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!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Two days ago, my treatment team decided it was time to go to the hospital. I'm not there. Long story short, there were no psych beds available in the local hospital. Actually, there were no beds available in the entire state of Minnesota. How crazy is that? Can you imagine a cancer patient needing to be hospitalized and being told, "Sorry, no bed for you." I could get into a long, political discussion about why there are so few psych beds available, but I just don't have the energy for it. It's yet another example of how mental illness is not treated on par with other illnesses. Let's leave it at that.

So for the past three days, I've been staying with my friends, Bill and Cindy. They've graciously taken me in and agreed to keep track of me. They are my safety net for now, and it is a relief to be here. My MD has taken me off work, so I can take my meds as needed without fear of them making me too sleepy to treat my patients. I don't have to cook. And I have someone to sit with when things feel particularly dark. It's not the hospital, but it's safer than being home alone.

At home alone, my safety was becoming an issue. As is typical, when my mood grew darker, my thoughts grew more frightening. I am not suicidal. Let me repeat that, I am not suicidal. But part of my darkness includes violent, scary thoughts. And fighting violent, scary thoughts for days and days became exhausting. Some of the violent, scary thoughts began to look more appealing. If I gave up fighting the thoughts, I could finally give up...get a I guess it's sort of a passive suicidal state. I had no plans to kill myself, but I wasn't sure how long I could have kept fighting. Hence, the hospital recommendation.

At this point, there are still no hospital beds available. I'm in the land of limbo. My thinking has been slightly better since arriving here, but after spending two hours alone at home today it was clear nothing had changed. I came back feeling bruised and battered, and I immediately fell asleep. I'm doing the best I can, yet I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel stuck. I want to be working. I want to take Puck to the vet. I want to follow through on my commitments. But I haven't been able to do those things, and I'm not sure when I should start testing the waters. Limbo. I hate this illness.


The Depressed Reader said...

Hi Etta,
I'm sorry to hear that things have taken a turn for the worse, but I am glad to hear that your friends are there for you.

I know that that this battle has been long and hard for you, and that it is unfair that mental illness isn't resourced or given the same level of importance as other types of illness. But hang in there. This too will pass, and you'll get through this. My best wishes to you.

Ann Hale said...

I'm so shocked at our health care system right now. Two weeks ago I was in the ER due to an overdose and they didn't end up sending me to the psych ward. Why? No beds. Even more crazy, they let me go after only staying there two nights.

I, too, am not staying at home right now. I'm back with my mother (at the age of 30, how embarrassing.) I'm feeling ok at the moment, but I also have those thoughts - when should I take the training wheels off? I go back home every other day or two to grab mail or to visit with my partner, and it's tempting to just go back permanently, but the every day tasks of feeding the animals, doing my laundry, cleaning the house, etc, are just too overwhelming to think about.

Hang in there. This limbo feels like crap but I'm sure that when the time is right, we'll know it. And, if we try too early, our safety net is still there for us to fall back on.

Kitty said...

You are such a strong person, and I am proud of you. It takes courage to rely on others.

Anonymous said...

hang in there

Antoni :) said...


One thing I discovered from reading about CBT is not to fight the thoughts. You almost have to do nothing. Let them in, let them say what they want to say and then let them out. It really does work.

Imagine they are passengers at a railway station. They wont be around for along. Sooner or later thay will get on a train and go.

I know what it is like to have horrible dark thoughts. But that is all they are: just thoughts - and thoughts can be changed. Fight them by not taking their bait. The show cannot go on if there isn't an audience. How do you know these thoughts are true? They aren't. You can break out of this limbo loop. You can, you can, you can.

Take care.

etta said...

@ Antoni:
An excellent description of CBT, Antoni. Thanks for the reminder.