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!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long workout, lazy day

Today was the running of our local marathon, but I was out doing a marathon workout of my own. Just as the runners were getting started miles away, I was hopping on my bike for a 34.4 mile ride. I had hoped to ride it in 90 minutes, but it was very hilly for the first 20 miles, and we all know I suck on hills, so it took me 1:50 to finish. I followed the ride with a 35 minute run. My legs were very tired! But it was a great workout. In total, I covered almost 40 miles in just under 2.5 hours.

After showering, I hoofed it to the marathon finish line to cheer. If you ever want to be inspired, check out the finish line of a marathon. Most of my friends had already finished, but I got to chat with a few of them. Seems most had a good day.

It's been a long, slow, lazy day since I returned from the marathon. I napped, paid my bills, and watched some college softball on TV. After such busy-ness over the past few weeks, it's strange to have nothing to do. That's not entirely true, I guess. There are several things I could do, but I'm choosing not to. I'm being lazy instead.

I could go golfing, but it's really hot. I could watch some work inservice videos, but who wants to sit inside and work on a holiday weekend? I could go help my parents move into their new RV, but they might drive me crazy! Instead, I'm resting, getting a little bored, and trying to figure out what to do next. Such problems I have these days, huh?

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Flashback

Today I got a comment on an old post from February 9, 2008. The post was so old, I didn't remember it. Well, I re-read it, and I liked it. It's called LIFE Interrupted, and here it is.

Today, this illness is interrupting my life. I guess I have not yet directly addressed this issue--depression interrupting my life. I've alluded to it multiple times. It is implied in several previous posts. In fact, now that I think about it, I've made it pretty damn obvious. But today, depression is blatantly interrupting my life.

Right now I am sitting in a very expensive, metropolitan hotel room next door to a very expensive, weekend training seminar which started three hours ago. Are you starting to see the problem? This is depression. This is depression screwing up my plans, cutting into my potential, and interrupting my life.

My illness does not care that I have spent this time and money in an effort to better my situation. This illness mocks goal-setting and planning. While I endeavor to remove myself from disability, depression slips silently alongside me, barely holding back a sneer, as it endeavors to break my stride. Then as if on some predetermined cue, out it comes to block my way. Today, my depression is not so silent. It is loud. It is clear. It is directly in my way.

Today, depression is blatantly interrupting my life.
And I hate it.

I hate it, but seven years of my sneaky depression's dance have forced me to cope. I have learned some sneakiness, too. In years past, when depression jumped in my way, we fought. I punched, cut, kicked, screamed, slapped, scratched, and poured chemicals down my throat. Depression loved this! It highlighted its sneakiness! It allowed me to feel I was winning, momentarily, only to hit me harder after I'd knocked myself a notch further down. In the end, I was bruised, battered, and suicidal while depression had gained free residency in my soul.

Today, I will wait.

My depression is not so fond of this technique, but it works--sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Unfortunately, I cannot control the timeline, but perhaps waiting bores my combative depression into pulling up stakes sooner rather than later. The one thing I do know is by waiting I will not end up more bruised than I already am. As hard as it is, I cannot afford to panic. I cannot afford to think of the money and time I am "wasting". I cannot afford to feed my depression, as hard as that currently is.

So, here I am. I am waiting in a very expensive, metropolitan hotel room next door to a very expensive, weekend training seminar that started three hours ago. My depression has lept into my path today. It is blocking my way and interrupting my life--temporarily.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For your entertainment

It was one of those 90 degree, afternoon thunderstorm kind of days when I set out to explore a new bike trail east of Rochester. In fact, on my way to the trail there was about a ten minute downpour. Two minutes later, as I was unloading my bike from the back of my car, the sun was shining again.

I rode 9.25 miles north under sunny, puffy clouded skies. The bike trail was very nice. It travelled through the countryside. There were wide open sections with cows, pasture, and open fields. There were a few tree-lined sections, lots of bridges, and nary a building in site. Lovely. Until I turned around, that is.

As I faced south for the first time, ominous black, thick clouds greeted me. Apparently, they had been following me. Well, I thought, I only needed the rain to hold off for 25 minutes and I'd be back at my car. I started back at a brisk pace.

After about 15 minutes I was feeling pretty lucky. It was really dark, and the wind was stiff in my face, but it had yet to rain. Unfortunately, my luck ran out within the minute. Big rain problem, I thought. Then big wind, but I was still on my way. So I'd get a little wet... Ha!

I crouched low in my triathlon tuck, as the wind started sweeping me from the side. The rain was hard and heavy, and I was getting just a touch nervous. But I wasn't about to stop. I had nowhere else to go!

Suddenly, the rain was blowing in sheets across the path. The wind was so loud I could barely hear myself breathe. Oh well, I thought, at least I'm getting closer to my car. At about that moment, I looked up from my tuck. The trees in front of me were horizontal--parallel to the ground in the now fierce wind. Okay, that alarmed me just a bit. I rode harder. At least it's not hailing, I thought.

No sooner had that thought crossed my mind when, "THWACK!!" Something stung me hard in the back. What the...? Then, rat-a-tat-tat. I just had to laugh. Hail. I kept going. Thank God I had a helmet on my head! But the hail got heavier, and harder, and bigger. At 17 mph, hail kind of hurts!

About that time, I went across a road which intersected the path. As I crossed the open road, my breath was sucked right out of my chest. It wasn't until later that I remembered people in tornadoes describing just such a phenomenon. All I knew is that I couldn't breathe for a couple seconds. The wind picked up so fast it sounded like a train roaring down on me. Branches and hail were raining down upon me. Finally, I had to stop.

I was at mile 15.75 of my 18.5 mile ride. Fortunately, I had just entered a shallow valley lined with trees. I hugged up against a muddy hill for just a few minutes. I didn't want to stay there long. I figured the safest thing for me to do was to get my soaked, welted body to my car as quickly as I could. So as soon as the hail let up, I was on my bike again. Two minutes later, I was off. More wind, hail, and raining branches. As I crouched in some brush, I again chuckled to myself. How did I get myself into this? It was so pathetic, it was kind of funny.

The weather briefly let up again, and I began the final push to my car. I had to dismount two more times, as trees (yes, trees) had fallen across the path! I began to wonder if I had just ridden through a tornado.

Finally, my car appeared ahead. It began hailing again. As I disassembled my bike, so I could fit it into my tiny car, I cursed myself for not yet purchasing a bike rack. Then, comically, I had to struggle against the wind to keep my hatchback open long enough to shove my bike inside. Hail, rain, was unbelievable.

Finally, I got my bike in my car. But wait, this is the really comical part. In the time it took me to close my hatchback, walk around and get into my car, everything stopped. As I shut the driver's side door, the rain, the hail, and even the wind stopped. I sat there in my now silent car, and I laughed. There I was, a battered, drowned rat, and the sun was peeking over my shoulder. I drove home with my sunglasses on and my window open. It was sunny the rest of the day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Starting the week

A new week begins. I'm ready to go, drinking my coffee, watching SportsCenter, waiting for 8:30 when I can see my first patient just two blocks from my home. I love that.

I finished a long week yesterday by working 8 hours at Mayo--my weekend on-call position--and then attempting an 80 minute run in 90 degree heat and humidity. I say attempted because my legs were dead and the heat oppressive! Wow! I think it was just last week when we had several days in the 40's! I didn't quite make 80 minutes. I was done after sixty four.

But wait, I have an even better reason than the heat for coming up short! On Saturday, I had a three workout day. I started with the usual cable class strength workout. An hour later, on a very windy day, I was on my bike. After 20 miles, I jumped off the bike and ran 4 miles. Despite feeling shredded, I was pretty pleased with my effort. It was a tough workout, and I did it. I feel like I'm getting ready for the triathlon, which is now just one month away.

I'm hoping things settle down a little bit this week. I don't think I can handle many more days of high stress. I worry about my mood taking a hit if things stay so busy. Fortunately, I have 1-2 fewer workouts scheduled this week, as I start counting down to the race. Unfortunately, work is going to be very busy. Since I still feel very, very new, work already feels stressful. I've got to cut myself some slack, I think, and be okay with questions and mistakes. To keep my mood in check, I've got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and pray for a little serenity this week. If I start feeling out of whack, you'll hear it here first, as this will be the first place I look for solace. Thank you all for that.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My weary bones

I wonder if I got hit by a mack truck in my sleep. It sure feels like it. Actually, it started yesterday. My whole body aches and my muscles feel totally spent. Even my brain hurts! I think Wednesday was just a little too busy, and things really haven't let up since.

On Wednesday, besides my regular two-a-day workouts, I also had golf lessons and a softball game. Worse yet, the softball game started at 9:15 PM! I'm usually sound asleep by then! It didn't help matters that we lost our game 30-something to one. That was frustrating. Perhaps I need to find a more competitive team. But I digress...where was I? Oh yes, Wednesday--Wednesday was a very long day.

Yesterday wasn't much better. I did the start-of-care patient I wrote about in the previous post. The whole process is supposed to take around 3 hours. It took me 6 hours to finish it! I spent two hours with the patient and four hours reviewing history and documenting. I was so overwhelmed when I got back to the office I almost started crying when someone asked me how it went. That startled me. I know I'm frazzled if routine questions bring me to near-tears.

I was tired and sore when I got home, and for the first time since January (except in the case of illness) I skipped a workout. I was supposed to ride my bike for 60 minutes, but I just couldn't do it. I figured I'd better listen to my body, even though that was hard to do. After all, I wasn't happy with what my bod was saying. I did get the strength workout done before work yesterday, so I didn't miss everything.

I contemplated adding the 60 minutes onto today's schedule, but it's been a long, long day again, and I'm still tired and sore. I dragged myself out of bed this morning, went to the pool, and swam 2000 yards. That's a long way when you're tired. I have to ride and run tomorrow, so it doesn't make sense to add another bike ride into tonight's schedule. I'm trying to be okay with letting it go undone. How am I doing so far? I really hope my bones aren't so weary in the morning.

There's much more going on, but I'm tired of looking at a computer. I've been using one all day, so I'm going to sign off for now. I'm sorry for the brevity. Hopefully life will slow down soon. Then I can give you, and me, more time.

The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win. --Roger Bannister

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too much on my plate

I'm feeling overwhelmed today. I think I've got too much going on. My head is trying to keep everything straight, but I feel like I'm running in a million different directions. I have lists of things to do, things to look up, things to buy, errands to run, people to call, and chores to be done. On top of that, I'm in the midst of the most difficult, and time consuming, week of my triathlon training. It's all getting to be a bit too much.

I'm worried about work. Tomorrow I have a "Start of Care" to do. That means I will be the first provider from my agency to meet with a new patient. Most of the time the nurses are the first ones into the home, and I come along later. But tomorrow it will be me, and it will be the first time I'll be doing a start of care. It's a very lengthy process. I'm told it takes at least 1.5 hours in the patient's home and then another 2 hours of paperwork. So I'm stressed about that.

I'm also stressed about my remodeling project, which hit a major snag today. My plumbing rough-in failed inspection. It didn't just fail. It failed miserably. It needs to be torn out and re-done. Does anyone know a good plumber? This means more work, more time, and most unfortunately, more money for me. We're just getting started and already the dollars are adding up. This is not a hopeful sign.

Despite having to wait for the plumbing inspector for three hours, I did get my workouts in today. I started my day early with a strength training class, but I didn't get on my bike until after 4 PM. I did a brick workout. I rode for 60 minutes followed by an immediate 30 minute run. It went okay. My legs were very tired on the bike, and I had some cramping in my calves during my run--not typical for me. Not sure what that was all about. Maybe it was the stress wearing me out.

Looking ahead, things don't get any simpler. I'll be up and in the pool early tomorrow because after work I have a golf lesson followed by a softball game! I'm not sure when I'll squeeze in the run. There are a few too many things on my plate at the moment. I'll really have to work on staying in the moment and taking things one day at a time. Looking ahead is too overwhelming. I need to stop doing that. One moment at a time, right? Taking just one moment at a time will eventually get me through...I think. I hope.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


It was a three workout day yesterday, and I did it. Even though I'm still recovering from last week's illness, I had an unusual amount of energy. Maybe I'm actually getting in shape?? It was a great day.

I started out with my usual AA meeting before heading off to the gym for a cable class strength workout. Oh my God, the instructor worked us hard! It was great! My muscles were burning from the effort. It's so nice for me to have an instructor tell me what to do. I find I work a lot harder than I could ever manage on my own. I left the gym around 11 AM, treated myself to a caramel latte at McDonald's, and went home for lunch.

After letting my food settle for an hour, I was out the door with Puck by 1:00 for an interval run. My boy made it about halfway through the 37 minute run, but at least he didn't end up limping. It was a beautiful day. I tried to relax through the quick intervals while soaking up the sun during the relaxed running sections. The run went well, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worrying about the upcoming bike ride.

My quads were already tired when I mounted my bike at 4 o'clock. Thankfully, my friend Renee agreed to ride with me despite the fact that she'd already run 22 miles! She's nuts (and amazing)! I was grateful for the company. It's much easier to push through discomfort, or boredom, when I've got training partners. I confirmed that I'm still really weak going up hills, as Renee easily rode away from me on every one. Regardless, we had a really nice 21+ mile, 72 minute, ride.

After showering, I treated my parents to some good pizza. They're both sick right now, so I spent some time with them before heading back home for bed. Needless to say, I slept really well. I'm really pleased with what I did yesterday, although I'm not breaking my arm patting myself on the back yet. Today, I've got a 60 minute run followed by 2300 yards of swim intervals. My legs are tired, so I think it will be a little tougher than yesterday, but I'm still looking forward to it. After all, Monday is a rest day!

I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.--John D. Rockefeller

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Oh my gosh, I've been busy! Yesterday was a very full day, made fuller by me not dragging my butt out of bed to workout before work. I had a morning filled with patients, an hour break at lunch, during which time I ran with Puck, and then an afternoon filled with patients. By the time I finished my paperwork it was 5:30. My golf lesson began at 6:00, and by 7:00 I was in the pool doing intervals. Uff dah! Thankfully, my mom made delicious pea soup for dinner, which we ate around 8:30-9:00! I was bushed by the time my head hit the pillow.

Today has been more of the same. I actually got my butt out of bed early this time, so I was done with the strength portion of my workout by 7:00 AM. I still need to ride my bike for 70 minutes, but I'm not sure when that's going to fit in! I had a dentist appointment, followed by 3 hours at work, followed by emptying out my basement for the soon-to-be-started construction down there. I'm taking this break now, but I have to type quick in order to eat dinner and get to the track club board meeting on time. I guess I'll be biking right up until bed time. Uff dah! Again.

I'm feeling a little stressed with all the activity. I'm being careful and monitoring my mood because I can sense danger lurking. I wonder what it's like to be a normie--not having to worry about stress landing you in a hole must be nice. I don't think many more days of this would be recommended, so I'm hoping to feel a little slowing and relief soon. Whether that happens or not, you'll likely be the first to know! Gotta go!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Let's go Golfing!

So what if it's 45 degrees, gray, blowing, and soon to be very wet! I've got the first of four golf lessons tonight. Because I don't have enough to do, right?! Well, it will be fun. I'm going with my step-dad. Until last year, he hadn't golfed in 20 years. Me? I'm a beginner. I had some lessons about 6-7 years ago, but then I didn't play until last year, so I forgot most of what I'd learned. I'm looking forward to learning the correct way to play, despite the weather.

I'm feeling better. Still a little off, still need lots of sleep, and now I have a nasty cough, but my congestion has cleared up. Yesterday I overdid it. I rode a really hilly bike workout for 50 minutes. Immediately afterward I crashed! My muscles ached. I felt feverish. I got a stabbing headache. I guess my body wasn't quite ready for that level of effort yet. I went straight to bed--after taking some Advil--and that helped so much that I was able to go for a slow 20 minute run later in the evening. Puck was thrilled with that.

Puck still has me concerned. I wonder if he doesn't have arthritis in his feet. Over the past week, he limped on one leg for a few days and then limped on another for a few days after that. I've upped his arthritis med, and today he seems to be walking equally on all four. But he's not himself. Any exercise leaves him sore, yet he goes stir crazy without exercise. I just don't know what to do. Damn, I wish he could talk!

Work went well today. I'm getting used to all the paperwork, but it's still a lot to remember. My mood seems to be okay, too, despite the stress of being sick and learning a new job. I'm hanging in there. I hope you are, too.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Getting back to it

I finally managed to pull myself out of bed long enough to get out of my house today. I'm still feeling poorly, but I've recovered enough to head back into civilization.

I went to my AA meeting this morning. It was nice to see my sponsor and good to be around like-minded souls for an hour. My sponsor approached me before the meeting and said, "I know you're feeling poor physically, but how's this?" She was pointing to her head. How refreshing--she was worried about my mood. I was impressed. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to those of you without depression, but it was a big deal. In that one statement, she recognized and acknowledged that illness can, and often does, impact my mood. Fortunately, I've been able to keep the depression monster at bay up to this point. It was nice to be able to report that, and it was just as nice that she asked the question.

After my meeting, I walked over to my gym for a swim. But when I got there, a cable strengthening class was just about to begin, so I jumped in. I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle it, but after 45 minutes I was still standing. I swam for 30 minutes after that. I was really tired once I finished, but I was also really satisfied with the effort. It felt good to be on my feet moving my body again. Needless to say, all I could do once I got home was nap, and that's exactly what I did. Ahhhhh...

My productive day continued with laundry, vacuuming, and generally cleaning up my messy house. Tonight, I've got dinner and a movie with friends. I'm not sure how social I'll be, but it will be a nice end to a pretty good day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


UGH! I woke up this morning with a sore throat, runny nose, achy muscles and joints. I felt like crap. I still feel like crap. Feeling like crap makes me crabby. I don't like being sick, and I don't like being crabby, but today I was both. I'm sure I was quite pleasant to be around.

I'm also cranky because I missed my workouts as a result of feeling like crap. I'm not a fan of missing my workouts either, but you probably could have guessed that one. It was smarter that I didn't go while feeling ill, but it still bugs me to miss them. Anyway, enough complaining.

On to gratitude... I'm extremely grateful to be at Bill and Cindy's house again, and at supper time, too! And they invited me despite the fact that I'm sick! With their company and Bill's cooking, I'll likely be all better by morning. I'll probably have more to say then, too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Exhausted, but still here.

This will probably be short. I'm over at the home of my friends, Bill and Cindy. They are making me dinner, which is so nice, because I've eaten here for the past two nights as well. I'm too whipped to make anything on my own, and I think they must sense that. It's nice to have good friends.

I'm whipped because I'm on my own this week, at my job, for the first time. No other PT training me. I've got to schedule my own patients, figure out my own paperwork, and answer my own questions. On top of that, I've worked the past two days in a row while also trying to maintain this crazy training schedule. I'm tired!

Speaking of training, yesterday was a good training day, but a bad day for my bike. I got up really early, 4:30 AM, to get to the gym for a strength training class. Then I rode 30 minutes of my scheduled 70 minute ride on the stationary bike. After working 10.25 hours, I rode my tri bike 40 minutes. Everything was great...until I stopped.

When I stopped, the distinct sound of air leaking hit my ears. It turns out, not one but both tires were quickly deflating. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't ridden over anything visible. I even retraced the last 20-40 feet of my ride to look--nothing! Now I know I should be grateful that this happened at the end of my ride, and I am. It would have really sucked if I had had to walk several miles carrying a bike! But with changing jobs, money is kind of screwed up at the moment, and tires are expensive! Oh well...that's the end of my pity party. I'll get them replaced when I can, and I'll move on. Thanks for letting me vent.

Onward and upward, I will move. I have tomorrow off, and I plan to sleep well tonight. Tomorrow calls for a good interval swim and 50 minutes of running. The workout will be great, but the nap following the workout will be spectacular! Carry on, friends.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A great race!

What a way to start May--I ran a PR in a 15K race today. I averaged 7:43 per mile and finished in 1:11:47. It was a small field, but I was the seventh woman overall and third in my age group.

The 1:11:47 was quite a nice surprise. I really had no idea what to expect today. The race was 9.3 miles long, and I hadn't run more than 6 miles since early December. I didn't know how triathlon training, including only 2-3 running days per week, would translate in a distance race. I guess I must be doing something right, because even with this extra weight I'm carrying around, I was still able to run relatively fast. Last year, I finished this same race in 1:15, Like I said, a PR 1:11 was a nice surprise.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to fit in the rest of the weekend's work. Between tonight and tomorrow I need to swim a 60 minute interval workout, bike 60 minutes, mow my lawn, attend softball practice, and prepare for this week's patients. I'm feeling just a bit overwhelmed! Could I have another weekend day, please?

After the race today, I came home and demolished the one remaining wall and section of ceiling in my basement. That was a little tougher than I had anticipated, but I got all the plaster, Sheetrock, and wood out and to the dump. My basement is now totally ready to be re-finished, a process that will hopefully start within the next few weeks. I'm a bit alarmed at how much it's going to cost, but I'm tired of being without my exercise/rec room and additional bathroom down there. (My basement flooded 3 years ago, and I had to demolish and remove everything secondary to mold.) It'll be nice to have a whole house again.

With tomorrow's busy-ness looming, I think I'll sign off for now. I may try to get my biking in tonight, but I think I'll just use my stationary bike rather than going outside. I don't think my tired legs will handle hills very well tonight or tomorrow. Of course, I may choose to sit and watch Law and Order re-runs instead!
Have a great evening.

Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.--Zig Ziglar