't taper. Considering I ran a tough speed workout on Tuesday. And considering I ran an 11 mile tempo run on Thursday, running a 1:45 half marathon today wasn't too bad. What was bad was how difficult it was, and of course, that was totally my fault.

The race was a little smaller than usual, and there were apparently a lot of fast runners running. I took off with the crowd, and I ran my first several miles, especially my first mile, way too fast! That unfortunately put me in early oxygen debt, and it made the rest of the race quite difficult and a little uncomfortable.

Discomfort be damned, I persevered. My legs felt like lead, and I didn't think I could go much further by the time I hit mile eight, but fortunately (or unfortunately) there were a few women of about my age running near me. Did I mention I am slightly competitive? So I pushed myself onward, and I did finish in front of each of them. The results aren't posted yet, so I have no idea if those women were actually in my age group or not, but it was my minniature victory, nonetheless. At least my competitiveness kept me moving when I wanted to stop.

I'm glad I pushed myself. It was painful, but as usual, it only took a few minutes to forget the pain once I crossed the finish line. After that, it was all socializing, commiserating, and fun. It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reminiscing

This morning I had a great speed workout at a small town track a few miles from here. I stopped at the local convenience store for some bananas and a cup of coffee on my way home. While filling my coffee cup, I heard someone behind me say my name. I turned around to find a former therapist gazing at me, questioning if I was, in fact, etta. What a nice surprise! I was quite happy to see her!

We exchanged a hug and caught up as quickly as we could. Her family was waiting to take her oldest son to college. Weird. Her three kids were small children when Heather and I worked together. Of course that was, we realized, 11 and 12 years ago. She was my first psychologist. We worked together during the first few years of my illness. That was a long time ago.

Though we were only together for a few short minutes, our surprise meeting left me reminiscing all day. I've been reviewing those first couple of years of depression. I've been remembering how quickly this illness came on, how severe and debilitating it became, and how disorienting the whole experience was during those initial years. I was sad, bewildered and confused. If only I knew then what I know now.

I'm not going to go into the gory details of those early years. That's not what all this remembering has been about. Actually, the memories of the pain, the chaos, and the losses have left me with a deep sense of gratitude. When I think of those years I am filled with gratitude for where I am today. I am so grateful to know what I now know and to have the coping skills I now have.

I guess 12 years of one illness has made me a bit of an expert on depression. I definitely was not an expert back then. Back then I suffered from depression. Over time I've learned a few things, and today I live with depression. One day, someday, I hope to be a survivor of it. What a wonderful day that will be.

Friday, August 17, 2012

That was uncalled for...

I knew what she was going to tell me, and she did. I had to pray for "the sick man." I couldn't afford to be that angry. Anger that intense would stick with me. It would tear me apart or drag me down. I had to pray to God to relieve me of my anger at the sick man.

I was walking Puck on our usual 1.7 mile loop a couple nights ago. He is a dog who appreciates routine. We walk the same route every night. He poops and pees in the same spots along the way during every walk. It's actually kind of funny. Even if he doesn't have anything left in his tank, he'll still stop to pee in the required spot. Nothing comes out, but he goes through the motions anyway. Makes me laugh every time!

You may be wondering why I am describing my dogs toileting habits to you. Let me explain. Puck's first stop every night is just two houses down from me. It is the home of an 80ish year old man named Eugene. His lawn is immaculate--no trees, no flowers, no shrubs--just perfect green grass. Puck likes the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street. He makes his deposit, I immediately pick it up. We've been doing this for at least a year.

Two nights ago, around 6 PM, Puck was making his deposit when a prolonged honk from a very loud horn came right at us from across the street. After getting over my initial fright, I looked in the driver-side window to see who the hell was being so obnoxious. It was Eugene. He pulled into his driveway, about ten feet from us, and stopped. Without rolling down his window, he was screaming and pointing at us. I could read his lips. "You pick that f**kin' shit up! You pick that f**kin' shit up!"

Picture this. I was standing over my dog, who hadn't even finished his business yet, with a white plastic grocery bag pulled up to my elbow on my right hand. I had another bag folded up in my other hand. Stunned, I stretched out my arms, faced Eugene and said, "What the f**k?" I figured if he could cuss like a sailor so could I. I was shocked. Could this man not see the plastic bag up to my elbow??

I stood there looking at him, still in his car with the window rolled up, as he began flipping me off and repeatedly saying, "F**k you. F**k you. F**k you." I must have looked like an idiot standing there, stunned, mouth agape with a white plastic bag up to my elbow. But I just couldn't believe what was happening, and I was getting really pissed off. Finally, I yelled, "What is the problem?" This got Eugene out of his car. "Give me that f**kin' bag," he hissed, as he walked toward me. Again, I asked, "What is your problem?" He again told me to pick that shit up, and I said, "What do you think I'm doing?" I bent over to pick up the f**kin' shit.

I was thoroughly confused as to why I was being attacked. I told him he was acting like an asshole, and then I asked him if he realized I was his neighbor? At that, he softened a bit, and said, "Ya, I see you running around here." I don't think he really realized who he was screaming at, not that it should make any difference if I was his neighbor or not! I picked up the poop, as he walked away mumbling about getting his hose. I was seething, but I turned and as pleasantly as possible said, "You have a nice night!" He didn't acknowledge me.

I fumed throughout our entire walk. I came up with a million zingers I should have said. I thought about throwing dog poop at his house on our way home. In the end, I knew I couldn't do or say any of what I was thinking. Instead, I came home and called my sponsor.

I knew what she was going to tell me, and she did. I prayed for the sick man. It worked.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A long day and a long run

Hi there! I had a great run on Saturday, a nice day at work and a swim on Sunday, and I was overwhelmed at work today. So things are about average around here. I'm now relaxing in my chair, in front of a baseball game, trying to figure out what to write before heading off to bed.

I guess since I'm still decompressing, I'll write about my 9.5 hour work day today. My brain shuts off well before the 9 hour mark, so just the extended length of my day made today difficult. But really taxing to my brain was the two and a half hour inservice we had in the middle of the day.

The inservice was meant to be a review of some treatment modalities, but much of the information was new to me. I was totally overwhelmed! There was too much information presented for the time allotted. Then we ran overtime, and I couldn't pay attention because I was too worried about how far behind schedule this inservice was putting me. It was very stressful.

Unfortunately, I don't feel like I can apply what was presented today, which is what's expected. I was overwhelmed by the material. I felt like I needed more time and instruction to utilize the information correctly. And I ended up way behind schedule, which forced me to stay at work for an extra hour and a half. The stress created by the inservice really hindered my ability to learn. I'm hoping to look through the information on my own tomorrow when I'm not feeling so stressed. I'm glad I have tomorrow off.

Fortunately, I did have a good weekend. My 18-miler Saturday morning could not have gone much better. I started before the sunrise. The weather was amazing! And I felt good the whole way. I finished with gas in the tank. I think I easily could have run several more miles. It's not often that I have long runs like that, so I enjoyed every moment. I have a 20-miler scheduled for this Saturday. I hope it goes just as well.

I'm so grateful God has given me the gift of running. My run got my weekend off to a great start, and the endorphins carried me through the rest of Saturday and Sunday. Thanks, God. What gifts has God given you? Think about it. Have a nice week, everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rolling along

There's not much going on in my life these days. I appreciated all of your comments, as usual, about stigma. I'm still fed up, and I now resolve to speak up even more. I encourage you to do the same. The only way to educate others is to discuss our illnesses, and their debilitating effects, with others.

Like I said, I'm rolling along. My training is going well. I had two great workouts already this week. Yesterday's tempo run was a bit more difficult than I would have liked, but I got it done. I'm set to run 18 miles tomorrow morning. Weird...I'm actually looking forward to it. I get a lot of thinking done over those long miles. I guess it's kind of relaxing for my brain. Like I said, weird.

Work is going well. I'm still getting comfortable with seeing outpatients, but I'm a little less freaked out than I used to be. I've actually been shuffled around to some other buildings lately, as our building has been really slow. Working in unfamiliar surroundings brings more challenges and anxiety, but so far I've handled it okay. I hope to continue feeling more and more comfortable and skilled as time goes on.

My mood remains good, and my thinking is clear. I'm maintaining an attitude of gratitude today. Working in healthcare, I'm constantly reminded how quickly one's life can be unexpectedly altered. I'm feeling grateful for my good mental and physical health today. I'm feeling grateful for my buddy, my companion, my boy... that's my dog, Puck. He keeps me smiling and grounded. I don't know where I'd be without him. An attitude of gratitude. Try it. And keep on keeping on, my friends.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fed Up with Stigma

Watching the Olympic Women's Marathon in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I saw a public service announcement (i.e. a commercial) about mental illness! I was stunned and thrilled. I immediately got out my computer and discovered the sponsoring website. The Bring Change 2 Mind movement is sponsoring PSA's, billboards, and their website to educate people about mental illness and specifically, it appears, about stigma. With mouth agape I excitedly paged through the site, and I encourage you to do the same.

While reading through the site, I was given the option of sharing it on Facebook, which I did. This is where it got interesting. I don't know exactly how many Facebook friends I have, but it is several hundred for sure. I do know that many of my friends are involved in causes for which they care, like breast cancer, March of Dimes, or multiple sclerosis, because they frequently post links to these causes on Facebook. If it is a cause I also care about, or sometimes simply to show my support, I might "like" their post or make a comment. I'm usually one of  50-100 people to do so. That's the Facebook way of showing support, isn't it?

Most of my friends know about my battle with mental illness, specifically depression. Some of them even read this blog, so I was interested to see the response to my Facebook link. Throughout the day, I checked into Facebook to see how my link was received. It's been 3 days now. My several hundred friends have come through with 1 comment and 3 likes. What is that about? One comment and three likes from several hundred people? I'll tell you what it's about. It's about stigma!

I am so fed up with stigma! Even in the rather safe arena of Facebook, where all you have to do is click a button to show support, hardly a soul showed up. Is it that scary to to support someone with mental illness? Does liking a link about mental illness mean you might be crazy, too? What, I wonder, were people afraid would happen if they clicked that "like" button? I thought things were improving, but I'm afraid stigma still reigns supreme. I'm tired of it!

I've probably pissed a few people off by writing this, but I don't care. I'm tired of being disappointed by the pervasiveness of stigma. I'm angry I have an illness made more difficult by stigma. It appears there are very few people, even among my relatives, friends and acquaintances, who see mental illness as something for which they should be concerned. Perhaps, despite this being 2012, and despite lots of available education, they don't see my illness as an illness at all. I guess I don't know. Fighting stigma is a constant battle. It should be an unnecessary battle, but I guess I've just been rudely reminded there is much more battling ahead.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Running and Overcoming

Since I last posted here, I have read and appreciated all of your comments. It is so helpful to know I am not as abnormal as I feared. And I'm doing better. My thoughts have settled, and today they were actually pretty good. Thank you again for all of your helpful feedback!

I actually had a lot of practice controlling my thoughts today, as I ran a race. My brain is notoriously noisy during races, especially longer ones. Today's race was eleven miles on a paved trail. Despite the pouring rain prior to the start, there was a pretty good turnout.

I didn't know what kind of performance to expect. I've been working really hard on my speed work and tempo runs, so I hoped for a decent time, but I wasn't sure if I had done enough work yet for any kind of payoff today. It was a good test race for me at this point in my training.

I started fast but controlled. I knew it would be a tough race mentally, as it is an out and back course through the woods. This morning it was just me and my thoughts. Not knowing what kind of shape I was in, I didn't know if I had gone out too fast, too slow, or just right. My brain, of course, took advantage of my questioning and bombarded me with negative thoughts. I ignored them as best I could and settled in.

After 4 miles I was still feeling pretty good. There was another woman in the distance in front of me, and I slowly reeled her in. I had about a ten second lead on her at the turn-around. I also knew I was in 4th place overall among the women. With no chance of catching the top three, I concentrated on putting more distance between me and the woman in fifth.

I was getting tired. I didn't know if I could hold my pace. The negative thinking reared its ugly head again, but I fought back. Between miles 6 and 7 I came up with a mantra to drown out the negativity. "I'm stronger. I'm getting stronger." The more tired I got, the more ferociously I thought. It worked. Mile 8 was my fastest mile of the entire race!

Those last three miles were tough, but I never let up. In the end, I put over three minutes between me and the woman in fifth. I finished in 4th place overall, and I finished first in my age division. It was a good test and an enjoyable race.

I think the timing of this challenging race couldn't have been better. Historically, as it was again today, I've been able to overcome negative thinking when I race. If I can overcome when I race, there's no reason to think I can't overcome at other times. If my broken thinking shows up again in the next few days, I should be able to recall today's mental effort with some confidence. Once again running has given me a tool for living my life. I love that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Slightly broken

I hate writing about this, but my social worker suggested it might help. She thought it might normalize what I've been experiencing. She suggests it's likely many of you experience it, too. I don't know. I hate to admit it. So I hope she's right.

My brain is broken. That's what it feels like. I've been having trouble with my thinking. Violent thoughts, disturbing thoughts, and discouraging thoughts have been intruding on me lately. I'm still doing well. My mood is good. I'm running well. Work is okay. So there seems no reason for the thinking except that it is one of my symptoms which occasionally pops up. And I hate it.

Thinking like this disturbs me. The thoughts are disturbing. I have violent, horrible thoughts about Puck getting hurt and not being able to do anything about it. I have irrational thoughts about a substance spilled on a bridge being some sort of flesh eating acid. I have discouraging thoughts about being inept, not good enough, stupid, lazy, etc... The thought content disturbs me.

Also disturbing, and maybe even more so, is simply having the intrusive thoughts. They make me feel different, abnormal, and crazy. They spur ranting and raving about wanting to be normal. They scare me, anger me, and worry me. I hate them. I just want them to go away.

There, I said it. I guess it would help if any of you can relate. My social worker tried to calm me down today during at least one of my rants. She tells me these thoughts are not as abnormal as I fear. Aren't they? I don't know. I hope she's right.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sights and Sounds of 20 miles

It was beautiful outside. The air was cool, almost cold, against my skin as I set out in the morning twilight. I kept my head up and ears open as my muscles groaned awake. It was the first moments of my upcoming three hour journey. I settled in.

The beauty of the sky immediately drew my attention. Lavender, pink, and magenta feathered across the horizon foreshadowing the arrival of day's brilliant light. The air smelled of awakening. I inhaled deeply.

The squirrels, it appeared, had long been awake. Gathering, chasing, climbing and cavorting they barely noticed my passing. The crows, on the other hand, boisterously squawked and chased me from above. While the geese couldn't have cared less. Overcrowding the path, hissing as I approached, they forced me to dodge them rather than the other way around. I had to laugh.

Through the woods, morning dew dripped rhythmically from the trees. Startled by my presence, a beautiful deer interrupted his breakfast and leapt away. Soon my breathing matched my footsteps, and these were for a long time the only sounds in my ears.

Out of the woods, around the town lake, things changed. There was more dodging of hissing geese, which was contrasted by panicked quack, quack, quacking and quick flap, flap, flapping of running duck feet. A small herd of running ducks really creates quite a ruckus!

The lake was busy with morning exercisers by the time I arrived. In my two laps around, I practically exhausted myself just saying hello. A constant whirring sound puzzled me for a moment until I passed an inflatable finish line. The local women's road race was setting up for their run.

The busy lake gave way to a quiet neighborhood toward the end of my journey. I was surrounded by manicured lawns, flowers and shrubs. In between barking dogs and buzzing lawn mowers, I could actually hear the clinking of breakfast dishes and coffee cups, as windows were opened to allow the rare cool air inside.

Finally, my path took me around the golf course, within a few feet of several tees. The whoosh of clubs slicing through the air broke up those final miles. Shortly, I was back in my neighborhood. It was the way I left it. Quiet and serene, not yet, it appeared, awake. There were no dogs to greet me, no mowers buzzing, and nobody to whom I could say hello. Even the squirrels, it seemed, were on their morning break.

I slowed to a stop under the now bright sky. Tired and content, I walked up my drive. I sighed an audible sigh. It was the only sound. I smiled and went into my house.

Friday, July 27, 2012

End of the week report

I'm sitting here with a billion other people watching the opening ceremonies to the Summer Olympics in London. So far it's quite a good show. I love that they highlighted their National Healthcare System in this worldwide event. With the healthcare debate, usually unintelligent, accusatory, and partisan, in this country right now, I thought this highlight was quite admirable. And that's all I have to say about that.

I had a good week of working and running. I've been working extra hours, usually about four per day, on my typical days off. I work on-call for several other nursing homes in the area, so I have lots of opportunities to work more than my usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. I'm really tired of living paycheck to paycheck, so I've been working afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a couple of weeks. I run in the mornings, try to run one or two errands, and then go to work. It's tiring, but so far I'm handling it okay.

Speaking of running, I had two difficult but successful runs this week. I ran my speed workout on the treadmill Tuesday. It was just too damn hot and humid to run outside. I ran 2 x 1200 meters followed by 4 x 800 meters. I really didn't think I was going to be able to hold the paces I was supposed to run, but I did. I felt really great when I was done. On Thursday, I ran a fast 5 mile tempo run. That was very difficult, and I felt very tired when I was done. Today I'm recovering for my second 20-miler tomorrow morning. I'm already up way past my bedtime! I'm planning to be on the road by 5:30 AM at the latest.

That being said, I should probably tape the rest of this ceremony and get to bed. Things are clicking along. I'm busy, but I'm holding it together thus far. I'm grateful for the ability, energy, and motivation to run, work, and live my life free of the black fog of depression today.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Doing well

I made my mom cry. She doesn't read my blog (my choice), but I sent her my last post in an e-mail. She said it made her so happy, she cried. Apparently, my step-dad cried too. I wasn't expecting that. My mom said it was the best birthday present I could have given her. I'm glad she liked it. It was a bit of a risk for me to send it, but now I'm glad I did.

In other news, my running is going well again. After struggling through my two weekday runs last week, I had a really good 18-miler on Saturday. I had to leave early in the morning again in order to avoid the heat and humidity. I had a couple slow miles as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and worked out the kinks in my muscles, but then I settled into a nice rhythm. I ran a steady 8:55 pace the rest of the way, and I felt good doing it. It's nice to finish a long run knowing I could have run another couple of miles if I had wanted.

Work is also going well. I'm settling in, but I still lack the confidence I'd like to possess. Nonetheless, I think I'm doing an okay job. I like my co-workers a lot, and they facility is nice. That certainly has helped me feel more comfortable. So far, it's a good fit.

Lastly, I'm doing well with my thinking and mood. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my screwed up, intrusive thoughts. Well, shortly after writing about them, they disappeared. I had one recurrence last week while walking Puck, but otherwise my brain has been quiet. That makes me happy. Likewise, I'm thrilled my mood continues to be stable. I feel good, and I'm enjoying feeling good. I sure could get used to this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

It's my mom's 65th birthday today. How strange! I never imagined my mom being 65. I used to think 65 was soooo old. But she doesn't seem soooo old. Even though she doesn't exercise enough, or eat exactly the best food, she's still quite active and younger than her years. I am so grateful for that.

Before I got depression and before I got sober, I took my mother for granted. We had a strained relationship, and the majority, if not all, of the strain came from my end. She could do little right. I wasn't always friendly or kind. I expected a lot but was rarely happy with what I got. To her credit, she persevered despite my attitude and disrespect.

Then I got sick. My life fell apart. I lost everything. She was there. For years, she was there. I didn't necessarily let her in, but she remained by my side.

Then I tried to secretly drink myself to death. I found my way to AA. I got sober. I apologized. I opened up a crack. The waters grew warmer, in part because she never left.

In the past few years, we've grown closer because I've relaxed. I've allowed her in. I've accepted her presence, her assistance, and her company with gratitude and appreciation. I love her, though I still struggle telling her so. I don't know what that's all about, but I do. I'm so grateful she's in my life.

I'm especially grateful that my mom stuck with me, and continues to stand by me, despite my inadequacies and faults. I'm lucky. She gives without expectation. She takes care of me when I'm unable to care for myself. She cheers me on. Thank you, Mom. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

It's Monday. It's a much needed rest day for me. No exercise, just work. I can't even walk Puck tonight. It's just too hot and sticky outside! Oh well, like I said, I needed a rest day.

I'm coming off a good weekend. As planned, I got up early and ran 20 miles Saturday morning. I'm still a little stunned it went as well as it did. Of course, I was tired and my legs were dead in the last couple miles, but overall I felt good, held a nice pace, and recovered very well. I was able to spend the rest of my day relaxing, socializing, and walking with Puck.

I worked at the hospital yesterday. It's my very part-time weekend gig. I ended up with some really nice, motivated patients. The day wasn't too long, and I got in a 25 minute recovery swim after I was done. At the end of the day I had another lovely walk with my boy. It was a nice end to a nice weekend. Things are moving right along, and I'm doing all right.

By the way, thank you for all of your comments on my last post. I really appreciate that you can appreciate my boring posts. I do hope that by doing well, I can inspire others to survive, and perhaps even thrive, despite having depression. Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just good.

I feel a little bit bad, as I don't think I have much to report. Sometimes, like right now, I worry about continuing this blog when I'm doing well, as I don't think my life is all that interesting. Who am I to write a blog, anyway? I'm not any more or less special than any of you currently reading this. That's for sure!

So I don't have a lot to say. I'm doing well. I'm feeling well. My mood has been good. Even my job went well this week. It's nice. My workouts have also been good. I ran fast and hard on both Tuesday (5 x 1000 meters) and Thursday (6 mile tempo run). I suffered through them, but I felt great when I completed them. I'm now gearing up for my 20-miler tomorrow. Things are just, well, good.

Good is a little boring, but I'll take boring and short blog posts over misery any day of the week! It's hard to believe I was absolutely debilitated and miserable just a few months ago. I'm so grateful to be feeling well. I'm unbelievably grateful for the energy which allows me to run as I wish. And I'm grateful for readers like you. Whether I have little or lots to say, keeping up with this blog, through the good times and the bad, keeps me moving forward and allows me to survive this illness rather than suffer from it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Running and Biking Away

The heat of last week finally broke over the weekend. It was perfect timing, as I had 17 miles scheduled for Saturday morning. And I did it! I got up very early and was on the road before 5:30 AM. The air was warm, but the humidity had broken and clouds covered the sun. It was actually a rather pleasant 2 and 1/2 hours out there.

During my run, I had a low point around mile 8, which was exactly where I crashed at Grandma's Marathon last month. My legs were tired, my brain was negative, and all I wanted to do was give up. But I didn't. I forced myself to continue running. I worked on reversing my negative thoughts, and the low moment passed. I then felt stronger and stronger until the last miles of my run. It was very good for my confidence and morale. It turned out to be a great run.

I was a little worried about how I would recover after that effort, especially since it was my first long run since Grandma's and since recovering from pneumonia. Fortunately, I had nothing physically taxing to do afterward. I was lucky to spend much of the rest of the day with friends, Bill and Cindy, socializing and relaxing on their patio. I'm so grateful to have such unconditional, fabulous friends. We never tire of spending time with each other. Later in the evening, I took Puck for a 2 mile walk, and my legs felt good. I was pleased.

I was even more pleased on Sunday when I was able to complete another fairly tough workout. I rode my bike 31.5 miles throughout the countryside. I rode hard, but not all out. I was pleasantly surprised with the strength in my legs. I was expecting more fatigue than I encountered. Instead, I was able to enjoy the weather, the farm fields, and my freedom to ride. It was another confidence-boosting workout for me.

It's nice to feel alive again. First the pneumonia had me dragging. Then the heat kept me shut inside. Now I feel like I've regained some strength and perspective. I feel better about my training and more hopeful about achieving the goals I've set. But I'm not getting carried away yet. I have a difficult speed workout scheduled tomorrow. Hopefully, the result will be three strong, positive workouts in a row. I'll be over the moon if that turns out to be the case!



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