Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A gratitude day

I was up early this morning. Today was my last scheduled 20-miler before my marathon, which is only 3 weeks away. I was outside running by 5:00 AM. It was dark and very humid. Puck and I did our typical warm-up loop together before I dropped him at home and went out to complete my own 8 mile loop. By 4 miles, the sun was coming up. The sky was filled with light, fluffy, pink clouds. It was beautiful. I thanked God.

That thank you started my gratitude list. As I ran, I thought of all my good fortune. I thanked God for the foot path and the healthy body with which I was performing. I was so lucky to be out there at that beautiful time of day, feeling well, and doing something I loved. I thanked God for my new relationship and the excitement it has brought to my life. And I thanked God for those who have helped me get this far.

I have been given so much by so many people. One by one I thanked God for each of them. First up was my doctor, with whom I have been working for almost ten years. I don't know what I'd do without her. She has seen me through thick and thin. Next came my therapist. She's also been with me for awhile. She's given me her best when I've been at my worst, and she's another big reason I was out enjoying dawn this morning. I thanked God for my social worker. She's made herself available no matter what my dilemma. As the sun continued to slide, I included friends like Bill and Cindy. I could write an entire post about how much they mean in my life. I love them both. On and on I went, thanking God for all of them. I've been blessed.

Before I knew it, the miles had passed, and I was back at home. I jumped in my car and headed out for my 11 mile race. Yes, I did an 11 mile race as part of my 20-miler.  I tried to remain grateful as I raced along the lovely trail on which the race was run. It was an out and back course, and if it had been about one mile shorter it would have been perfect. I ran around 8 minutes per mile until the last two miles, which is when I crashed. Nevertheless, I finished in the top 5 women (there weren't many women there) and first in my age group. It hurt a lot, and I'm not sure I'll do that again, but I'm pleased with the results. I think my training has prepared me well for this upcoming marathon. Again, I'm grateful for that.

Thinking about what's going well, thanking God for those around me, and having an attitude of gratitude keep me stable today. We all have something for which we can be grateful even when the black hole of depression sucks us in. It's important for me to remember that. Gratitude gives us a break from grief, distracts us from misery, or adds a special dimension to a scenic run. I am grateful today.


Chemical Emily said...

I really struggle sometimes with staying grateful. When you're depressed, it's so difficult to remind yourself that there are in fact things that are good in your life that deserve thanks. Thanks for reminding me to stay grateful, and congratulations on the race! I am in awe of all athletes.

Anonymous said...

....Yes you are very blessed and have much to be grateful for ~ but don't forget you are a blessing too.....I am grateful for your willingness to share your matters....

Maggie Beth

Michael Irving said...

It was a pleasure to read about your running and therapy to overcome the weight and despair of depression. I know how heavy it can be. I had a heart attack and stroke that was followed by open heart surgery six years about. One of my surgeons pointed out the emotional distress that was significantly contributing to my heart disease (heart dis-ease?). Psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation, getting life in balance and running helped turn my life around. I went from couch potato to completing five marathons in 12 weeks to celebrate turning 65-years-old. I call my 65th birthday marathon a Gratitude Day Marathon. I went by more than 60 clinics, business, hospitals, offices and friends’ homes to express gratitude and loving-kindness for their contribution in reversing my heart disease and my emotional stress and conflicts. I dropped in a left a thank you card and explanation letter at each place, which kind of added to my time and distance as I walked many hallways. As the long marathon day progressed I was impressed by how much energy and vitality was given back to me by gratitude and loving-kindness. Your blog reminds me of that day and all of its goodness and brings back many of the positive feeling, thank you etta.