Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 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!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


So, I had my second hip surgery 15 months ago. As a result, I just reached a goal of swimming one mile without stopping. Took me about 8 weeks to get there. Started at zero. I could swim, but I couldn't swim laps. One or two lengths of the pool and I was sucking air big time!! I hated it! But my hip wasn't strong enough to allow me to run like I wanted, and with the depression weight gain I was motivated to get fit! So, although I couldn't believe it, I swam one mile 3 times within the last 7 days! Meeting a goal feels so good! Having a goal felt good...
It was nice to have a concrete goal with a concrete training plan again. I had tried a concrete training plan last summer with the goal of running a qualifying time at the Twin Cities Marathon. Soon, the combination of an extra 15-20 pounds and my apparently still-too-weak hip derailed that goal. I was slow. Running was hard, really hard. It was so hard, I was sure there was something seriously wrong, like a heart or lung problem. I just couldn't go.
I changed the goal to just finishing the TCM, but by late July I was injured and done. I didn't figure it out at the time, but now I realize my hip weakness caused achilles and patellar tendonitis. Being a runner, I tried at first to run through the pain. Being a PT, I then tried to treat the pain. Being a person with depression, I continually tried not to succumb to anxiety, disappointment, and hopelessness.
Goals are tricky things when you have depression. The evil depression constantly bombards my brain with condemnation. "You are worthless! You are stupid! You are slow! You will never be the person you used to be! This is it. This is how you are going to be the rest of your life! What a hopeless waste, you are!" (insert evil laughter here)
The audacity it takes to strive for a goal you may FAIL to achieve is enormous! Yep, goals are tricky with depression. With my illness constantly corrupting my thoughts, setting goals is often terrifying. If I fail to meet or exceed those goals all of the nastiness screaming in my head is instantaneously reinforced. And once those thoughts are "proven" to be "real," they stop being thoughts and become me. My depression loves when that happens. It gets what it was craving, and it is satiated by my desperation. Depression wins.
So swimming 1 mile when I previously couldn't swim 1 lap...that was a big deal. This time, Etta wins.


Anonymous said...

I also suffer from depression and am contemplating running a half-marathon...that's how I found your blog. I totally agree with you about depression making it difficult to achieve goals..even set goals...I used to be such a goal oriented person...I could achieve anything I set my mind to..but now I can't do something assimple as brush my teeth two times a day without forcing myself to. It sucks! But there is light at the end of the tunnel...I can feel some improvement already.
Keep going ! You can do it!

etta said...

Yup, I gave up on showering daily and brushing my teeth twice a day a long time ago! Doesn't sound pretty, but my teeth are still white, and I don't think I stink. Energy is so precious, I need to dole it out judiciously. Know what I mean?
Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you found me.