Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Recently, I've been experiencing multiple flashbacks from my youth. And I do mean youth, 15, 16, and 17 years old. The memories first showed up in my dreams before gradually interrupting my daily activities as well. For over a week, I've been trying to understand why this has been happening and what it all means.

Yesterday was particularly disconcerting. I was restless, irritable and discontent. I was being bombarded by flashbacks, good and bad, one after another. I felt like I was going to crawl right out of my skin, and I couldn't figure out what was going on. By late afternoon, I was absolutely nuts.

I called a friend. I texted with another. I sent my doctor an e-mail. And that's when it hit me. Thirty years ago today, 9/7/1983, my 14-year-old step-sister left the house to go for a bike ride with a friend. She never returned. Pam was hit by a vehicle, which ran over her head and killed her instantly. My step-mother decided to donate all of her organs, so she technically died on September 8th, 1983. But 30 years ago today, this evening, was the day her life stopped. I was fifteen.

Pam and I had only been sisters for 2 or 3 years, but we had grown close since the marriage of our parents. We had little choice. Our blended family lived in such a small home, Pam and I not only shared a bedroom, we shared the bed. It wasn't easy at first. There was tension. But within a short time, things turned around. Neither of us had a biological sister. I had 3 brothers. She had one. So we bonded.

I have memories of lying in that bed talking, deep, sisterly, girl talks, almost every night before we fell asleep. It was our routine, and in our dysfunctional, unstable home, I know we both valued that time together.

Pam never played sports. She never cared. But after my athletic, competitive family arrived, we discovered she was an incredible middle distance runner. She joined junior high track and routinely ran away from her competition in both the 400 and 800 meters. We spent the summer months prior to her freshman year, which she had just begun when she was killed, training together.

With her entry into high school just under way, Pam's death came at a time of incredible hope and promise. It was tragic. I don't always remember this tragic date, but I hope I never lose the memories of my special moments with Pam. I've been remembering her and thinking about her all day today. She had unlimited potential. I wonder what she'd be doing if she were alive? What would we be doing if she were here? Imagine... Miss you, Pam.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I'm sorry for your loss. anniversaries like that can really make us think about what might have been.

Pat Davis said...

Touching story. Not sure I can say anything to make you feel better, but you do your sister justice by keeping her memory alive.