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, April 24, 2017

Stupid FB Post

I was planning on writing a post about how well I continue to feel and function. In fact, Jet and I ran 20 miles yesterday, and it was a good, doable run! Amazing. That would not have been possible just two short weeks ago. I was really pleased. With the help of TMS, I'm getting my life back. That's what I was going to write about. But now I have something more pressing stuck on my mind.

I was just peeking briefly at Facebook, It's not something I spend a lot of time doing, and perhaps what follows is exactly the reason why. A friend, who happens to be a nurse, posted this little ditty from QuizzClub.com: My doctor asked if any of my family members suffered from mental illnesses. I said no, they all seem to enjoy it. In response, my friend received 3 comments approving of her funny post and multiple Likes, smiley faces, and even one heart emoji. I, on the other hand, began to fume.

Is anyone else offended by this post? Why is this funny? If we substitute cancer, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis for mental illness, is this little ditty still funny? I think not so much. And that's the point! A biological illness which tears lives apart, disables people, and on many occasions leads to death isn't funny! Yet multiple viewers had no trouble, and presumably no second thought about pushing the Like button. I'm so angry and sad.

I tried to let it go. I'm not a big Facebook user, and I didn't want to create a scene or initiate some heated discussion which would likely end up pissing me off more than I cared to deal with, so I tried to let it go. I couldn't. I just thought she should know better, and if she didn't know better I wanted to educate her. I finally decided to at least send my friend a private message detailing my feelings and the reasons behind them.

This is what I wrote: "I don't want to create a big scene on Facebook, but allow me to say something about your 'enjoying mental illness' post. I know you meant it lightheartedly, but as a person with severe, treatment resistant depression, an illness no different than any other in that it is an illness, I find that post short sighted and offensive. My recent bout of depression tore my life apart and nearly outlasted my ability to stay alive. I was in the hospital for 18 days, suffered thru 9 ECT treatments, was unable to work, make any money, or pay my bills, and am now in the midst of 4-6 weeks of daily Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatments. Please think about it. Substitute any other illness; cancer, heart disease, or MS, in place of mental illness in that little ditty. Is it still funny? Not so much. Just my thoughts as I attempt to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness. Thanks for listening."

My friend was sorry she offended me and said it was not her intent. I know that. I know it wasn't her intent, or presumably the intent of QuizzClub.com, to offend anyone. She found it funny. She re-posted a post that's been viewed over 4.2 million times already. Clearly she wasn't the only one who thought it was cute or funny. That's the real problem. How do we combat this pervasive sense that mental illness is something to be made light of rather than an illness to be taken seriously? I don't know. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Honor, Potential Honor

I am humbled and grateful once again to be honored by Healthline.com for having one of the best depression blogs. Considering how many depression blogs are out there, and they only chose a few, I am proud my tiny little space was recognized for quality of content and for "educating, inspiring, and empowering readers." What more can I say than that? Thank you, Healthline. I appreciate the honor.

Speaking of honors, I have decided to submit an application to the Twin Cities Marathon sponsor, Medtronic, to become one of their Global Champions, and you may be able to help. Medtronic is selecting 10 marathon runners "who use an eligible medical device, or have had a medical procedure or therapy" to their 2017 Medtronic Global Champions Team. They are looking for inspirational stories from runners to share with the world.

To qualify as a Global Champion the Medronic website states, "If you are a runner and have overcome medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, neurological disorders, obesity, or gastrointestinal and urological disorders and have returned to an active life with the help of medical technology or solutions, inspire others and share your story. Apply to be on the 2017 Medtronic Global Champions team."

I couldn't help but notice mental illness was not specifically included in their list. However, Medtronic says of a Global Champion, "With grit and determination, they’re ready to show the world that life with a medical device or procedure won’t stand in their way of pursuing their goals and passions." I think that's me, and I think recovering from my depression relapse via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation qualifies. (If you'd like to know how you can help, let me know.)

That's right. I think I'm recovering from this unbelievably horrible, despair-filled depression relapse. The TMS really seems to be working. I almost can't believe it. Ten long weeks of hopelessness and misery seems to be abating.

Today my coworkers couldn't stop enthusiastically telling me how different I am today compared to just last week; "like night and day," to quote one of my assistants. Likewise, during a phone call, my psychiatrist's nurse made several comments about how much better I sounded. I kind of wish I had a video recording of what I looked and sounded like these past 10 weeks. Apparently, I've already made a huge recovery. I'm so relieved to be feeling better. Thank God for TMS.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Perhaps?

Maybe I'm being too (cautiously) optimistic too soon, but maybe, perhaps, hopefully, I might be feeling a little bit better. I've had 4 TMS treatments, and up until Friday nothing had changed. But then again I wasn't expecting any miraculous change, as the psychiatrist told me it may take 4-6 weeks of 5-day-per-week treatments before I noticed any improvement, if there was going to be any improvement at all. I think maybe there has been some improvement. And it seemed to happen suddenly Friday afternoon.

It was really quite strange. All of a sudden Friday afternoon I noticed I was feeling more energetic, more positive, and more hopeful. I was lighter, moving at more normal speed (as opposed to the slow motion of the previous several weeks), and processing life a bit quicker. It was like something had shifted. I took note, but I was careful not to get too excited. However, as my friend, Wendy, pointed out, even if the next day again sucked, a few moments of feeling better were worth it. Too true!

As it turned out yesterday was not great, but it wasn't horrible either. I was really fatigued and had very low motivation, but I think my mood was still lighter even though I didn't do much all day. Today I continue to feel a little bit better. Jet and I ran 14 miles this morning. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the city was very quiet, as it often is on holidays, so it was a nice run. I'm glad I didn't have more than 14 miles on the schedule, though. Fourteen was definitely enough. Now I'm just enjoying the sunny day.

I resume my TMS treatments tomorrow afternoon. I certainly feel more enthusiastic about attending my appointments now that I have some evidence the treatments may actually be making a difference. Already. I'm feeling extremely cautiously optimistic. The only possible side effect I've noticed is trouble sleeping. I've been unable to fall asleep when attempting to nap, and it takes me a lot longer to fall asleep at night since I began TMS. But if that's as bad as it gets, no problem. I'll deal with it.

I want to thank all of you who have been so faithfully following along over the past few months. Your comments have been so kind, thoughtful, and compassionate. I am so very grateful. Thank you. You're readership and interactions with me through this blog have made a huge difference in my life. Huge. It is so helpful to know I am connecting with some of you or even making a difference in somebody's life despite my despair. I really can't explain it well enough. Thank you for reading, and if moved to do so, please keep commenting. You are making a difference, and I appreciate it. Carry on, my friends!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Treatment

I began a new treatment yesterday. At 2:00 PM, Monday through Friday, for the next 6 weeks, I will be receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). I am hopeful it will bring me some relief.

For those of you unfamiliar, as I was until yesterday, TMS works by placing a magnetic coil against my head. The magnetic coil alternates between active electrical pulses for 4 seconds followed by a 26 second pause for a total of 37 minutes. The pulses feel like being hit by a tiny hammer, quickly and heavily. It's uncomfortable but tolerable.

According to a 2012 study of 300 patients who received 4-6 weeks of TMS treatments, 56% reported at least a 50% improvement in their depression symptoms. Fifty six percent is not as high a percentage as I would like, but it's certainly worth a shot. I can't continue to live the way I'm currently living. This illness, at this rate, will kill me. That's just a fact.

I'm continuing to put one foot in front of the other. After two days of hardly being able to move, I was satisfied to be able to run this afternoon. I've been feeling really agitated, so I ran really hard. It felt good, a different kind of pain for 65 minutes. The physical pain of a hard run makes so much more sense to me than the mental anguish of depression; anguish which wasted no time re-enveloping me within minutes of completing my run this afternoon. That just baffled and demoralized me.

This is a baffling illness. I'm so tired and demoralized and confused. I just want to feel better. I need some relief. Hopefully TMS will be the beginning.

Monday, April 10, 2017

No spunk today

One of the comments on my last post complimented me on my spunk. Not today. Today I'm just tired. I've got no energy for spunk. No energy for fight. No capacity to stand up for myself. I'm done with that. I'm tired. I'm tired of the stress. I'm tired of the judgment--mine and others. I'm tired of the mind numbing internal strife. I'm tired of all of it. I'm feeling so, so done. Yet here I sit...attempting to get ready to go to work, to help my patients...patients who have no idea how numb, lost and dead I am. I'll put on the face. I'll get it done. I have no idea how I'll do it, but I've done it before. So I'll do it again. But I'm tired.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fuming and insulted

I ran a long way yesterday, 18 miles to be exact, and at least the first 10 miles were spent fuming about the latest insulting difference between treatment for my illness, depression, versus treatment for just about any other "physical" illness. Too bad I can't type while I'm running, because I composed a whopper of a post during those first ten miles!

Here's what happened. A few days ago it was suggested, since I'm still not well, that perhaps I should attend an intensive outpatient program for people with mental illness. ECT, hospitalizations, med changes, therapy, mom visit...none of those interventions worked to alleviate my symptoms, so this was now the best idea we had. I quickly, and with contained irritation, declined. You see, I completed this very program several years ago. In fact, I've completed several similar outpatient programs over the past 15 years. And while I've learned a couple of things here and there, the majority of these remedial education groups have been more frustrating than productive.

These groups are intended to teach life skills, coping mechanisms, socialization, etc... There are lectures about how to organize our day, how to manage our time, with included blank time management schedules to fill out, and lists of pleasant activities we could tap into when feeling really low. Interestingly, I've never met anyone in any of these groups who was there to deal with their despair over their diagnosis of MS or cancer.

Perhaps it's a fact that people with MS or cancer know how to manage their time. Perhaps they realize eating a piece of chocolate (one of the items on the pleasant activities list) when feeling low would cure all that ails them. But me, a person with depression, a person who managed time well enough to excel through two post-graduate degrees, who holds down a professional job despite feeling like shit, who owns and maintains a home, and who has trained for and run 28 marathons; clearly my time management skills suck. If I could just fill in that blank time schedule and learn to take a bath or eat some chocolate, all would be well. So simple. How could we have missed it all this time. Why did we even bother with the hospital, or ECT, or medication??

But let me tell you the real problem I had with the most recent intensive outpatient program I attended. Instead of a room full of patients with depression, I was surrounded by all sorts of interesting characters, which is not to say I didn't learn from them. For example, I learned more than I cared to know about the best times and places to "score" after each group. I was usually the only sober person in the room. I was puzzled and saddened by the woman who seemed to have a different, fresh, self-inflicted flesh wound everyday, which she made no attempt at hiding. And worst of all, at every opportunity they had, I was forced to listen to snickering "patients" bragging about how they escaped jail or work release simply by attending this group. Yup, I learned a lot, none of it therapeutic.

When I couldn't stand it any longer, I pulled the instructors aside and explained what I was seeing and hearing every time they left the room. I told them I was very uncomfortable with the snickering and bragging. That discussion ended with me being dismissed from the group, as the instructors decided I was inappropriately focused on others rather then on myself. I was the problem. Fine. See you later.

I am a professional, functional, athletic, sober woman with a major mental illness. I have treatment resistant, severe depression. Why, when we run out of ideas we hoped would work, is the next step to send me to a remedial education group? I'm not saying there is no place for groups like this, but at the risk of sounding like a snob, groups like this are not appropriate for everyone. And they are certainly not appropriate just because nothing else has worked.

When the tumor doesn't shrink, or the MS doesn't abate, the next step is never to send the patient to time management training! It's not the cancer patient's fault the tumor didn't shrink. It's not the patient's fault the MS continues to progress. And it's not my fault I still feel like shit! I have depression. Even if I go take a bath with a box full of chocolates, I bet I'll still have depression. It's an illness. Let's deal with it like the illness it is. Please!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Isolation hurts

I've mentioned it more than once. You guys routinely mention it, especially recently. So I guess it's time to talk more about it. It is isolation. Depression. It is so isolating. No matter how open I am about my illness, depression leaves me feeling detached, alone, and different. Whether at home alone, sitting in a room full of patients and coworkers, or participating in a busy, friendly outing or get together, I feel isolated. Isolation is painful.

Unfortunately, my isolation is only increasing with each passing day. The longer this depression episode continues, the more painfully detached I feel. Here's the thing. People, by nature, want to help. But people, by nature, also expect (consciously or unconsciously) to get something positive from their efforts. Despite all of the words of wisdom, the encouragement, and the hugs I've received from friends and professionals, I've had very little positive to offer them in return. I can't tell them I'm better, which I'm sure is frustrating.

If it's frustrating for me, it's got to be frustrating for them. As a result I find myself wanting to reach out to others less and less. The longer this depression episode lasts, the less I want to talk and the less I think my friends, family and even professionals want to hear. It's human nature. When they don't see any changes from their efforts, listening to my woes must become more tiresome and more burdensome. What else can they do? We've done it all. Despite hospitalizations, med changes, ECT treatments, and talk therapy, I continue to feel so, so low it's hard to imagine continuing forward.

This morning the painful isolation really got to me. I had to leave work before I even signed in. I began crying on my drive to the office. I stopped at a friend's house within blocks of my facility. I cried, we talked, and I attempted to pull myself together. Ten minutes later my friend sent me on my way and I soon walked into my office. I was 30 minutes late and feeling fragile, but I thought I could do it. I was wrong. Feeling like an idiot and totally overwhelmed, I sat in my office in despair with tears rolling down my cheeks. My assistant was kind enough to find my supervisor, and with her permission I left.

After a few hours home in bed, I returned to work this afternoon. There were simply too many patients who needed to be seen for me to miss an entire day. Somehow I made it through four hours of patient care. Now I'm home again feeling exhausted and alone. Nothing else has been accomplished today, but nobody wants to hear that. It is what it is. I'd like to sleep a long, dark, quiet sleep. It seems there's nothing else to do. At least I'm out of ideas. I'm tired. I'm alone. And I don't want to talk about it anymore. I just want it, depression, to go away.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

No pancake breakfasts

I'm hesitant to write this post. I don't want to be a complainer. I don't want people to see me as ungrateful or selfish. But there is a reality out there that's moved to the forefront of my mind recently, and I feel the need to talk about it, to educate. I will speak only from my own experience, but unfortunately, I believe my experience is not unusual.

Within the last six months, a colleague of mine was diagnosed with cancer. She is a full time, fully benefited employee who is now back at work after missing a few months for successful treatment. While she was out one of our coworkers began an online crowdfunding campaign in order to decrease the burden of her medical bills and living expenses. It was a wonderful, compassionate gesture, which was embraced by all.

Forty four thousand, nine hundred two dollars and fifty five cents. That's $44,902.55. I'm fortunate. I pay a lot of money every month, over $600.00 to be exact, for insurance to cover most of my medical bills and prescription costs. So this bill sitting in front of me for $44,902.55, which is just for my hospital stays, it does not address any MD charges or the cost of ECT treatments, will largely be covered by my insurance. I'm grateful and relieved. Unfortunately, my relief is short lived, as I currently have no idea how I will continue to pay for the very insurance premiums which will cover that hospital bill.

I have depression. Because I have depression, I am unable to tolerate working full time. Because I work part time, I am not eligible for benefits like health insurance, paid time off, or health savings accounts. I missed 14 days of work without pay while I was ill. I've worked fewer than 40% of my hours for 10 days since. Since February 13th, I've received just under $300.00 in pay. I have a few dollars in savings, but the stress of spending my savings on a daily basis to cover my mortgage, health insurance premiums, vehicle payment, utility bills and groceries has been overwhelming and frightening.

Despite being open about my illness with friends and coworkers, I don't think the financial burden of this illness has crossed anybody's mind. I'm not asking for money. I'm just pointing out yet another naive and unfortunate difference in how mental illness is perceived. Those around us seem to immediately understand how financially stressful a major illness can be, and they move to help. Perhaps those same people don't realize depression is a major illness, too?

I used to say the difference between mental illness and other illnesses was pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners. In my neck of the woods, that's how families, friends and coworkers used to raise funds to assist the sick people in their lives. I guess the difference now is in online crowdfunding campaigns.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Working, running, coughing

It's hard to believe it's been a week since I last wrote here. Sorry about that. It's been an up and down week, disappointing at times and encouraging at others. Unfortunately my mood has not changed much. That's been tough, challenging, and disappointing. To make matters more complicated, I've been sick with a flu-like, upper respiratory illness for the last 4 days, and it's really knocked me flat at times. Nevertheless I have been a bit more active over the past week. That has been encouraging.

I'm getting back into work. I've worked every other day for around 3 hours. Today, I was actually busy for 5.5 hours, which is the most I've worked since getting discharged from the hospital a couple of weeks ago. The low mood combined with the respiratory illness made working that long a little more difficult than I would have liked. That was frustrating, but I think I would have handled it better if I hadn't been sick, too. I'm definitely not back into full form yet, but it is nice to be working a few hours again.

I've also been running a few more miles recently, although I did miss a couple of days entirely due to my illness. I shortened my long run from the scheduled 16 miles to 12 miles on Sunday, but even 12 was probably a couple of miles too far. I took Monday off to recover and came back Tuesday with a surprisingly good 9 miler. I planned to run today, but the combination of longer than planned work hours, cruddy lungs, and rain convinced me to nap instead. I sure hope to get past this upper respiratory illness soon. It was tough enough motivating to run when just combating my low mood. I really didn't need another obstacle.

Like I said, I'm disappointed my mood is still quite low. My mom has been here with me for two weeks, but she's on her way home tomorrow. It's been nice having her here, but I am looking forward to having my tiny house back to myself. My mom has cooked up a storm and filled my freezer with good food while she's been here. I'm not sure what to expect from my mood once she leaves. I do know one thing, though, I won't have to worry about cooking. I'm grateful my mom was willing and able to come stay with me. Hopefully, I'll continue to feel and function better and better after she leaves.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Validation vs Invalidation

Perhaps I'm being too sensitive. Perhaps I'm reading too much into innocuous words and statements. I don't know. You tell me. Over the last couple of weeks I've had doctors, nurses, therapists, friends and coworkers ask questions of me which I have found offensive and invalidating. Each time I responded kindly in the moment, but the questions stuck with me and later led to negative feelings. I found myself mulling them over and wondering, "Would that question have been posed if I had breast cancer?" And I think the answer is no.

Within just the last couple of days, after I detailed how severe this recent depression episode has been, how isolated and detached I've been feeling, and how extremely low my mood has been, a few of the immediate comments were, "Are you working?" "Are you running?" "What fun things are you doing for yourself?" The implication, I believe, is clear. Are these people not implying that I'd feel better if I was working, running, getting out of the house, doing something fun, etc...? In other words, my low mood is at least partly my own doing.

Am I wrong to find these questions and comments offensive and invalidating? I don't think the people who posed these questions did so to overtly blame me for my symptoms, but I do think these types of statements are another manifestation of the stigma surrounding mental illness. The inability to work, exercise, socialize or find fun in normal activities aren't seen as symptoms of my illness but rather as character defects. If I just did this, that, or the other, I'd feel better. But not being able to do this, that, or the other is the result of my illness, not the cause of it!

If I told you I was having low energy, found it difficult to get out of my house, and/or wasn't socializing because of my breast cancer symptoms, would you ask the same questions? I don't think so. I think the more immediate response would be something along the lines of, "I'm sorry things are so hard right now," or "I wish you felt better," and/or "What can I do to help?" These comments and questions validate the person's experience rather than question it or try to fix it.

This severe and lengthy depression episode has me feeling tired and battle weary, so perhaps I'm being too sensitive. But I've felt invalidated over and over again, even by professionals who should know better, during the past couple of weeks. If curing depression was as simple as getting out of the house and going for a run, I certainly wouldn't struggle with depression! I don't think people realize how invalidating these comments and questions are. Am I right?

If I am right, I'm not sure what to do about it. I usually don't have the awareness or energy in the moment to politely educate the offending person. And educating someone after the fact is rarely helpful or effective. But I'm tired of feeling as if I'm somehow to blame for what's happening to me. Depression is to blame, and I don't have depression because I'm lazy, or antisocial, or uneducated. My brain is sick. That's why I have depression. I'm no different than the person with a sick pancreas who has diabetes. We both have biological, treatable illnesses. Why can't people get that?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Despair

I'm still struggling. My mood remains very low. I attended my 12-step meeting yesterday morning, but I ended up feeling alone in a crowd. I hate that feeling. It's so painful. I began to cry and couldn't stop, so I left early. Sitting in my vehicle after I left I cried for a long, long time. I felt utter despair.

That despair was just a continuation of the despair I communicated to my friend, Wendy, via text message, as I laid in bed late the previous night. In that message, I communicated feeling as if I was in solitary confinement. Depression, I think, creates this feeling of alone-ness. Whether lying alone in bed or sitting in the midst of a room full of boisterous people, the isolation I feel right now is excruciating.

Utter despair combined with utter isolation, it's easy to see how depression can kill. Suicide is not a topic I broach very often in this blog. It's not an option. Yet it's easy, at times like these, to contemplate the meaning behind this pain and isolation. I admit, in my despair my brain gravitates toward thoughts of life and death. And I believe I have a greater understanding of why some with depression find it difficult, in the midst of this despair, to justify staying alive.

This is a cruel illness. I know I've gained perspective and opportunity as a result of battling depression, but at this moment in time, it's pretty tough to feel anything but cruelty and despair. I'm doing my best, dear readers, to hang on tight, to put one foot in front of the other, and to take the next right action. It would be easier to stop, but forward is the only way to go.

Moving forward is difficult, and I wish the path was clearer, but I guess this is my path right now. I don't have to like it, and I don't, but I'll keep doing my best to walk through it. It will get better. It always does. It feels impossible, but I have to remember that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pain

Despite returning to work for two short days, and despite getting back on the road to run a couple of times, I'm struggling. I'm having a really difficult time accepting just how low I'm feeling. I am so, so low, I hurt. I physically hurt. I woke up twice last night in physical pain, but there's nothing physically wrong with me right now. I'm just that low. My depression is now manifesting itself in physical pain. I can hardly stand it.

The physical pain is new. I don't recall my depression ever manifesting that way before. I'm tearful, too. Tears, also, are not my normal. But I've been having a difficult time holding them back lately. I'm crying a lot. This episode does not seem to be letting up at all. I'm not sure what else I can do. And doing anything is getting more and more difficult as my energy and motivation are in the toilet. I'm feeling crushed and overwhelmed.

I did make one decision this morning. I called my mother. She lives in another state. I asked her to come visit, to stay with me for awhile. I'm sure she was shocked I asked. She knows things must be pretty rough if I'm to the point of asking her for help. She agreed to come. She's going to arrive tomorrow night and stay for two weeks. She'll probably drive me nuts at some point, but I'm going to be my most patient self because I do need the help. I'm relieved she's coming.

I'm most relieved because I think her being here will take some pressure off my friends. I'm feeling really guilty. I'm worried my friends are getting worn out and I'm becoming a burden. I don't want to be a burden. I like my friendships to be equal parts give and take, but I'm worried I don't have a lot to give right now. I find myself pulling back from friends more and more, which is exactly the opposite of what I need, but like I said, I don't want to be a burdensome friend. It's yet one more difficulty of having such a low mood.

Depression sucks. I'm tired and worn out. I'm tearful and in pain. Basic, everyday functioning is slow and difficult. I'm running out of ideas. I don't know what else to do. This illness is pulling me toward stopping and giving up. It's kicking me when I'm down, and there's not a whole hell of a lot I can do about it. I'm getting kicked. Thoughts and prayers greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Home Again

I'm officially home again. I left the hospital around 10:00 this morning. Fortunately, my house was still intact and standing. It's still a bit strange being home, though. The house feels empty even with Jet and I in place. I need groceries and gas, but I have no funds to spend. I'm hoping to head back to work for at least half a day on Monday. I need to get the funds flowing again.

I'm looking forward to settling back into my routine at home. I'm looking forward to buying groceries and paying the bills. I'm really looking forward to getting back to my regular running and exercise routine. Jet and I ran 5 miles this afternoon. That was my first run in more than one week. I hate when I take time away like that. It's always so tough starting up again, but I just had no desire to run on a treadmill in the hospital. My next race isn't until Memorial Day weekend, so I should be okay despite my time off.

I'm a little anxious about being home. I think I'm feeling better. I think I'm on the mend. I'm hoping everything goes smoothly as I return to work and my normal routine. Ultimately, I'll just have to wait and see. So far, I'm happy to be home. I'm happy to be reunited with Jet. And I think I'll be really happy to sleep in my own bed tonight!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Progress

I am nearing the end of my second hospital stay. My mood is improving. It's not perfect, but it is better than it was. The current plan is for one more ECT treatment on Friday, and then I will go home Saturday. I miss Jet so, so much! I can't wait to see him and to get back into our routine.

I am especially looking forward to getting outside and at least walking, hopefully running, with Jet. Despite the fact that there are two treadmills and a stationary bike on this unit, I have not been able to motivate to do more than 10 minutes of biking, once. I have no desire to do any more than that. I need to get back outside.

I know I'm going to be disappointed in how much fitness I have certainly lost over the last 2-3 weeks. Hopefully, it won't take too terribly long to regain what I've let go. I've already decided I won't be running the Oklahoma City Marathon in late April, which I had tentatively entered into my schedule a few weeks ago. The next marathon on the list will now be Memorial Day weekend.

I'm anxious to get back to work, too. I spoke with my boss today, and despite an e-mail from my company to the contrary, she assured me they were not looking to replace me. That was a relief, although it was still a little baffling and concerning that my company was advertising my position. I know I shouldn't rush back to work, but financially speaking I really have no choice. I need to restart the income as soon as possible. I hope I'm ready to go when I leave here.

Thank you all, again, for your wonderfully supportive and encouraging comments during this difficult time. I am so lucky to have an audience with each of you, my loyal readers. I don't take that for granted. I'll never be able to balance the scales, but I'll do my best to offer each of you just a sliver of the hope you offer me. Carry on, my friends!

Monday, March 6, 2017

still so low

It's hard to imagine feeling much lower than I do right now. I just survived the longest weekend I've endured in quite some time, and today didn't get much better. I don't know how otherwise to explain it. I'm just low. I'm tearful, tired, and unmotivated. I can't shake my lethargy and gloom.

I'm not sure being cooped up in the hospital is helping, as I think I'd at least be able to get out for a short walk if I was home. But all my friends and my doctor think the hospital is where I need to be right now. They're probably right. I don't like it, but it's safe.

I tried biking gently last night, but I only survived 15 minutes. My energy is as low as my mood. I began a new medication last night which is intended to augment the ECT. I hope it works. I'm not sure how much deeper I can sink. I'm getting nervous.

I'm getting anxious about how long this depression relapse is going to last. I'm worried about my job, especially. I don't know that my current position is at all guaranteed. Being a non-benefited employee, I don't believe my employer is under any obligation to hold my position. I know they are scrambling to find someone to fulfill my duties. Hopefully, I'll have a job to return to when I start feeling better.

I feel awful about leaving my coworkers short-handed and scrambling. I work in rural communities, and it's difficult to find coverage. I called my boss to check in today, but she wasn't available, and she never returned my call. I'm not sure that's a good sign!

Of course, everyday I miss work is another day of missed earnings. That's beginning to get more and more stressful, too. I'm really not sure how I'm going to pay my bills. I had hoped to be feeling better and back to earning a living by now. Instead, it looks like it will be quite some time before I collect another paycheck.

And there you have it... my many tales of woe. This is a tough one. I pray something changes soon. I would give my right arm to feel just a tiny bit of improvement. I appreciate your prayers and words of encouragement. I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other as best I can.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Back inside

I readmitted myself to the hospital last night. I'm disappointed beyond belief to be back here, to need to be back here, but it's what I needed to do. I was having trouble with the basics of taking care of myself, and people around me were getting worried. So here I am. Bored. Lethargic. And tired. But safe.

I don't know how long I'll stay inpatient. I don't yet have a plan other than I will continue with ECT on Monday. This has been a tough episode. Seems like it's got to start changing course soon. I don't want to be here too long. I'd really like to get back to running, and I already miss Jet. But none of that will matter if I don't start feeling better soon.

Thank you all so much for your supportive comments over these last several days. Your thoughts and words really do make a difference. Thank you for taking the time to share.

Friday, March 3, 2017

It just hurts

For as long as I've had depression, that's 16+ years, this illness still has the power to amaze. I can't imagine hurting much more than I hurt right now. I can't imagine suffering more hopelessness, emptiness, desperation or despair. I'm barely muddling through each day with a foggy brain and sluggish body. Everyday tasks are now monumental chores. I feel isolated and alone. My world is awash in shades of gray. Gray is hard. Gray is unforgiving. Gray hurts.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

so low

I just returned home from my second outpatient ECT treatment. I was struggling with sadness and feeling low prior to the treatment, but now my sadness is overwhelming. I feel as if someone has died, and I believe that someone is me. I've died. I feel dead. I'm overwhelmed with hopelessness, sadness and confusion. I can't make sense of the world anymore. Why would God want someone to suffer so? What is the meaning behind these incredible feelings? Why? Why? Why?

Why is not a question I normally pose. But I guess my desperation is showing through. When I try to move I feel as if I'm wading through quick sand. When I attempt to think I feel as if the gears are gummed up and sticky. Visually, lines that should be thin are thick, surfaces that should be smooth are rough. Everything is slow. Everything is slow.

I am so low sitting here hurts. I'm having trouble piecing my thoughts together. I don't understand what's happening. There is a vacancy within which won't let me go. And I just want it to quit.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Home, but...

Warning: this post contains whining and complaint. I returned home from the hospital yesterday. I had plenty to do. We had a huge snow storm while I was an inpatient. It took me almost 2 hours to snow blow the 12-16 inches of snow out of my driveway and off my sidewalks. All the while Jet had a blast exploring his new, deeply filled yard. He's always good for a chuckle. Unfortunately, that was about the full extent of my chuckling for the day.

I've kept busy since returning home, but I'm struggling. I was feeling incredibly cooped up and restless in the hospital. I had to get out of there, and truthfully I felt ready to come home. After snow blowing, I attempted a run with Jet. That was a lesson in frustration. It always amazes me how quickly I lose fitness. Despite doing some walking, yoga, sit ups, push ups, and biking while in the hospital, I felt as if I hadn't run for months. It was discouraging, as I was really hitting my stride, running hard and fast, prior to hospitalization.

Things got worse last night. This damn illness has me over a barrel. Life, it seems, has been sucked from within. I'm tired. I'm tired of the struggle. I'm tired of the fight. I'm in that empty, painful place those of you with depression will recognize instantly. Like a leaden cloak this amorphous, nebulous illness confines and oppresses me. There is no clear way out.

Shifting and heavy and impossible to shake, I am cloaked in deplorable darkness. It is a darkness pulling at me, willing me to quit. It is despicable and dense. I am trapped without fight. I have no pithy, positive spin today. I am hurting, and tired, and feel like giving up. And that's all I've got.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ECT Update

I'm encouraged today. After only two ECT treatments, my mood and thinking have both improved. I have another treatment scheduled for tomorrow, and I'm hoping to discharge home Saturday. I'm already really antsy to get out of here. I miss Jet. I miss running. I miss my living room. After returning home, I'll likely have 2-3 outpatient ECT treatments next week, which will put me back at work the following Monday.

I'm anxious to get back to work as well. With no time off benefits, I'm not sure how I'm going to pay my bills in a couple of weeks, as there is absolutely no money coming in right now. As I was explaining to one of the nurses last night; I don't receive any employment benefits because I don't work full time, and I don't work full time because my depression worsens every time I increase my hours, and I need to work full time in order to receive benefits for the times when my depression worsens and takes me out of work. It's a vicious cycle I've been stuck in for years.

That cycle is not going to change in the next couple of days, however, so I'm trying to have faith things will work out as they should. What else can I do? I'm grateful and relieved to be feeling a little better. I'm glad to be nearing the end of my stay here. This is a healing place, but I miss my home.

Monday, February 20, 2017

An odyssey

Long story short, I'm in the hospital. Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple. Getting here was quite an odyssey. By Friday evening it became apparent things weren't getting better, only worse. I had just missed my third day in a row of work. I tried to run but failed miserably, and my thoughts were dark, dark, dark. After some convincing a close friend brought me to my local emergency room. The ER docs wanted to admit me to the hospital, but all of the psych beds were occupied. I spent the night in the emergency room while the doctors decided the best course of action.

The course of action which was recommended, and which I found completely unappealing, was a transfer via ambulance to another pysch unit 40 minutes away. The doctor assured me I would spend the night there and transfer back to my local facility as soon as a bed became available the following day. So I went.

Perhaps I'm spoiled. My local psych unit is a healing place with very caring nursing staff and humane, not punitive, rules. It is a place where effective treatment occurs. The unit I was transferred to felt more like a prison, and I was one of the prisoners.

After my unnecessary ambulance ride I arrived at the small, unfamiliar facility Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival I was asked to remove all of my clothing and was given green scrubs to wear instead. It turns out all of the patients are required to wear green scrubs in this unit. For what possible reason I still cannot fathom. Feeling like a prisoner had begun.

The feeling was not short lived. After being shown to my room, a nurse came in with my empty backpack and purse in one hand and piles of my belongings in the other. I couldn't believe the staff had gone through all of my clothing, money, and belongings in my absence! Again, maybe I've been spoiled, but my local facility wouldn't think of checking through my belongings without me present, especially my wallet, money and credit cards! I was horrified.

I was too tired and low to put up a fuss. I spent the rest of Saturday crying and sleeping. I couldn't wait to see the doctor Sunday morning in order to initiate the transfer back to my local facility. Unfortunately, the doctor who visited with me Sunday morning claimed to know nothing of such a plan. It wasn't in any of the notes or orders, she said, and besides my local psych unit was full. She seemed a little too pleased to inform me I would be staying with them for at least the next several days. I was angry, and disconsolate, and powerless to do anything about it.

I don't know what happened but a few hours later the same doctor returned and said she "found" my local doctor's note, but I was still going to have to stay because there were at least 3 other patients waiting for beds ahead of me. Again, I'm not sure what changed, but just a few hours later, I was transferred, via ambulance, from my little prison back to my local facility.

This morning I began ECT. It was a tough day, as the treatment left me with a wicked headache, but I'm now feeling better and settling in. I'm grateful to have access to such professional, compassionate care here. I'll certainly never take it for granted again.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tired of talking

I don't want to talk about it anymore. Talking is becoming more harmful than good.

I sent a note to my psychiatrist yesterday, a note which included the deplorable thoughts running through my fucked up brain. It scared her. And now I feel bad. I didn't mean to scare her. That was not at all my intent! But I guess my thoughts are scary. I guess living with these deplorable thoughts desensitizes me to how despicable and abnormal they actually are. Rereading what I wrote today, it makes sense to me that she may have been alarmed, but I didn't mean to alarm her. I am not a fan of crying wolf. That's not my style. I was just trying to get the thoughts out of my head. She's read and heard many of my violent, deplorable thoughts before. I'm embarrassed to say it never crossed my mind these particular thoughts would alarm her so. But they did. And now I feel so bad. So sorry. And so worried I will lose this safe haven for my monstrous thoughts. Monstrous thoughts in my head are infinitely more powerful than monstrous thoughts written and read.

Phone calls and text messages this morning are annoying me. Am I okay? No. I'm not. But I don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't want to scare you, alarm you, or force you to run the other way. I don't want the police summoned. I don't need an ambulance. I need something, yes, but I don't want any of it right now. I want to scream, "Leave me alone!" But I also know alone is no good either. Now I'm afraid. But I'm less afraid of the thoughts with which my brain is bombarding me than I am of communicating those thoughts aloud to you.

Where does that leave me?
Annoyed. Scared. And tired of talking. That's where.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Outside vs Inside

I worked yesterday. It was a good day. And that's why it was strange from the moment I walked through the door. I watched with fascination as I interacted cheerfully and effortlessly with my coworkers. I marveled at how professionally I treated my patients, all the while smiling and joking. I was efficient and completed all my tasks despite my exhaustion during my 8 1/2 hour day. Who was that physical therapist? Certainly that couldn't have been me. But it was.

One day later, as I struggle with intrusive thoughts and low mood, I continue to be confused by yesterday's performance. The dichotomy between how I looked on the outside and how I felt on the inside was striking. Amazing, really. And it doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense to me in the moment yesterday, and it still doesn't make sense today. I don't get it.

I guess I'm glad I was able to pull it off. My convincing performance allowed me to perform my duties, earn money, and be a contributing member of our team. But here's the really strange part. I wasn't faking. I didn't feel like I was working hard to put on a "good face." The good face just was. I felt empty and low internally, but there was no sign of it externally. How is that possible?

When I got home after work my mood plummeted quickly. It wasn't until that point when my outside matched my inside. It was a long night. And it's been a long day. I can't stop wondering about the weirdness of yesterday. Like I said, I'm glad I was able to work, but I don't feel good about how strikingly my outside appearance differed from how I felt internally. It's disconcerting, confusing and weird. I guess I wish I felt the way I appeared. But I don't.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

just words

hopeless.
that's too easy.

purposeless
pointless
meaningless and
futile.
maybe better descriptors.
maybe.

despairing
dispirited
demoralized and
disconsolate.

heavy
mechanical and
burdened.

just words
lots of words,
but none worthy
of the experience.

depression.
it's more than words.

words don't work.
i wish they did.

depression.
so cliche,
but if you've not been
you cannot know.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Irony

I believe this is what they call irony. In my last post I reflected on my good mood despite some intrusive thoughts. Just prior to that I wrote about gratitude, specifically my gratitude for a very long streak of feeling well. After all, I'm coming up on two years since my last significant depression relapse. Until...

Last week's annoying, intrusive thoughts made way for more frequent and more scary intrusive thoughts. By Thursday the thoughts were interfering with my functioning. By Saturday they were paralyzing, and they dragged my mood into the gutter. Today I find myself marveling at the speed with which things can change. What happened?

For two days, I did little to nothing at all. Sleep was the only thing that relieved my misery. Yesterday, I asked a friend to sit with me for a bit, and her visit helped get me out the door for a run. It was an ugly, painful slog, but at least I was outside. This morning a friend met me at the gym for a 45 minute class. I took the class, and I'm thankful I did, but since then more sleep.

I'm hurting right now. Everything looks dark and bleak, but I know that's the depression having its way. I feel rudderless, purposeless, robotic, and hopeless. It's amazing how quickly things changed. This illness continues to surprise me. I'm hoping and praying this is a short blip in my long streak of feeling well. And I'm praying this is as low as I go.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Those thoughts

Intrusive thoughts. I've written about them here before. They are strange, usually violent, often scary, sometimes shocking thoughts which occupy space in my brain out of the blue. These thoughts are a symptom of my depression and usually occur when my mood is low and things aren't going so hot. But my mood is good right now. Nevertheless, I've been having intrusive thoughts for the last 48 hours. It's been a little disconcerting.

When the thoughts began I, of course, tried to figure out what was going on. I was having random suicidal thoughts, but I'm not suicidal. It was very strange. I spent a day trying to ignore the thoughts, carry on with my routine, and at the same time figure out why I was having the thoughts. One possibility finally came through.

Today is an anniversary, of sorts. On January 30th, 1985, at the age of 17, I attempted to end my life. It was a serious suicide attempt; the culmination of a 2+ year battle with severe, debilitating depression. Thankfully, despite months of planning, I didn't succeed in ending my life. In fact, the suicide attempt actually led to me finally getting the help I so desperately needed. After being released from the hospital I was sent to an adolescent mental health unit for 2 months. My journey to healing began there.

Perhaps the recent intrusive suicidal thoughts were meant to remind me of this 32 year old life event. But for what purpose? January 30th, 1985, is not a date I wish to forget, nor is it a date I go out of my way to remember. Sometimes I've remembered this anniversary. Sometimes I haven't. I guess this year was my time to remember.

Remembering January 30th; it's a day which reminds me of an extremely painful, lonely time in my life. But when I reflect upon this anniversary, I'm also reminded things got better. I got better. Eventually I healed, and I went on to live my life. I think that's where I'll keep my focus today. Living. Life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Obligated

Today is one of those days I feel like I should write here. It's been almost a week since I last wrote, and I feel an obligation to update my blog. Unfortunately, I don't have much to say.

Things are going well. I'm working, running, and taking care of my house, although that's still last on my priority list. There's nothing new or interesting to say, which doesn't make for compelling reading. I'm sorry about that. But I guess this is part of living with depression, too. Normalcy. My symptoms remain at bay. I'm not too high nor too low. I'm okay. I'm living.

This is what I mean when I say I'm living with, rather than suffering from depression. I still have depression, but it doesn't have me. I know it's there, but depression is not controlling my life right now. I am. And I'm grateful for that.

I realize I'm in the midst of a lengthy streak of feeling okay. When I have these streaks of wellness, I sometimes feel bad when it comes to this blog. I worry I don't have much to offer you, my readers. But maybe continuing to live well, feel well, and move forward is actually helpful, too? I don't know. But that's all I've got today. I'm well. I'm just well.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Adventure Obsession

My bucket list has been calling. After crossing off skydiving this past Fall, I've been thinking about my next adventure. Over the past 2 to 3 weeks I've been spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing over two of the destinations on my bucket list. I've been spending hours upon hours drooling over various adventures to both Antarctica and Mount Everest base camp. Both places have fascinated me for years.

Ironically, I could run a marathon in each location, which is how my recent obsessive research began. After the New York City Marathon I was perusing a marathon website when I came across the Antarctica Marathon. I watched a video. That did it. I was on board. It's more than just going and running a marathon, though. It's a two week journey which includes hiking, kayaking, and close encounters with penguins. It looks amazing! They are currently booked through 2019, which is fine, as it will certainly take me at least that long to save the funds.

I'd actually really like to work on Antarctica for a season. Many years ago, I met a woman who worked down there twice, including one entire year, and she had nothing but positive things to say about the experience. I've been researching how to get hired, but there are no positions for physical therapists (too bad), and I've yet to find anything else for which I am qualified. Even the dishwasher positions require a food service certification. I guess I should have been a researcher or marine biologist! I haven't given up searching, yet, though.

As for Mount Everest, I've been fascinated with the top of the world since Jon Krakauer wrote about the ill-fated 1996 expedition for Outside Magazine. His article later became the book, Into Thin Air, and then became the basis for the movie, Everest. I'm pretty sure I've read every Everest book, seen every documentary and television series, attended every lecture within 100 miles, and even met some of the characters from the 1996 expedition. I can't wait until I can walk in the shadow of that mountain and briefly live among the people of Nepal.

The Everest trek I'm looking into is much less expensive than going to Antarctica, but it will still require years of saving. I think I'll skip the marathon option in Nepal, as I don't think running a race which begins above 19,000 feet makes much sense for someone living in the flat, farming land of Minnesota. Nevertheless, I will make it there, on foot, someday.

Having these adventures to look forward to keeps me going. It keeps me motivated. Many people say they're going to do this or going to do that, but they never do it. I don't want to be one of those people. I'm not wealthy, but that doesn't mean I can't go where I wish to go. If I don't have the dream, I'll never have the reality. Besides, the dream is half the fun! And meeting the goal will make me ecstatic!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Heavy heart

Today I write with a heavy heart. One of my high school classmates had a heart attack last week. He was on a treadmill in his employer's fitness center when he collapsed. Heroic efforts from two coworkers restarted his heart before he was transported to the hospital. Unfortunately, what seemed like a hopeful outcome early turned into a grim reality later. Tough decisions had to be made. And yesterday, shortly after he was removed from life support, John passed away peacefully. Though my heart is heavy, I am grateful John's family made the decision to donate his organs. I think that's exactly what he would have wanted.

I watched the journey of John's final days from afar via Caring Bridge and Facebook. It was sad and heart wrenching. Although I hadn't seen him since college, John was one of my group of high school friends. He was a nice, kindhearted teenager. And apparently, he grew up to be a nice, hard working, kindhearted guy. His Caring Bridge site was lovingly updated by his girlfriend, who he planned to marry, and with whom he was about to build a home to house their blended family. She wrote about it all, as she struggled to comprehend this traumatic event.

His girlfriend's post detailing their future plans was especially poignant. I frequently write about living in the moment. It's something I believe in strongly. I'm not perfect at it, but it's always the goal. John's girlfriend ended her future plans post with an admonishment to all. Do it today, she said, as you never know what tomorrow will bring. Amen.

As I ran 12.5 miles with Jet yesterday, John was in my thoughts almost every step. The shock, trauma and grief expressed by those close to him was all too familiar. Those feelings...I've been there.

Thirty four years ago, my 14-year-old stepsister (I was 15) went for a bike ride after dinner. Within hours my father and stepmother were in the very same hospital as John, faced with the very same decisions John's family had to make. In a freak accident, my stepsister was hit by a large truck. She was in nearly perfect condition, except for her head. She died, after being removed from life support, the next day. All of her organs and countless tissues were donated.

John's funeral service will be this Friday, January 20th. My stepsister, Pam, had she survived, would be turning 48 years old this Friday, January 20th. So many similarities to John's story; the shock and grief of sudden loss, the decision to remove life support, the organ donation, and finally the timing of his funeral on her birthday, have me in a very reflective mood. Joyful moments, long forgotten, have come roaring back.

I am remembering both Pam and John today. I am reflecting on how my life changed direction after I dealt (somewhat poorly) with Pam's sudden death. From his girlfriend's writing, it is clear her life will dramatically turn as a result of John's death. So many plans unrealized, yet life moves on. I remember how strange that felt in the moment. As my life moves on, in honor of both Pam and John, today I recommit to continue living right now. I know life offers no guarantees. I need to remember to say it now, do it now, and be what I want to be...now.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I hate being sick!

My coworker awoke Monday morning with a sore throat, muscle aches, and congestion. She came to work for a couple of hours, which is exactly what I would have done because we are so, so busy, but she did go home before lunch. Apparently that was too late. I'm sick. And I hate being sick!

I felt it coming on as I was leaving work yesterday. Now I have a sore throat, muscle aches and congestion, too. My coworker, who never misses a day, has been out of work 3 days in a row. But unlike my coworker, who as a full time employee has benefits like sick time, I can't afford to miss 3 days of work. As a part time employee, I do not have the same benefits. So besides feeling awful, I'm stressed about the potential of missed income.

I'm pretty sure getting stressed about something that may happen won't help me feel any better today. So I'm trying to focus on the things I can actually control in the here and now. I have cancelled all of my scheduled appointments and activities for the day. I started taking a zinc-based product, which in the past has helped me avoid serious illness, but right now I feel like crud.

I don't like feeling like crud because it feels too similar to some of my depression symptoms, and that makes me nervous. That's another reason to really try to take care of this today. In the past I have had episodes of depression arise out of physical illness, and the longer the physical illness lasts, the more likely the depression.

It seems everything which occurs in my life comes back to depression, either avoiding it or treating it. I wonder if that's similar for people with other chronic illnesses, like diabetes or MS? Hmm...interesting question. Anyway, that's all I have for now. I don't want to, but I better crawl back into bed. I've been up for a couple of hours, and I'm already exhausted. Damn.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lazy, but good

Despite continued laziness at home, which I'm still letting go rather than worrying about, I had a good week this week. Work went well. We are still incredibly busy, and we have some challenging patients on our caseload, but we also have some delightful, interesting patients, too. I work with good people. We work hard, keep the needs of our patients first, enjoy our patients and each other, and laugh quite a bit. I feel lucky to work with such good people. It certainly makes going in to work on these very busy days a lot easier.

It's been cold and icy this week, so running has been a bit of a challenge. It didn't even make it above 0 degrees Fahrenheit around here for several days. Making things worse, it rained right before the temperature dropped, so all roads, sidewalks and trails are still covered in ice. I hate the dreadmill, but I was forced to run inside twice this week.

Jet and I just came in from an icy run. It was 2 degrees with a brisk wind, and the footing was often treacherous, but I was happy to be outside. Worried about Jet's feet, I brought him home halfway through my 10-miler. We tried to run outside yesterday, which was a few degrees colder with an even stronger wind, but when Jet got cold feet I cut it short and finished my run at the gym. Despite the challenging conditions, I managed to run 4 days for a total of 35+ miles. I'm happy with that.

The highlight of my week was picking up my 11 year sobriety medallion. Although my anniversary was December 28th, I didn't have the opportunity to get to my meeting and pick up my medallion until Tuesday. It's important for me to pick up my medallion, as it allows me both to be an example for the newly sober alcoholic and to thank the others in the room (i.e. everyone) who have helped me along the way. I couldn't get sober alone. It took a village. I'm grateful to have found my village.

I'm also grateful my mood is good, my house is warm, my Achilles allows me to run, and my coworkers are fun professionals. Things could be worse. I've got nothing to complain about today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tired or lazy?

I've got a bit of a conundrum. I'm feeling really lazy and unmotivated to do anything...except work and run. And if I didn't have to work, that list might be reduced to just running. My motivation for everything else, the basics of everyday life like errands, chores, eating, and socializing, has completely vanished. At least I'm running, I guess.

When I returned from Little Rock the week before Christmas I wasn't motivated to do anything. I chalked it up to fatigue from the combination of running a marathon and 24+ hours of driving in dicey weather. Of course I returned to work right away, but it took almost one week to get back to running. Since Christmas I've been running well and working when scheduled, but otherwise... nothing.

When I'm not working or running, I'm quite sedentary. I don't want to do anything. In fact, I barely want to move. It's a little weird. My mood seems good. Work is fun and fulfilling. And I'm pleased with my running, both the miles I'm accumulating and the pace at which I'm running them. Maybe when the college football bowl season comes to an end, and I have less reason to sit on my butt in front of the television every single day, my motivation to take care of myself and my house will return. I don't know. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

It would be nice to get my motivation for day to day life back. As it is, I'm forcing myself to do the bare minimum to get from one day to the next. I'm eating a lot of take out, cereal and PB & J. That's made it easier to keep up with the few dishes I've dirtied. I finally did my laundry because I ran out of work clothes. But my floors, bathroom, and empty cabinets definitely need attention. I keep telling myself I need to vacuum, clean, and go shopping, but I don't. I nap, watch TV, or go to bed instead.

I guess I'm tired? Or lazy? Or is this a sign my mood is about to take a dip? Like I said, it's weird. I have enough energy at work. I have enough motivation and energy to run, even on a really cold day like today, but I just can't seem to care about anything else. I'm a little concerned, but I'm more perplexed and annoyed than anything else. I guess I should stop trying to figure it out. It will pass, just as everything does. I have to remember that. Until it does, well, perhaps I'll take a nap.



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