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!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Daily Reflection

The following is from the April 6th entry in the book Daily Reflections. Though it is written for alcoholics, it describes my journey with depression as well. I'll say more about that at the end.

"We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people..." (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 52)

"These words remind me that I have more problems than alcohol, that alcohol is only a symptom of a more pervasive disease. When I stopped drinking, I began a lifetime process of recovery from unruly emotions, painful relationships, and unmanageable situations. This process is too much for most of us without help from a Higher Power and our friends in the fellowship. When I began working the steps of the AA program, many of these tangled threads unraveled but, little by little, the most broken places of my life straightened out. One day at a time, almost imperceptibly, I healed. Like a thermostat being turned down, my fears diminished. I began to experience moments of contentment. My emotions became less volatile. I am now once again a part of the human family."

Journeying through depression fits right into these two paragraphs for me. Of course, part of my journey was to quit drinking. But I wasn't always an alcoholic. My depression began long before I drank at all. My depression was characterized (in the past) by painful relationships, unmanageable situations, and unruly emotions. For a long time, I thought it was those people, places and things that were the problem. I didn't recognize the underlying depression. Through medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and most recently working the AA steps, I've been able to straighten out my broken places. Feeling a part of the human family has got to be one of the best feelings a person can have. I know I'm feeling well when I feel human, and today I'm feeling human. I hope you feel human, too.

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