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, January 31, 2010

Reflections and Rewards

If you read yesterday's post, you probably understand why I always get a bit reflective at this time of year. After suffering years of unrelenting teenage depression, I nearly ended my life. Instead of a successful suicide, I awoke in a hospital 25 years ago today.

I was seventeen years old, and I had planned my ending for weeks. I aced all of my mid-term exams. I played my last basketball game. I gave away important things to important friends and said my goodbyes. Finally, I secured the cocktail of alcohol and allergy meds, which I purposefully chose for it's quiet lethality.

The ER doctors would not let me go, and the ensuing months spent in an adolescent mental health unit were the beginning of the rest of my life. A loving foster home combined with therapy and medication resolved the depression and sent me on my way. Instead of death, I was given a fairly normal life.

So many years went by, and then out of the blue, the beast returned. Life became abnormal again. It's been nine plus years now, and I sometimes wonder how life would be different if this depression hadn't burdened me again.

My life would be different, but there's certainly no guarantee it would be better. So I don't wonder for long. Instead of how different life might be, I choose to reflect on what my life is.

As a result of this illness, I've lost a lot, but I've gained at least as much as I've lost. I've had opportunities to share with others, support others, and develop a resilience I might not otherwise have. I've been rewarded with friendship, readership and gratitude. I've developed a manner of living--a moment to moment existence--which never would have materialized if I hadn't witnessed the edge of life. Sure, life would be different without depression, but perhaps I would have missed some of the rewards of living along the way.

"The view from the edge of life is far more clear than the view from within life."
--from Kitchen Table Wisdom by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

1 comment:

Depression illness said...

You are doing a great deed to people who suffer from problems like yours. Depression is a mental illness that may lead to any negative consequences in life. That was nice to read your real life experiences here and know how you recovered from that dangerous disorder. This would be a better awareness for others in life.
My best wishes for your services to continue successfully.