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!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speaking

Ask me to stand in front of a room full of people and tell my story of living with depression, and I can comfortably go into great detail. I've done it bunches of times. Ask me to speak about alcoholism, however, and I'm scared to death.

Tonight, consider me scared to death. I've been asked to speak to my large home AA group in three weeks. I may spend the next three weeks in a mild panic. You see, my story is quite boring. I drank to numb my depression. Thankfully, in my short history of problem drinking, I drank alone. Fortunately, I didn't do anything outrageous, commit any crimes, or end up in the gutter. Those things happen, and they make for good comeback stories when people get sober.

I guess I have a comeback story, but there just isn't a lot to it. There's not a lot to say. I drank to numb depression. Soon, I got to a point where I couldn't stop drinking. It was my comfort, my courage, my connection, and most importantly my medication. I drank alone and watched re-runs. I drank alone and painted my living room. I drank alone and watched sports. I drank alone and ran the next morning. It was pathetic, really. But there's not much more to it than that.

So I'm scared to death. The prospect of standing in front of a large room full of people I admire and respect to tell such a boring tale...well, let the panic begin.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Etta

There is no shame in jumping out of the car BEFORE it goes over the cliff. In the end of it all, noone will get a ribbon for suffering more than others...count your blessings and thank God that you didn't reach bottom before deciding to put the shovel away.

Perspective, Etta, grattitude and grace. It's far better to be saved from the threat, than rescued from the result.

Hang on

Chris

PS - No running references mentioned. I can't believe it !!!

Seriously, everyone should run :)

Anonymous said...

I have a similar AA story and actually left AA for a time because I felt like such an inadequate drunk - a fraud, if you will. :)

But your story will resonate in that room. I've found many "low-bottom" drunks feeling exactly the same as you about sharing their story, especially sharing in prisons and places where the drunks' stories are blistering. FWIW, I would suggest that you imagine helping the newcomer low-bottom drinker with your story and not worry so much about the grizzled vet stories. The beauty of those meetings over time as that all of our stories combine to create a din that saves the lives of many, many different types of drunks.

Good luck and thanks for writing this blog.

Bill

Emma said...

Etta,
As has been suggested, I believe your story will resonate with more people than you think. I certainly recognised myself and the way I drank from your story. It was for that ahah moment when the depression or anxiety just didn't seem so bad, but of course it started to take more than one glass of wine, and then another.... I had not had a drink for two years before my mother's illness and death late last year. I managed to get back on track the beginning of this year. Trust me, your story will help.
Emma

etta said...

Thanks to all three of you for your comments here. I really, really appreciate your perspectives and genuine personal accounts. All help me feel better about sharing my "boring" story.

And Chris, I hope you don't mind if I use your quote--"It is far better to be saved from the threat than rescued from the result." Thanks for that. It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Etta -

My pleasure.

-Chris



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