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!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sad observations

This day could not be more beautiful. Bluer than blue skies, wispy white clouds, warm sun mixed with cool, dry air. It is a day to behold, an awesome and awe-inspiring day. Today reminds me I am but one minute particle in this enormous collage we call the world. I am so grateful. It's a beautiful day.

I picked her up from school. We said our hellos. She is quiet and shy. She often looks uncomfortable in her own, ever-changing skin. I remember... Thirteen is a tough age, especially for a girl. I wouldn't do it again if you paid me!

In this routine, now almost two years old, we've become comfortable with silence. Once in awhile I do try to engage, but silence is acceptable to both of us. Ten minutes later, I drop her at piano lessons, and 30 minutes after that, she's on her way to confirmation. As we pull into the church lot, I ask her if she knows who's picking her up, something I usually do but can't today. She says it's her mom, and in the following seconds, we share the unspoken dread. "You're going to call her when you're done, right," I ask? "Yes," she says, opening the door. "Good," I say. "That's a good idea." The too-wise-for-her-age smirk tells me she understands. We go our separate ways.

I arrive at her home 2 minutes later. She won't need to picked up for an hour, but I'm not confident mom will be prepared. I want to see. Is mom even awake? It's not typical, and as expected, today is no exception. Mom sometimes rallies for these once-in-a-blue-moon responsibilities. She's even bragged about "not drinking" on days where she has to go out, the occasional doctor's appointment or to pick a child up, but 4:30 PM is a long time for her to wait.

I doubt she did wait today. The empty bottles and cans are in their typical places. They could be from last night, but the darkened house, quiet except for the blaring TV, suggests more recent activity. I hang around to help the teenage son with some simple stuff--maybe 20 minutes at most. Yet, before I'm out the door, the phone begins to ring. It rings, and rings, and rings, pauses, and then rings, and rings, and rings again.

I hesitate. Is it her? Couldn't be, I just dropped her off. But what if it is? What if confirmation got canceled and she now needs that ride home? I never answer their phone, and I make no exception this time despite my concern. I exit. The ringing follows me out, stopping only when I close my car door and drive away.

I reassure myself by thinking it is probably dad on the phone. He's likely concerned, too. He's likely phoning from his office to remind mom of her upcoming responsibility. With each unanswered ring, I picture him becoming more and more agitated. He knows. She's either sleeping, or passed out, or just ignoring the phone. And why shouldn't she? If there is never a "hello" at the other end of the line, eventually dad will leave his office to fill-in. He'll walk blocks to his car and then drive halfway across town to fetch his daughter from a church which is only 1/2 mile from their home--the same home where mom is lying uncaring, or unconscious, or both in her bed.

I drive home feeling sick on a beautiful, beautiful day.

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