Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eleven Years

It's time to change the description on my blog again. When I first began this blog, it read, "Diagnosed with depression 8 years ago, I lost the life I once knew..." And then it was 9 years. And then, until today, the number was ten. It's now been 11 years since my journey with depression ensued. Around Thanksgiving, 2000, I first noticed I wasn't feeling quite right. Eleven years ago...

Not quite right was exactly how I described it at the time. I knew something was off. I knew I wasn't myself.  Having had depression as a teenager, the symptoms soon became all too familiar. Within a short period of time, I knew it was depression. And it took me quickly. It was only a few more months before my first hospitalization in the spring of 2001. If only I knew then what I know now.

At that time I thought a short hospital stay and initiating medication would get me back to normal. I was hopeful. I had no idea the journey that lay ahead. I had no idea of the losses I would incur, or the depths to which this illness would drag me. I never imagined losing my job and living on disability. I never dreamed I'd require ECT in order to function. I never thought my spouse would leave, nor that I'd be alone. Those were not pictures I had of my life. My life today looks nothing like the life I had 11 years ago.

I look nothing like I looked 11 years ago either, and I don't mean physically. In losing so much, I've also gained. I've gathered some wonderful people, friends and professionals, around me. Depression forced me into relationships. These are people I likely would have never known nor thought I needed. Today I trust them with my intimate details and count on them when I need assistance. They keep me safe, and I am forever grateful.

In 11 years I lost the person I used to be, but that turned out to be okay. Chronic, debilitating depression gave me a new perspective. It's true what they say. Illness makes a person see things differently. I notice more and worry less. I discovered living one day at a time, even though I don't always practice it, and gained the gift of gratitude. I'm less concerned about mistakes and less judgemental. I'm more honest, trusting and empathic. I'm a kinder, gentler, nicer person than I used to be. That's not so bad.

Still, it's been 11 years, and I'd be lying if I said I was celebrating. This is a time of reflection for me. Some reflections bring sadness and grief, others produce satisfaction and even joy. I'm proud of my resilience. I appreciate my acceptance of change. I'm pleased with this blog. I've accomplished some things despite this dreadful illness.

Depression is a dreadful, debilitating illness. It has, without my consent, irreparably altered my life. For 11 years, at its whim, depression has dragged me into the darkness, stolen my soul, and left me for dead. But I'm still trudging along. I'm still fighting. I'm still living. I'm especially proud of that.


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for your continued journey and sharing your soul to the world. You help so many and educate so much with your blog!

"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."- Edgar A Guest

So on this Thanksgiving week; I am thankful for you and your voice.

Spanner said...

Good morning Etta,
A good positive piece. It takes a bit of thought and care to write something with a positive edge. When it's so easy to complain and whine "why me." (and that goes for anything not just depression). Good for you and thank you for putting a postive in my day :-)

Be lucky, regards Spanner.