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, December 13, 2012

12 Years

I passed a dubious anniversary recently. Maybe some of you noticed. In the introduction to my blog, where it used to say eleven years, it now says twelve. It's now been 12 years in which I've been suffering from, fighting against, surviving despite, and living with depression. Twelve years...

This life-altering journey began in November, 2000. The depth of my illness, alcoholic drinking, and ECT have robbed me of much of my memory of the last 12 years, especially those early years. Maybe that's for the best. Memories can be a double-edged sword. But while I don't remember many details of this battle, I do vividly remember the person I was prior to this long journey. And while I'd like to retrieve a lot of pre-illness things, which I lost along the way, I do not miss that lost person.

This illness stole much from me, but I'd rather not focus on that today. Depression also gave me an opportunity to grow. It challenged my perseverance, my toughness, and my character. It taught me acceptance and humility. It changed me from a self-centered, controlling, stressed, know-it-all to a more open, get-along person who has come to know some serenity and peace. Today I can see beyond the boundaries of me and put myself in an other's shoes. I've grown. I'm grateful for that.

Don't misunderstand me. Depression is not something I'd wish on my worst enemy. The stigma alone is more than most can bear. This illness debilitates bodies, clouds minds, and steals souls. It is a challenge nobody deserves. I hate it.

These last twelve years were full of challenges which felt too overwhelming to overcome. But overcome I did. My survival was often ugly and usually painful. Depression took me to the edge of life more than once. But I'm still here. Stronger. Kinder. Better. On this dubious anniversary, at least I can celebrate that.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Being a stronger, kinder, better person is a lot to celebrate. You have persevered and endured a lot, and you have the compassion to share your journey to help others. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing and I love how open you talk about depression and how you are feeling. Your blog is really helping me dealing with my depression. Thanks

Sassy said...

You deserve much celebration, your strength is a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing about your difficult challenges and for reminding us that we too can find the strength within to overcome our difficulties.


jim said...

You write the most inspiring things at just the right time. You express gratitude for what depression has brought you and how you have grown. In the past few weeks I have been looking at guns to buy. Nothing was working for me, not new medication, exercise, meditation. Now I feel selfish. I forgot about gratitude.
Thank you.

jim said...

And by the way I am at 25 years. I hope yours does not last as long