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!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A matter of perspective

It's funny. Looking at my triathlon training schedule for the week, I'm not overwhelmed this morning. In fact, I'm thinking, "Oh, this isn't so bad." That's when I started chuckling. My classmates and I are scheduled for nine hours of training this week. Two weeks ago, we had our first nine hour training week, and I was overwhelmed. Last week I trained for ten hours, and I was overwhelmed. Now I'm scheduled for nine hours again, and I'm relieved. It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

Interestingly, I've found the same with depression. Depression's pain is also subject to my perspective. At the top of a downhill slide, I tolerate less pain less well than I do once I'm climbing back up. If I'm used to feeling well, a little discomfort can feel overwhelming and scary. Yet that same level of discomfort may feel joyous and relieving if it occurs after a long period of hopelessness and pain. Once again, I find my athletic experiences uniquely correlate with my mental illness. That's interesting.

I wonder if that correlation helps me deal with training, helps me deal with depression, or both? I think it's probably both. Sometimes when I'm running through a tough spot, as I was during the Richmond Marathon in November, I think surviving depression helps me persevere. Knowing I've survived through hopelessness and pain in life has helped me put one foot in front of the other when running. At the same time, although I probably call on it less often, I think persevering through tough runs has reminded me to persevere through hopeless moments of depression. It seems silly, but it's true. I think we have to use whatever we can to get us through. I use training to get me through life, and I use life to get me through training.

I wonder. What do you use to get you through your tough days?


Wendy said...

I've never run a race, but like you I concentrate on the moment and occupy myself with whatever is nurturing, energizing, etc..and just like the "runner's high" I know that I'll get there, even though the god-awful running is slow. I also have an index card with "this too shall pass" written on it. So glad that the miles you once dreaded, are becoming easier, internally and externally.

A. Paige Turner said...

I think each feeds the like you say, "It is both!"

Congratulaitons Etta!!!

I know the heights and the depths you speak of. And just like the training you are going through now ~ only the STRONG survive. You are very strong!

What gets me through? My belief in God. ~ I lost that belief for a decade, but God did not lose His belief in me. I still have hard days ~ but they are bareable because I know they are simply passing by ~ they aren't going to stay for an extended period of time! (SMILE)!

Continue to live strong! You have earned it!