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!

Friday, March 9, 2012


The owner of the facility in which I work really threw me a curve today. He asked, more like demanded, that I change my schedule. You're probably thinking, "No big deal," but it is to me. I was hired to work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since working my way off disability several years ago, this is the schedule I have worked. And there is a reason for it. Working two days in a row wipes me out. I know, I know, that sounds silly. How can someone who runs marathons get wiped out just working back to back days? I don't know exactly, but that's the way it's been since I returned to work while living with this illness.

Prior to depression, I worked full-time. In fact, I worked 10 hour days! I'd like to work more these days as well. But every time I try, and every time I work back to back days, I get wiped out. When I'm wiped out, it takes another day to recover, which means my running suffers as well. And I think I've recently demonstrated how important running is to maintaining my mood. So ultimately, working two days in a row, on a regular basis, has not proved to be good for my mental health.

Doing anything that risks my mental health scares me to death, and that's why I told the owner, "No." No I would not trade my Wednesday for a Tuesday or Thursday, as he wished. In fact, when he insisted, I told him, if that was the case, I would have to leave. He backed off a bit, but not before laying a huge guilt trip on me. He demanded to know why I wouldn't switch. I told him, in a very politically correct manner, it was none of his business. It was a very tense conversation.

The reality is my life is arranged around my Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Not only does it keep me from working back to back days, it is my way of life, and it has been for years. Most significantly, my running schedule is arranged around my work schedule. My doctor appointments, therapist appointments and every other regularly scheduled appointment I have is arranged around it. It's familiar, and it works.

I realize all of these things are changeable. I'm wondering now if I'm being too rigid. Why can't I just do as he asked...uh, demanded. Maybe it would be okay. And maybe it wouldn't. I don't know. I guess his guilt trip is working a bit. But I'm also now actively looking for a new place to work.


Anonymous said...

Well it's 4am and I just found your blog and wanted to comment. I too now work 3 days a week and find this helps and works with my depression, former depression? Who knows! Anyhoo.........My employer wants me to work full time and I keep refusing and after first feeling bad about it, like I was letting them down - i no longer do. I signed a contract for 3 specific days a week and thats what I do - that is the agreement I AND THEY made. If they want to change it and you don;t - you have done the right thing to politely refuse and you are perfectly within your rights to say "No thanks, I am good with the origianl agreement" and not feel bad about it. Whilst it might not be a bad thing for you to change up the routine just to test yourself - I would say that any changes should be driven by you - not someone else. he may have thrown you a curveball but instead of running to try and catch it - just stand still and watch it whizz by and think nothing more of it. It's his curveball, not yours. Your blog is inspirational. Hugs

Kinza said...

It is very good that you know what you want and need. Don't mess with it unless you are not sure you want to try a different schedule. Try to be calm about it. Knowing clearly your position is invaluable.

Alyson said...

I found your blog today and so glad I did. The title jumped out at me. Most likely because I googled marathon depression...

You see I am a blogger and started my blog because I battle from serious depression...and running has kept me sane.
This year however I am training for my first marathon and I'm dipping REALLY REALLY far down.

I actually think the stress of the training is doing it.

I was looking through your blog and can relate. thank you for keeping it real. I have been sensoring myself lately from fear of letting the real me out there and people I know calling me on it.
Your blog will help alot of people.

thanks for the inspiration and motivation.


B Patrick Lewis said...

Stay the course! God has his hand on you. Your blog and your willingness to share is a blessing. Thank you!

Jean Grey said...

I have recently found your blog, and I find it very inspiring.

If working MWF is what works for you, I hope you find a way to keep doing it. I spent a miserable year and a half at a job that didn't fit, and there weren't enough drugs in the world to make me better until I left.

HBF said...

I'm pumping the *POWER TO THE WOMAN* fist for ya girl-it matters and I'm proud of you for standing up for yourself that way!

Jojesek said...

Good for you for standing up for what's best for you. Sometimes doing that is a huge battle and I hope you don't allow yourself to feel guilty for taking care of yourself instead of this guy. Although it's true that those things are changeable I wouldn't think it worth the risk. Stick to your guns!

Lynn said...

Good for you for sticking to the schedule you've so carefully worked out. I like the way you responded to your boss: with civility but without letting him guilt-trip you. There's a good reason for your schedule choice. Your boss should respect your choices and assume that, as an obviously responsible employee, that you've made them carefully.
People seem to assume that working part-time is a luxury afforded by having a wealthy spouse, and that somehow not working full-time is self-indulgent. It's a choice involving quality of life and often a degree of sacrifice. That said, I find I tend to give in to guilt feelings by working extra, unpaid hours. No one puts pressure I'm me to do this, and your post has got me thinking about guilt, expectation, conditioning, etc, as unconscious and sometimes unhealthy motivators.

Bryan Chambers said...

Great post!  I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.