Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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, March 30, 2009

The dilemma. The contradiction.

You may have noticed I was a bit vague in my last post. I noted that I ran my "long run" despite feeling lower and heavier than I had felt in years. I purposefully didn't mention my run was 15 miles. (Fifteen miles?!? How can you run 15 miles when you say you feel tired, sad, and hopeless? That doesn't make any sense! There's no way a person could do that while feeling as bad as you say you were feeling! So you're either lying, attention-seeking, or both! Or...if you can run 15 miles while feeling so bad, then I can expect my son, daughter, or best friend to do more when they're feeling bad!) And therein lies the dilemma.

My dilemma is sometimes I can do things despite feeling really bad, but that doesn't mean I don't feel bad. However, I understand how difficult that may be for a normie to comprehend. Heck, it's even hard for me to comprehend at times! It just doesn't make sense. Fortunately, I've forced myself out the door often enough to know sometimes my body can do things despite evidence to the contrary. That's why I forced myself out the door on Saturday. I had to trust I'd be able to run despite feeling bad.

I did run. It wasn't pretty at first, but I ran 15 miles and met my goal. I hesitated defining my long run, however, out of fear--fear my symptoms might have been taken less seriously. I hesitated writing about running 15 miles out of fear your symptoms might be taken less seriously. This is the strange, contradictory nature of my depression. Sometimes my mood is okay, but I can't get out of bed. Sometimes my mood is black and hopeless, yet I can run 15 miles?? Yes. And it doesn't mean I didn't feel bad.

Honesty shouldn't be a dilemma. I guess I'm still too concerned with what others think. I realize there are multitudes of providers, families, and friends who would find nonsense in what I reported feeling versus what I accomplished on Saturday. It's a dilemma, but the goal of this blog is to educate others and to support people with mental illness. I don't accomplish either of those goals by leaving out parts of my reality. After all maybe it's your reality, too. To educate and support, I must be honest.

Maybe some of you share my experience? Maybe you can sometimes do things contrary to your mood state. Maybe it baffles you, too. Maybe there are parents, siblings, friends, and perhaps healthcare providers who witness these contradictory acts. Maybe it causes them to question your reality, your story, your experience. I don't want to perpetuate that. My experience supports the contradiction. Sometimes we can do things despite feeling like crap. It doesn't mean we don't feel like crap. Right?


Emma said...

Right! All I have truly wanted to do the past couple of days is curl into a ball and howl, however the house is cleaner than it has been in weeks, and the pile of ironing is shrinking. The news today was not good. The cancer has returned, and the prognosis is perhaps months for our Molly dog. She is not quite 6 yrs old. I feel as if my heart is breaking. Our aim for her is comfort and quality of life, in the weeks, and hopefully months ahead. We are once again back to one step at a time. I am hoping she may be home this weekend. Fingers crossed, she actually ate dinner tonight!
Take care Em

Krystal said...

I totally understand where you are coming from! I can only share my personal experience, but I have usually been able to physically get up and do the things that need to get done during the day. Where I've questioned a thousand times whether I've felt like going to work, taking care of my kids, etc., I've rarely considered the option of not doing these things. I have thought "If I am doing all these things I need to do, maybe I am not depressed after all". But then, the majority of other signs of clinical depression show themselves and I am reminded that, yes, I do have this and I need to do what I can to take care of it.

I think for me, it is definitely mind over matter when it comes to physical motions during the day. A lot of times, if my body just moves, my mind will follow and forget that I was feeling so blue. Maybe this is avoidance? But, at least it is better for me than staying in bed.

P.S. Tried a 15 mile run the other day, but could only finish 10 because of this sharp pain in my right knee. Have you experienced knee pain? I need to look into getting different shoes, but my budget is tight right now.

etta said...

Oh Krystal--you totally get it! Thank you.
Sorry to hear about your knee pain. The correct shoes and slowly building up your mileage are crucial to avoid injury. Ice and rest. If pain continues, see a good PT!

Emma--so, so sorry to hear about your Molly. I have no words of wisdom. I can only say I am so sorry. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'll say a prayer for you both.