Depression Marathon Blog

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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!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I am in an unusual space. Depression has tunneled me to depths previously unimaginable, to the point where I am having trouble identifiying any point to continuing. I don't usually write things like this. I try to maintain a little more optimism, even in the face of pain, but this has been one hell of a brutal ride. I'm getting tired, and I want to step off now.

I'm doing my best to hang on. I'm talking to the professionals and to my friends. I'm in pain, and I'm letting everyone know it. But it sucks! I'm not sure what else I can do at this point in time. I've had the will to run stripped from me. I haven't run in weeks. That in and of itself is quite strange. I'm not working. My doctor has taken me off work, but I'm hoping to get back there soon. I miss my co-workers and my patients. It would be nice to get back to my old routine.

I'm home but feeling out of sorts and a little lost within my own home environment. That's the after effects of the ECT treatments. My own environment is unfamiliar. Previously, I had routines for everything. Making my breakfast oatmeal, for example, was a routine. This morning I couldn't remember what went in the bowl and what didn't. Likewise, my house bills are waiting to be addressed, but I can't remember how to address them! For someone as organized as me, this is all quite disconcerting. I feel like an idiot!

I am fortunate to have one friend, Wendy, who has been willing to sit with me a lot over these past couple weeks. She's been willing to witness the suffering, yet keep me safe, without attempting to fix everything. I appreciate her presence. Sometimes it's nice to just have someone to witness the pain. She doesn't talk. She doesn't offer rememdies. She just sits with me. I am so grateful for her presence.

And now I am going to attempt to move through my pain. I may even attempt a walk outside with my dog, Jet. We'll see. That sounds like quite an undertaking. I've called my mom. She's down south for the winter, but she may fly up to stay with me for a bit. I could use her assistance and guidance, at least until I get some space between me and depression's ugliness. And this may be the ugliest episode I have ever experienced. Relief cannot come soon enough.


HBF said...

You're not alone. It's okay to write posts like this because that's where you are right now, and that's okay. Thank you for your honesty.

You know your path back and you know your depression better than anyone else in the world, so I can't offer any advice, but I want to let you know that you matter, people care for you, and people are pulling for you even though you can't see us. We don't care how long it takes, we don't care about should-a, would-a, or could-a, we just care about you.

I'm thinking of you, and wishing you a quick recovery.

Be well,

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I wish I could offer more than this, but please know that I am thinking of you and sitting with you in spirit. Don't worry about trying to write with optimism--write what you need to write, and we will be here to listen.

etta said...

That is truly one of the kindest, most heartfelt comments I have ever received. Thank you so much.

Irene said...

I was worried about you because i thought running was too ambitious. you really don't have to do anything because it can wait. let yourself recover. be patient.

SH said...

Hello Etta,
Please hang in there! Maybe not just for yourself (I get that, it’s probably not much of a motivator right about now), but because of the good you do through your writing. Back in December of last year, my “stink” was rolling downhill pretty good. Severe depression and all that goes with it; to the point where I was looking for opportunities to, as you say, “step off.”

I refused meds, and thought that I could stave off the beast that seemed to be “stalking” me by running 10 miles every other day while eating well under 1,000 calories a day (some days a lot less). I was hobbled to the point where I would (literally) stand sobbing before each run, knowing how much it was going to suck, knowing how much I was going to suffer, but also knowing that it was something that I needed to do to in order to find some respite from the clatter in my head.

Somewhere in there I did an online search for “running + depression.” I was surprised at how little (useful) info I found; but then I somehow came across your site. Holly Crap! This chick is writing about this stuff from a first-person perspective? She’s putting it, and herself, out there? She’s admitting to her struggles? She’s not just talking in generalities; she’s talking about personal perspectives, and personal struggles, and personal insights?

Yes, your “stuff” was (and is) different than my “stuff.” But it wasn’t so different that I could ignore it; somewhere in your words it became very obvious that “she gets this.” As a 50 year old dude I was humbled. Totally, almost brutally, humbled. Your writing gave me something to think about.

Was “Depression Marathon” THE reason I slogged through the worst of it? No, it was not. But was “Depression Marathon” (the thing that YOU created and that YOU keep alive) part of a larger constellation of things (including the work of a great therapist) that gave me some much needed puddles of light to walk, or sometimes crawl, towards as I worked to separate myself from the really dark places? You better believe it was. You got it. You described it. You weren’t ashamed of it. You managed to figure it out. You managed to figure out how to deal with it. You managed to find the words that made sense to others that were facing different, but obviously very similar, struggles.

Etta, I took A LOT away from that. That sense that there was some “Runner Chick,” someone that I had never met, putting herself out there made more of an impression than you might be able to imagine; or maybe you can? It might not mean a whole hell of a lot in your current state of mind; but if I could somehow talk to the one part of your brain that’s looking for “Why?” I’d simply say: Because you seem to give a sh*t about sharing your situation so as to help others, and because you are (whether you want to admit it right now, or not) making a difference, and an important one at that.

Etta, I was too chicken sh*t to post this when you first indicated that you were going back for some ECT treatments; but I’ve been thinking about it (because that’s what your words do, they rattle around in my head) ever since then. Now, given today’s post, it seems to be time to step up and share this with you. From one runner to another, please: You do good work; and I for one would miss it (and be p*ssed at you) if you were to stop. 

All the very best, sincerely so!

etta said...

Wow, SH. That's quite a comment, and it does make a difference. Thank you.

In fact, thank all of you who have left your comments on this post. I am humbled by your words and honored that you read my little blog. Thank you!!

Jean Grey said...

I just wanted you to know that your blog inspired me to get serious about yoga. I knew that if you could battle depression and run marathons, then I could at least make it to yoga class! So thank you. I am loving yoga, and it is helping my moods. I hope that yours become more manageable soon.

Irene said...

that you endure so much and share it here in all the ugly phases is brave and generous. thank you.

Nell said...

I have been reading your blog as I struggle through my own depression. I feel stronger knowing that you are out there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience on the blog. It is plenty of us suffering from depression, and we somehow need to find a way to harness it and turn it into someting creative. I have started my own blog a few weeks ago, trying to convert and distill my experiences into some more digestable concepts (with more or less success). It can be seen here:

kerrie said...

love your blog. stay strong, things will get better i promise. you can read about my experiences if you want xx xx