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!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Own Private Roller Coaster

Up and down, round and round, up and down I go. In the last couple days, I have felt better and then worse, and then I've been better, and then I've been worse. Sometimes the better has lasted hours. Sometimes it's been only minutes of relief. It's so frustrating. I am beside myself. I don't know what else to do. I don't feel like I can expect anything to stay the same for very long.

Today was particularly frustrating and painful. I felt okay when I got out of bed. I went for my tempo run, as planned, prior to seeing my psychiatrist at 8:30 AM. After my run, the world went dark. I crashed. By the time I saw my doc, I could barely hear myself talk. She increased one of my meds. It's helped in the past.

I slept much of the day. I could hardly wake up. Everything was slowed. I was so low. Earlier in the week, I planned to run a cross country, 5K race tonight. As race time approached, I forced myself out the door. The race was literally just down the road at a local golf course. I got there, signed up to run, and then sat on a tree stump awaiting the start. The high school cross country meet was still being run, so there were probably 500 parents, spectators, and kids running around. I felt alone in the crowd.

I began to leave, but someone stopped me to chat. I ended up running the race, a difficult, hilly affair, and I ran well. Go figure. The pain of effort felt better than the pain of emptiness. I came home 1.5 hours after I left, and my mood was good. It was like night and day.

I chatted on the phone with some friends who had been concerned. I told them I was okay. After that I took Puck for our usual walk. We were half way through our walk when the darkness descended again. Within 45 minutes of telling my friends I was well, I felt dark, heavy and alone. It didn't make any sense.

I am frustrated and baffled. It seems I am on my own private roller coaster. I'm doing life. I'm working, running, staying connected with friends, and following doctor's orders. But I can't seem to get off the roller coaster.

Huh... I just re-read this post, and I realized something. I wouldn't expect a cancer patient's illness to go into remission because she was doing all the "right" things. I wouldn't expect a diabetic to suddenly be free of diabetes because he went to work. Why am I expecting my depression to magically go away? It seems I'm forgetting this is an illness. And sometimes, like many illnesses, it just doesn't make sense.

This roller coaster is no fun. Feeling low sucks. I'd like to be able to change my illness with my actions, but I think I've now proven there's more to it than that. I think it is important to keep doing what I've been doing. I'd likely feel a hell of a lot worse right now if I hadn't taken my meds or run that race. But I have to remember I'm dealing with depression--the illness--and sometimes, no matter what I do, it rears its ugly, ugly head. I'll try to be more patient. This too, I know, shall pass.


Ruby Tuesday said...

Hang in there Etta, you sound like you are doing all the right things

Sending you a hug x

jim said...

beautifully written as usual Etta. You are right, beating yourself up mentally for having a relapse does you no good, but doing so is all too common for us. Thanks for illuminating that again so well.

Unknown said...

Good luck to you. It´s good to read your blog.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I'm sorry you're on this roller coaster. You are doing all the right things. And you are so right--doing all the right things doesn't guarantee cure of or remission of the illness, and depression is an illness. This was a good reminder for me. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got out there and ran the race. I hope you will feel like yourself again very soon!

PyroluriaLife said...

Hi, stumbled across your blog while trying to read the whole Internet. Your post is well written.

I can sympathise with the 'roller coaster' scenario, I was riding that for a number of years before I discovered I had Pyroluria. I still have to be careful to stick to the right diet and take the right supplements but I'm getting there. I have some 'beautiful' days now.

Good luck in your journey to health.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to this post. For me, the roller coaster of emotions is so much more exhausting and frustrating when it changes that frequently. It is also frustrating to not be able to pinpoint a reason for the mood drops..but like you said, it is an illness. Take care and thanks for your honesty.