Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Random thoughts...

I admit it. I'm watching curling. And you know what? I've actually curled! Oh ya, you betcha! I grew up in Northern Minnesoooota, don't-cha know! Of course I've curled!

I'm also sitting here eating M&M's, fretting about how heavy I am, and wondering why I'm not losing weight. Hmmmm...I wonder.

I have M&M's to eat because I bought a pound of them to share with my sponsee today. She was scheduled to do some work with me today, but she called and cancelled. She not only cancelled, she said she needed to take a break. That's a very bad sign. Usually, taking a break from working the program is followed closely by taking a drink.

Her "taking a break" causes me to wonder, again, why it is that some of us get it, and some of us don't. Why am I enjoying a sober life? Why me and not so many others? All I can do is pray for "the others," I guess. But I do wonder...

I've been really tired this week during my workouts. Today I swam 1200 yards before doing the strength circuit. Twelve hundred yards would have been a cinch before I started this triathlon training, so I thought it would be even easier now. After all, I'm finishing my 6th week of a grueling regimen. Instead, I had a really tough time in the pool today. I had to take 4 or 5 rest breaks! Quite discouraging. I hope I'm just having a low energy week.

Thanks to my readers who've been leaving comments lately. Your comments really brighten my days! Thank you.
A full moon is arising outside my window. It's beautiful. It was a gorgeous winter day here in Minnesota. Looks like it will be a gorgeous winter night, too. Enjoy your evening, everyone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chaos and Priorities

I've mentioned this here before. When my house is a chaotic, I start to feel chaotic. Well, my house is chaotic right now. Outside of work, I'm spending so much time training, which, for me, means extra sleep time, too, that I've been neglecting my home. There is a lot of piling going on. Mail on the table, dishes in the sink, clothes in the hamper...pile, pile, pile. I don't like when I let my house get like this.

It bothers me when my house gets too chaotic, but I really shouldn't complain. After all, I've allowed the chaos by choosing to expend my limited energy elsewhere. Chores have typically taken a back seat lately. Today I worked on cleaning up the table full of mail and paid some bills, but the dirty laundry hasn't moved. It's still waiting for me. But after running and swimming this morning, I needed my usual nap, and now I just don't have the energy. Obviously, my priority is, and has been exercise, not chores.

I think it's important to have priorities when dealing with any illness. Heck, it's important to have priorities when dealing with life! Over the past nine years, I've figured out what keeps me on my feet--mentally and physically. Clean clothes, spotless dishes, and dusted surfaces do help my mood, but exercise and sleep help a lot more. Taking my meds, eating regularly, and spending time with sober friends probably all come in higher than chores, too. Those are the things that keep me sane.

Hmmm...reminding myself of these priorites helps me feel less chaotic already. Something tells me I'll be able to put up with my dirty laundry for a few more days.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From a position of health

I've received a few comments recently thanking me for focusing my blog on recovery--not just illness. I really appreciate those comments, as I focused on getting better for a reason. There is so much to complain about when dealing with mental illness--terrible stigma, inequitable insurance coverage, discrimination at work, misunderstanding of family and friends, lack of support, financial hardship, loneliness; the list goes on. But to write a blog filled with complaints was never my goal. Education, yes. Support, yes. Inspiration, yes. A blog filled with complaint? Definitely not.

That's not to say I haven't complained here. I certainly have. But as my therapist pointed out a few weeks ago, "I think the blog has benefited you because you write from a position of health." That was a great observation.

This blog has benefited me more than I ever thought possible. After all, I thought I was writing to benefit all of you. But her observation of writing "from a position of health" was revealing. I guess doing so was sort of an unconscious decision I had made. So her comment was really nice to hear.

As I said, when I began this thing I set goals of supporting the afflicted, educating others, and reducing stigma. Complaining about how horrible my life was would not, in my opinion, have accomplished those goals. Besides that, it would have been terribly boring to read!

I'd like people to leave this space enlightened, interested, and wanting to return. I'd like those of us with mental illness to feel supported and understood. I'd like runners (athletes) to see another side of their friends and competitors. As with my life, I hope this blog is about living with, rather than suffering from, mental illness. I'm glad some of you appreciate that. Thanks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Somewhat sane again.

The applause was loud and long, and there were a lot of smiles and hugs afterward, so I guess my little talk about "Gratitude in Action" went well last night. I was quite relieved when it was over. I usually have no problem speaking in front of people, but last night I was nervous the whole way through. Oh well, like I said, my talk was well received and the feedback was really great.

Nice feedback is always good for my mood, but my mood has been good anyway. I'm actually feeling really good. Things seem to be entirely back to normal from that little dip I had about one month ago. It's nice to be able to focus on life and not have to battle my mind again.

The focus of my life these days is a bit narrow. Work and train. Train and work. Today I did a difficult 2 hour workout. The first hour was a very tough interval workout in the pool. I followed that with a more relaxed hour on the bike. Tomorrow I have a tough hill workout on the treadmill before going to work. Like I said, train and work. Work and train.

I prefer a challenging treadmill workout to what I had to do in the pool today. There's still a big difference between a tough pool workout and a challenging land workout for me. In the pool, when I get short of breath, I panic slightly--after all, I can't just pant uncontrollably like I can outside. I still have to maintain that damn rhythmic breathing or drown. I guess that's what I'm afraid of--drowning. I tolerate burning lungs much better outside than I do in the pool.

After burning my lungs for a couple hours this morning, I attended my usual AA meeting, filled my stomach, and then went back to sleep! I was tired! I guess I should have said my life focus these days is working, training and sleeping! But then again, I've needed a ton of sleep ever since this depression began. It's nice that I am now physically tired for a reason other than depression. Really nice.

Here's something to think about: Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you. --Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Freaking out just a little bit

When I volunteered to speak about gratitude for my AA group's anniversary celebration, I had no idea how difficult the topic would be! I've been working most of the day on a 15 minute speech, for crying out loud! And I'm freaking out just a bit! I've finally got something put together, but I'm not thrilled with it. So I'm pretty nervous about speaking tomorrow night. In fact, I can't wait until it's over!

The other focus of my day was working out. We're getting into the middle weeks of our training now, and the workouts are certainly heating up. Yesterday we did a "brick," which was a 50 minute spin class followed by 20 minutes of fast running. Today I ran outside for 50 minutes and then went to the gym for the strength and ab portion of the program. My legs are tired! Actually, my whole body is tired. Tomorrow, thankfully, I've only got a 50 minute bike ride, and then it's on to a jam packed weekend.

Well, I'm off to practice my speech one more time. I know whatever happens, it will be okay. I couldn't be speaking to a more forgiving audience. I have to try to remember that tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


What a strange day. I slept in, taking advantage of my one rest day in the past couple weeks, but once up I continued to feel tired and sluggish. At the same time, I was totally, physically anxious! My heart was racing. I was a bit nauseous. I felt worried, scared, jittery. Strange. Things finally got so out of control, I resorted to an anti-anxiety med I very rarely need to take. It was awful.

Of course the anxiety med made me sleepy, so I ended up back in bed. My day didn't really start until mid-afternoon. After a walk with my boy, I finally got to work. Laundry, bills, dishes...the usual routine. I felt a little better, but still off.

I'm still a little off now. Perhaps I'm anxious about this Friday night. I volunteered to speak about "Gratitude in Action" at a large AA gathering. It's a 15 minute gig, but I am nervous. For starters, I just began seriously thinking about what to say today. And I don't know what to say! Yikes! It's not like telling my story, which of course I know by heart! This is more like a class assignment--I've got to figure out what to say before 7:00 PM Friday, and then I've got to say it! Yikes, again! Think positive thoughts for me, okay?

I'll leave you with this positive thought. I found it during my research today. Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. --Brian Tracy

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day. As far as I'm concerned, it's a Hallmark holiday created to sell cards, flowers, gifts and expensive dinners. But maybe I'm a little jaded. Having been single for about 8 years now, it's been a long time since Valentine's Day meant anything to me. But I'm thinking about it, so I thought I'd write about it.

Actually, I like being single. There are many advantages to having my time all to myself. But being half of a pair has advantages, too. The one thing I do miss about being in a couple is hearing, "I love you." I make a habit of telling Puck I love him every single day. I say it aloud every time I leave home, just as I did with my ex. Unfortunately, he hasn't learned to speak words yet, so it's not something he can reciprocate. His tail, as my friend Cindy reminds me, speaks volumes, however.

Puck and I had some quality Valentine time together this morning. We had a very nice, crisp, sunny 4.5 mile run. We've both been missing our running time together, as this triathlon program has taken me into different activities. Unlike Puck, I think my body appreciates less running and more variety. The long time aches and pains in my calves and right knee have improved since triathlon training began. It's nice to run without pain, just as I did this morning. And now that my run is done, the rest of the day calls for rest and relaxation! Whoopee!

So that's what I'm about to do. I'm at the home of my friends, Bill and Cindy, enjoying breakfast in their brand new kitchen, listening to Prairie Home Companion, and generally being lazy. Hope you all have a day filled with laziness and love, too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Long days

I worked two long days yesterday and today. Between work, my triathlon program, and taking care of Puck, I'm getting an awful lot of exercise these days, and I'm pooped! I'm afraid my blog suffers when work gets long and I get pooped. Sorry about that.

Things are moving along. I'm feeling a little low, but I'm not sure if I'm truly low or just tired. This week I was up early every day to get my workout in before the rest of my day began. That includes this morning. I was in the pool early before work, but I'm not done yet. I still have to get 60 minutes in on the bike. I figure I'll ride and watch the Olympics. That should keep my brain occupied. Of course, I may fall asleep atop the bike, too!

Tomorrow I have a relatively easy 40 minute run. Then it's back to the killer strength and swim session Monday. I'm already looking forward to my rest day on Tuesday! I'm not sure that's a good sign. I think all the work will be worth it in the end, though.

No word about the potential job yet. I didn't have time to call about it this week. It's on my to-do list. By the way, I did get elected to the track club board of directors. It's a three year term, and I've already been to my first meeting. We have a large, very active track club, so I think I will have no shortage of new things to do. I'm honored to serve on the board.

That's about all for now. I've gotta get on my bike. Have a lovely Valentine's Day, everyone.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back at it.

Well, it's been a few days of hell around here. Tracking down and contacting plagiarizers, contacting web hosts, filling out official forms for Google, and generally stressing out has been exhausting. I feel like I did everything I could do, and fortunately both offending websites stopped using my content. I think I'm lucky. Since this began, I've read countless horror stories from others who've been plagiarized and not had the same resolution. I guess I'm grateful the people I contacted took appropriate action, even though it was their inappropriate action which created the situation. I must once again thank Mohican for the amazing detective work and assistance. And thank you all for your ongoing support.

Okay. Enough about that! Onward and upward. I had a killer workout this morning. At 5:15 I stepped onto the treadmill for a 30 minute hill and interval workout. Ouch! It was a leg and lung burner. Then we had a power yoga class. I love power yoga, but doing 45 minutes of yoga after killer intervals was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Whew. I was glad to be done this morning! I came home and collapsed on the floor next to Puck before I could even get ready for work. I was a little late for work... Tomorrow calls for 60 minutes on the bike followed by a 1/2 mile swim.

Speaking of work...still no word from my potential new employer. I'll call tomorrow if I don't hear anything. My current job, however, is going well. Things have been much more relaxed around there lately. One of my assistants--the one with a strong personality--left a couple weeks ago. It's made a huge difference. The department stress level has decreased while the teamwork has increased. It's amazing that one person could make such a big difference, but clearly that was the case here. It's much nicer to go to work now.

I'm off to bed now. I'll leave you with this. It's from a necklace I got from my friends at Christmas. The world finds hope in those who wish for a better life and have the courage to follow their star wherever it may lead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More plagiarism

This plagiarism bullshit has really got me down. Thanks to my loyal reader, commenter, and all around smart person, Mohican, I now know that I am being copied by another site. So if you are reading this on a site titled Depression and Anxiety at, you are reading blatantly plagiarized material. This is etta at Depression Marathon, and I am the actual author. Unbelievable.

Thanks again to Mohican, I've written another e-mail to the administrator of the offending website asking him to cease and desist. I've heard nothing so far. For those of you who didn't read yesterday's comments, I did succeed in getting the Alaska Psychiatry site to remove my material. In fact, they removed all of the other bloggers' material, too. Now the site appears to be about UFO's. Very strange.

Mohican, again, has suggested some ways I can protect myself in the future. If I can figure out how to implement those suggestions, I certainly will. I've already made one change, and I apologize to those of you who are used to reading my entire post via a feed. I've now changed my feed to a short form, which means you've had to click through to my site in order to finish reading this post. I'm sorry, but it may help protect my posts from being stolen in the future.

Like I said, this whole experience has really gotten me down. It sucks. I just wanted to run my little blog here, but unfortunately there are some unethical, character-less people in this world. I wish those people had never discovered this blog! No worries, though, I'll continue trudging along.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I discovered I'm being plagiarized by a site called Alaska Psychiatry Journal. They take my feed and republish it as their own, submitted by "admin" and filed under the "category" Depression Marathon. They also list Depression Marathon in their sidebar as a "category" with no link to my site. And I'm not the only one. They are plagiarizing multiple sites in the same way.

To say I'm angry is a gross understatement. I'm incensed! I'm frustrated! I'm incredulous! There is no contact information for the site administrator anywhere on their site, but someone suggested e-mailing, which I did. I asked them politely to cease and desist, but so far no word from them nor change in their plagiarism. I've also contacted their web host, IX Web Hosting, and asked them to intervene. They are "looking into it." I don't know what else to do.

Since this post, laughingly, will also be plagiarized by the site, I guess I'll ask again right here. Please, Alaska Psychiatry Journal, stop plagiarizing my original material! I put my heart and soul into this blog. These are my words, my thoughts, and my feelings. While it is nice to be recognized by other sites, to have you present my words, thoughts and feelings as your own is an incredible personal violation. Please, stop.

If anyone out there knows of another way for me to address this thievery, please let me know. Thanks, and thanks for letting me vent.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another busy day ahead

I'm about 20 minutes away from missing my usual Saturday morning meeting because I just couldn't wake up this morning. Puck woke me up exceptionally early to go outside, and from that point on I couldn't get any restful sleep. I don't like missing my meeting, but skipping every once in awhile won't kill me.

Actually, I'll be attending a special AA meeting tonight. It's cake night. Cake night celebrates everyone who had an anniversary in the previous month. We each get a cake presented to us. I chose my friend Cindy to present mine. Not only is she a terrific friend, she was instrumental in getting me to AA and starting me on my sobriety trip. The meeting is open to all family and friends, and it can often get quite emotional. It's a nice time for us to acknowledge the people who've stuck with us or helped us in recovery.

Unfortunately, I also have another commitment tonight! Go figure. I rarely have anything going on, and tonight I have two important events at the same time! The track club banquet is tonight. This is an annual social event with dinner, speakers, and awards. We also vote on club board members. I happen to be running for one of the open board positions. In addition, I'm due to get my award for winning my age group in the Grand Prix race series. It's a big night, but I'm going to miss most of it. I'll have to leave cake night early if I hope to hear any of the speaker or to arrive in time for the awards. However, cake night may be so nice, I may choose not to leave. It's frustrating. I'd like to be at both events at the same time.

Whichever event I attend, I should be in damn good shape! Today, I have a long challenging workout for my triathlon class. My schedule calls for me to swim a long, tough interval workout. It includes lots and lots of kicking--just kicking. I hate kicking! By the time I reach the middle of the pool, all my momentum stops! No matter how hard I kick, it seems I go nowhere! It sucks! I may cheat and bring my flippers. After swimming more than 1300 yards, I'll ride the bike for 60 minutes. Boring! I'll be at the gym for at least two hours, I'm sure. I guess I better get going!

On the job front, I didn't get any answers yesterday from my potential new employer. She hadn't looked into any of the "details" we were supposed to be working out, and she actually put me off until next week. She apparently needs to consult with her big boss to get approval for some of the things I need in order to leave my current position. So no news on whether or not I have a new job. I'll keep praying about it. I have faith it will work out as it's supposed to work out. As soon as I know anything, I'll let you know.

Now, I better finish my coffee, get off my butt and get busy! Have a great day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Out of the blue--Into my lap

Things are falling into my lap again. I got a phone call yesterday, which I followed up on today. Remember that physical therapy job I interviewed for on Christmas Eve? They decided to give it to someone with home health care experience, of which I had none. Apparently, their new hire is not working out. The woman who interviewed me called yesterday to offer "on call" hours. Today it changed to permanent, part-time hours. We're working out some of the details and plan to connect again tomorrow. It appears I may have an unexpected new job in the very near future. Wow!

As per usual, I'm excited and a little frightened by this surprising development. Working nearer to home would mean an end to the 50 mile drive to and from work. It would mean an end to working in the crowded, basement office of a nursing home with not-so-nice nursing staff. Of course, I like my co-workers and would feel a little guilty about leaving. They've counted on me. When I started just over one year ago, I filled a position that had been open for two years. Of course, I'm replaceable, and they could fill my position in a week this time. You just never know.

I know I need to do what's best for me. But does one ever know exactly what that is? There are pros and cons to everything, and the unknown always frightens me. My sponsor told me to pray about it. I have. I will. I'll let you know what happens.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Busy day!

What a busy day! I've been going, going, going. I guess that's a good thing. It means my mood is back to normal, my thoughts are under my control, and for the moment, all is okay in my world. For the moment... Here's the recap.

After sleeping just a bit later than normal this morning, I did some chores around my house, made some phone calls, and prepared some paperwork for my sponsee. Then I jetted off to the gym for two hours of hard work! My triathlon class schedule called for a 60 minute bike ride followed by a strength workout. The strength workout consisted of three parts. First, I did a Kinesis circuit. Kinesis is a series of four machines. On each machine I worked both the upper and lower extremities simultaneously for three minutes. The second part of the workout was abs--a series of 14 exercises done in rapid succession. The third section of our strength workout was (is) the most challenging. It consisted of a series of three blocks of 8-10 exercises. Each exercise was done for 30-60 seconds with a 30 second rest period between blocks. The exercises included things like squat jumps, push-ups, medicine ball lunges, jumping jacks, and sprints of 1/10 mile. Oh. My. God. I thought I was going to die. This is the third time I've done this workout, and it has not yet gotten any easier!

After the gym, and despite feeling like a sweaty bowl of jello, I came home to finish my laundry and meet with my sponsee. She's working on her fourth step--kind of a critical juncture in AA step work, for those of you unfamiliar. We went to an AA meeting after our meeting. Then I rushed off to the grocery store. I hurried through the store in hopes of making it to my friend's house for Lost. I didn't make it. After putting away the groceries I was done. I stayed home.

So here I sit, sleepy and sore, with Lost playing in the background, finishing my day with all of you. I don't always like being so busy, but today was a good day. I think I'm back. I don't think I could have done today if I wasn't.

Grateful to be feeling better. Grateful for the energy to work and workout. Grateful to be sober today. Good night.