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!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Steam Rolled

It is times like this when I wish everyone on the planet had at least one personal experience with clinical depression. If all those around us had at one time felt the complete and utter hopelessness, the crushing heaviness, the inability to move without huffing and puffing in search of more energy, the loneliness, the physical fatigue of pneumonia or the flu, without the other symptoms of pneumonia or flu, the loss of motivation to cook, wash, or dress... If this experience were a part of every life at least once, there would be no more stigma.

If depression were universally experienced, there would be no more invalidating comments. People wouldn't suggest that smiling more would cure you. There would be no more misunderstandings. Working only part time would not be questioned. Napping wouldn't be akin to laziness. Support in the way of food, chores, or simply companionship would be common place. If depression were seen as an illness; a diabolical, unpredictable, debilitating illness, no different than many types of cancer, for example, things would be different for all of us.

Home alone, as I've been for days, I'm exhausted, hopeless and overwhelmed. My sweatshirt and pants have seen better days, but who cares. A few days ago, it began. Since then I've been steam rolled by a particularly vicious episode of depression. It always amazes me how quickly this illness  attacks. And that's exactly what it feels like, an attack. How else can I describe something that came on so fast and ferociously? Life is bleeding from my soul. It sucks, and I hate it.

As usual, I'm doing what I can, but the options, like my world, feel like they're shrinking. I've been reaching out a bit, but I have a hard time with that. Who wants to hear from someone feeling like crap? There's nothing my friends can do, so I hesitate to bother them. I did make it out yesterday and had coffee with a friend. It was nice, but the effort left me flat on my back the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I know it was a good thing to do. I've walked Jet a bit, and when I can, I ride my stationary bike for 10 minutes at a time. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. I can't say it's helped, but at least I feel like I'm putting up a sliver of a fight.

My thinking is horrid at times like this. I don't want to die, but after days and nights filled with darkness and angst, I'd prefer not to wake up. Those are scary words, but they only begin to describe the dark thoughts banging around in my head. I have much to be grateful for, but this illness erases the good with glee. Only black, hopeless, shaming death do I see.

I'm in a bad place right now. I don't want to be here. I'm hanging on, but the fatigue is great and the resolve is weak. This is depression. It's ugly, messy, scary and misunderstood. Today my ugly, scary depression has me in it's grip. I'm struggling to free myself and eventually I will slip from it's slimy grasp. I will. I have to believe that. Prayers for all of us suffering with mental illness today.

13 comments:

paullamb said...

I don't wish my bad episodes on anyone, but I agree with your point. If everyone knew what this can be like, the world would be a different place for those with mental illness. (I'll never know what being pregnant, giving birth, or nursing a baby is like. I expect if more men in government and the pulpit could learn what that is like, the laws of this country wouldn't be so primitive either.)

I'm sorry you're having a bad time. I recognize everything you say from my own episodes, though I don't think mine are as intense or as long-lasting as yours. Maybe the Wellbutrin is working.

Buzzy said...

Hear hear. Did you see this comic from Robot Hugs? I thought it captured the lack of understanding pretty well.
http://www.robot-hugs.com/helpful-advice/

The Real McCoy said...

I'm so sorry you're going through such a terrible episode. I hope that rest, time, and your dog help out. I always find a comedy album or funny movie helps me, but that might just be me.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear you are feeling like this. I hope this bad episode will be behind you soon.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You have no idea how much they help (me and other) people. Thanks a million for putting words on these feelings.

Take care X

Anonymous said...

I follow your blog at times but have not a lot of energy myself to comment, but wanted to say I can empathize and I feel winter is very hard on depression sufferers. I am finally getting out of a bad bout of depression myself, which the holidays always seem to exacerbate and I emerge with a sense of PTSD at times from the SI and the disordered thinking and then feel so behind. My dog keeps me around and engaged at all. My dog is my life-line. I always have to remember that things always get better again but the waiting it out is very difficult at times. I am also in recovery from addiction and antidepressant use for years which never made things better, and am about to go see a new doctor because I feel I need help with my rapid cycling mood swings - maybe a low dose of lithium - this, after checking into ECT. One day I am sure I need after days of feeling like I can't take the fire storm of depression one more day and then not knowing what to say when I flip to a more scattered, anxious mood when they finally call me back. I do have a plan though if things get really bad for me to be admitted, but so far my track record for riding out depression has been very good. But it's still incredibly painful and scary. You are not alone, as you know.

Harris Raye said...

Just letting you know that I (and many others) read your post and care about you as a human being - even if few, if any, of us will ever meet you or speak with you. I hope you'll remember that you're not alone. And I hope you get through this bad period soon.

Anonymous said...

This post really spoke to me. I had depression for five years and didn't seek help because I thought I just had a bad attitude. I went to a doctor and got some meds and immediately starting feeling better. It was like a fog had been lifted. As I got better, I sort of felt angry at people who DIDN'T have depression. Everything is so much easier without depression. If I wanted to wake up and get some cleaning done, I did just that. How could anyone think I was lazy before? I wasn't lazy, I just was unfortunate enough to have depression. People can't appreciate the good fortune of a healthy mental state until it is taken away from them. End rant.

I really hope you feel better soon. Depression can change the way you view the world. It can be hard to remember that this is an illness and that this episode will pass.

- Virginia

Jean Grey said...

I'm sorry you are having such a bad time right now. I think the season is a bad time- without my light box, no antidepressant gets me through the winter. And yes, it is always hard to know what to tell other people. I don't want to complain. I try to put on a good face. My first therapist told me to "fake it 'till I make it" (which doesn't work). But then people think it isn't so bad and why can't I do everything that everyone else does.

Nathalie said...

Thinking of you Etta....

Nathalie said...

Thinking of you Etta x

Anonymous said...

In reading some of your archives, it definitely appears that your episodes are highly seasonal in nature. Have you given some thought to moving to a more southern latitude? Btw, this is coming from a fellow sufferer in Chicago who is feeling really reinvigorated after two weeks off in Florida. My SAD is pretty bad every year (peaking in early to mid Dec). I rely on a regimen of intense early a.m. exercise, bright light therapy, and low-dose Vitamin D every year to get me by, but this strategy pales in comparison to the benefits of just moving southward. I've given the notion a lot of thought myself.

Nemya said...

I'm a bit behind on my reading but I glanced ahead and saw that aw of today you were still down. I'm so sorry. As I remember back a couple of posts it seems as though it was trying to come on sooner but you fought through it. I hope the darkness doesn't stay long. Sending many hugs and warm thoughts your way =/

Anonymous said...

I agree with the seasonal thing. I moved to the mountains of WNC from out West and I am suffering a lot more than I ever have earlier in the year anyway. I also notice in your blog that you are far happier in more lightened conditions, as am I. I have plans to move either further south or back out west again. I am the commenter who mentioned ECT and rapid cyling and holiday stuff and waiting things out. I just saw a pdoc yesterday and was put on a low dose of lithium. I was doing OK until I moved here with less light. But who knows...but it's a lot worse for me with SAD. Even in Denver, I would relapse in spring with severe depression and then someone presented me with a chart that showed more cloud cover during the months I went downhill. I have come to the conclusion that I need a lot more sun than even Denver. When I lived in Crestone, CO for a little while, I hardly had any problems because it was more south. I had some, but I snapped out of them. Mostly hormonal stuff. I use a light box and it helps only a little here, but some people get a lot more help from them than I. It has to be a good big one.



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