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!

Monday, October 20, 2008

a very unmerry-go-round

More fatigue today, napping doesn't seem to alleviate it for more than an hour. It's frustrating. Regardless, I was a little more functional today. I swam one mile rather than run one step. The swimming went better than I was expecting, although--surprise!--it did wipe me out for a couple hours.

I met with my therapist this morning. Boy, it's been a long two weeks since I last saw her! There are some pretty big changes afoot in my life, and I'm feeling very overwhelmed. My therapist is especially adept at breaking things down and putting them into perspective. I appreciate that. But despite her best efforts, I'm feeling hypoxic and overwhelmed.

I'm entering into a transitional phase. Change and transitions are hard for normies. I think they are especially difficult for those of us challenged by mental illness. Change is scary, risky, uncertain, and tumultuous. Feeling fatigued and unmotivated doesn't help. The fatigue only increases my stress, as I worry about coaxing enough energy to function effectively during this transition.

As usual during times of stress, I question which came first. Am I fatigued because my depression is rearing it's ugly head, or is the fatigue a result of change and uncertainty? I guess the fatigue is a symptom of my depression regardless of the trigger. Prior to getting sick, fatigue was not my immediate nor normal physical response to stress. In fact, I often functioned better under stress. But since depression became a part of my life, especially over the last 2-3 years, fatigue has been ever present.

Which came first, the stress or the fatigue, may seem like a moot point. However, understanding which came first helps me understand how to deal with it. I'm feeling overwhelmed, restless, irritable, and discontent. If the fatigue is a symptom of the stressful feelings, I'll do better by pushing through it, even attacking it. But if the fatigue came first, as a symptom of depression, attacking it will only aggravate it. Similar energy dips over the last eight years taught me to listen. My body will only allow so much at these times. In the past, when I've ignored its signals and pushed beyond my body's new, lower limits, I've spiraled down into a deep, dark hole. I don't want to do that, so I've been trying to listen, to rest, and to sleep as needed.

Yet I need energy to meet the challenges of this transition! The fatigue, therefore, has become another stressor! Worrying about being too fatigued to handle stress is making me stressed! Questioning if I should be pushing harder or resting more has magnified the restlessness and discontent! I'm overwhelmed worrying about being too tired to handle feeling overwhelmed! How ridiculous is that??

It seems this is a vicious, never-ending cycle of fatigue and stress! How do I stop it? I'm getting dizzy! How do I get off? Stop! Stop! STOP THE MADNESS! I want to get off!!

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