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!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Old writing

While cleaning my basement yesterday I found an old notebook tucked away in an ancient Runner's World magazine. On my way to the recycle bin I realized the notebook contained some journaling. Dated from late 2000 through mid-2001, the entries were all about my early struggles with this illness. The magazine went in the recycle bin while the notebook and I sat down.

I began feeling like something was wrong, or a bit off, in November, 2000. My words reflect the confusion and concern I experienced as I tried to figure out what was happening with me. Many entries sound like this one: "I feel there is something wrong--something wrong with me. How else can I make sense of these overwhelming, powerful, intimidating feelings racing through my head?" That was from February 1, 2001. Those early months, powerlessness is reflected over and over in what I said. It appears I didn't have an understanding of depression's wide ranging symptoms.

I didn't know what was happening. My early depression was apparently dominated by racing, intrusive thoughts, distractibility, and profound confusion. I was disturbed by my brain's errant path and exasperated by my inability to control it or cope. Feeling like an impostor in my own body was a constant theme. It appears those early months were very scary, unsettled times.

It's interesting to see the difference between then and now. While my depression still unsettles and exasperates me sometimes, I now have the benefit of previous experience. I have a label for the restlessness, intrusive thoughts, sadness, and fatigue. It's depression. And based on previous experience, I know that whatever crap I am feeling will eventually pass.

I guess that's one benefit of an eight year battle. Today I have acceptance, knowledge, and support. Those are three things I didn't have in 2000-2001. Reading my old writings, it's obvious those are three things which keep me battling today. Without them, I'd be dead.


Mohican said...

"distractibility, and profound confusion" - perfect. It is extraordinary to look back after making some progress. It took me so many years before I even knew what was going on and could start dealing with my depression. Now I am amazed at how I even survived and accomplished what small tasks I did when my mind was so lost in a fog. Thanks to medication I think clearer and see situations better, but still often put off doing things. Heck, it took me three days to write this.

Krystal said...

Thanks Etta for bringing up the topic of old journals. About a year ago, I purposely destroyed and disposed of about twelve years of journal entries. My main concern was if I were to die, then my family would read them and know all the horrible things that were going through my head. Now I have mixed feelings about that choice - it would be nice to be able to go back and read them if I wanted to. . .Thanks again for all your thoughtful posts. They hit home often.

etta said...

I understand wanting to destroy all the old writing. I've almost done that more than once. I've destroyed individual pieces occasionally, but like you, I've sometimes, not always, later regretted it. I don't look at the old stuff, but it is nice to have the historical record now that I'm feeling a bit better.