Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 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, April 6, 2013


I have good news. My energy level is improving! As I noted here in previous posts, I have a recent history of significant fatigue, and I have been suffering mightily during my runs, even struggling to complete most of my long runs. A couple of weeks ago, my doctor ordered blood tests, and we discovered my ferritin level was low.

Ferritin is a protein found inside cells that stores iron. The amount of ferritin in your blood (serum ferritin level) is directly related to the amount of iron stored in your body. Without iron, the blood cannot carry oxygen effectively, and you become fatigued easily. That was exactly my experience. I couldn't figure out why, as a trained marathoner, I was becoming breathless while climbing one flight of stairs. And I was getting really worried about my running. It was consistently difficult!

The discovery of the low ferritin level was actually a relief. My symptoms made sense, and it meant I wasn't just an aging runner hitting the wall. I began taking an iron supplement about 10 days ago. In my online research, I discovered it could take many months, anywhere from 3 to 12, to restore my iron levels in the bone marrow. I also read some running forums. Many runners reported it took several months for their energy and running to get back on track, too. That concerned me, but at least I knew it was a fixable problem.

Well, my running is getting easier already! I had a class all day today, and I'm working tomorrow, so I did my long run this past Thursday. I went 17.25 miles, and I felt good! I finished easily! I recovered well. I was thrilled! What a difference ten days make! I certainly hope this is the beginning of the recovery of my energy and my running performance. I'm planning a fast 8-miler after work tomorrow. That will be another good test, I think.

I'm so grateful my doctor believed what I was telling her and ordered those blood tests. I'm so glad something so easily fixable was the cause of my symptoms. And I'm really excited to be feeling more energized already. I was prepared to wait the 3 to 12 months for resolution, but I gladly welcome these early signs of improvement! I sure hope it continues.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Wonderful news! I'm glad you're getting your energy back. I hope the improvement continues!

Anonymous said...

YEAH! So happy for you!!! It's scary how little things can totally influence our well being. Glad you have your happy running back :)

Milady said...


I have a question about your blog, could you please email me? Thanks!!


etta said...

@ Milady, Send your question through the comments with your email address. I won't publish your comment.