Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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, June 26, 2008

cancer, suicide, and my trivial thoughts...

You know, I'm 40 years old, and this is the first time in my life I have been this close to cancer. I guess I've been lucky. I've had friends with parents, siblings, or others in their lives who have had cancer. Every time I work I treat patients with often debilitating cancer or long histories of living with cancer. And I've known plenty of people who have had pre-cancerous or cancerous skin lesions removed, but I've not ever had a friend or family member diagnosed. I never thought about this before today. Never had reason to think about it until learning that my friend will die from her cancer--maybe months, hopefully years--but it will take her nonetheless. I've been lucky not to have been this close before.

I had the unfortunate opportunity to think about another irony today. An hour prior to learning of my friend's cancer, I learned that a colleague's nephew killed himself yesterday afternoon. Despite my family history of mental illness, my former career in mental health, and my own battle with depression; I have not had to directly endure the trauma of suicide. A former college professor and counselor of mine did commit suicide, but I had long since graduated and knew nothing of her plight until many months after she had died. I was spared the horror my co-worker is presently experiencing. Again I've been fortunate, and I'm grateful for that.
Side note: Now that I am thinking about it, my former professor's battle with depression apparently began after she had surgery for brain cancer.

My thoughts in comparison to these two events are trivial, and I am a bit embarrassed to even write them down. I did not want this post to be about me. The last thing either of my stricken friends would care about tonight are my ironies. Nonetheless, today I was struck by the shock of these coinciding events and by my unfamiliarity with each of them. I wish I was doing a better job of explaining my feelings, trivial though they may be. I guess that's why I started to write this come to some understanding of what it is I am feeling. Shocked. Sad. Unsure.
I am feeling shocked, sad, and unsure.
Okay. Now what do I do?

I think I'll start with a prayer.
Thanks for listening.
Good night.


Michelle (The Beartwinsmom) said...

I'm joining my prayers with yours, dear. I've had cancer hit my family hard, so I totally understand the shock you feel.

Sending you lots of hugs...

Bradley said...

Your feelings are not trivial in any way.

I heard once that we should never allow someone else's suffering diminish our own. I think of this when I hear someone say they shouldn't feel bad when you consider all the starving children in the world. If that was the case then we would never feel bad and that is unrealistic.

What I'm saying is never to suppress your feelings. As a sober person you know this. :-)