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!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A weekend of memories and feelings

I had to go to a funeral on Friday. The funeral was back in the town in which I spent many tortured years, and therefore I had multiple tortured memories and feelings about returning there.

I moved to this town, at age 13, from my beloved small town after my parents were divorced, and my dad remarried my "wicked" step-mother. And she was wicked in many ways--abusive verbally and physically. She and my abusive father made a lovely pair.

The only positive of moving to this new place, with this new family, was I gained a sister. My step-sister and I became very close. Due to the small size of our home, we had to share a bed. We spent many nights sharing our thoughts and feelings into the wee hours of the mornings. Unfortunately, we spent many other nights listening to our parents complaining about one of us kids or beating the spit out of each other. We developed an us-against-the-world bond, and then she was killed in a freak bike vs. car accident.

My first bout of depression began not long after my step-sister was killed. I spent multiple years battling the now familiar scourge. Unrecognized by my parents as an illness or even a real problem, I leaned on a teacher, she was also my neighbor, for support. Mrs. Hoffman kept me alive for years. She listened. She cared. She recognized and acknowledged my pain. Although I ultimately nearly ended my life, I certainly wouldn't be here today if she had never intervened.

After the funeral on Friday, I stopped in to see Mrs. Hoffman for the first time in years. I needed to tell her she made a difference. I needed to express my gratitude. And while seeing her brought back a lot of memories, I'm so glad I went. It was as if we had never lost touch. We talked for over two hours, and I could have stayed all day. Her home, still next door to my previous home, felt like the safe haven it had been so many years before.

Seeing Mrs. Hoffman, being welcomed back into her home, and thanking her for her life-changing influence on my life; these were all gifts which made being back in this tortured town a treasure rather than a curse.

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