Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Sobering Run

Between miles 3 and 5, I couldn't stop thinking about Puck. Memories of the thousands of miles we ran together, his excited arrival in my bedroom every time I opened the "running clothes drawer," his gentle demeanor and our trusted 13-year bond; these and other warm recollections accompanied my every step. It took several minutes, but I finally realized the reason. Puck died 9 months ago today. As I write this now, tears fill my eyes. I miss you, buddy. You will always be mama's best boy.

Between miles 7 and 9, I decided to challenge myself and ran up a 2 mile long hill alongside a two lane highway. As I wished, it was a challenge, but it was also loud and grimy. Vehicles of every size streamed by at 60+ miles per hour. More than once I was showered with road grime as a semitrailer truck steamed past a little too close. As I finally crested the hill, at the large intersection with another two lane highway, an erie stillness replaced the chaos.

A long procession of police vehicles, sans sirens but with lights flashing, slowly approached from the right, turned right, and disappeared out of sight in front of me. Cars and pedestrians stacked up on all sides of the intersection as the procession silently continued. I realized I was likely witnessing the funeral procession of a 43-year-old sheriff's captain who was the victim of a shocking fatal heart attack earlier this week. It was an honorable, eerily quiet, somber scene. As the last vehicle cleared the intersection, I thanked God for my blessings and reflected on the cruel fickleness of life.

Between miles 13 and 15, I ran around the local lake where they were just finishing the annual suicide awareness and prevention walk. Survivors of suicide populated the path surrounding the lake with large placards filled with names, pictures, and artifacts of loved ones lost to suicide. I stopped at every placard I passed. It didn't take long before my heart heaved with sorrow.

A 14-year-old daughter and friend, a 23-year-old military veteran who never made it home from Iraq, a 50-year-old mother and grandmother, a 20-year-old handsome son; there were too many sorrows to comprehend. I ran past families with matching t-shirts proclaiming their love and loss and felt guilty doing such a trivial thing in the midst of their pain. Nevertheless, I continued on. Suicide has been on my mind lately. It was ironic to be surrounded by it 3/4 of the way through my run.

Twenty miles later, I am sitting in my living room alone. I'm tired, as usual, from my effort, but I'm also sad and reflective. I had a good run, a sobering run, on a beautiful day. Life is short, unpredictable, and sometimes unfair and/or hard. I'm reminded to speak up, to say thank you, I love you, or anything else I need to say, and to say it today. None of us is promised tomorrow. Be well, friends.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

So much sadness in the world and in our own lives. You're right--we should speak up and do what needs doing today because we may not have tomorrow.

I lost my cat Wa almost 2 years ago, and sometimes still, the pain hits me and I think I can't bear it. I do, of course. And she visits me sometimes in my dreams.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your generosity in telling about your pain. I too am in healthcare and I have been battling this beast for 17 years. Best of luck or your health.

Anonymous said...

I have been "lurking" for several months now, but today's post made me want to speak up.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear, sweet Puck.
I am so impressed with your running. I imagine what it would be like to be able to run (I'm too overweight right now) and I imagine how proud you must be of yourself when you get home from another run.
The run from today's entry was so poignant. You have a really great heart for honoring people - slowing down to read the placards etc.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you have a fan in Tennessee and that I wish you joy in all your running!
Best wishes,
Carol T.

etta said...

Thank you, Carol T. Welcome! I have the utmost respect for Pat Summitt and enjoy watching The Lady Vols. Maybe one day I'll get there to see your fine state and take in a game up close.

Leo said...

Now I can totally relate to what you say Etta, I think that some things are just too deep inside of us to completely let them go, and setting our minds to other activities will not make the problems go away, but may give us a different (and potentially more positive) view of existence. At least that was my case when I battled my way out of depression. Funny things our minds are... Next time you do this, it's ok to think about deep things like these, but also remember that life is not a big mass of stuff, it is a succession of individual moments!

I wasn't able to contact you via email (I couldn't find it) but I want to thank you immensely for giving this very introspective and honest blog to the world. I also would love your advice since I'm starting mine (a little bland still) but at least check it out! haha

my site is and my name is Leo, my email is joleriv(at)gmail(dot)com if you are willing to talk to me.

(That thing I just did with the email address everyone does, but I don't know why lol)