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!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Filling the Hole

Yesterday was a strange day. I awoke feeling low, but I went to my AA meeting anyway. Perhaps that was a mistake, as I felt incredibly alone in that room full of people. On top of that, I had a discussion focused on how I used to use alcohol to fill the emptiness I used to feel, and how sobriety filled that hole, only to realize, as I walked out of the building, that I felt familiarly empty. I felt an aching hole in my heart, and I entered my vehicle in tears.

I drove home, even though I knew it was probably going to be very difficult, and perhaps unsafe, to be alone. A better decision would have been to turn right instead of left and drive to my friend Wendy's house. Alas, I made the decision to return home, and it was tough. The ache inside did not abate. There was a hole in my heart.

That incessant ache, usually a knock-out punch whenever I feel it, yesterday got me moving instead. I found a music station on my DirectTV, called Reality Bites, which appropriately plays some head-banging, angry music. I could not have turned it up much louder! With that as my background, I set about to clean my house. It hadn't been really cleaned since I first entered the hospital almost 8 weeks ago. And I got it done.

I thought I would take a nap after cleaning for 3 hours, but the combination of beautiful, sunny weather and heart-pounding music motivated me to put on my running clothes rather than my bed clothes. I was tired, my mood was low, my motivation to actually run even lower, but out the door I went anyway.

I ran. After 1.2 miles, my legs were complaining, and I wanted to stop. I kept going instead. Negative depression-related thoughts randomly bounced around my sick brain, but I kept running. Labored breathing and breathlessness made me want to give up. I'm not used to breathlessness. But I kept running instead. At 4 miles, I had the option of turning for home, about 1.5 miles away, or continuing around a small lake. Initially, I turned toward home, but I changed my mind and ran around the lake instead. Tired, breathless, and pleased, I arrived home with 8.25 miles under my belt.

Like I said, it was a strange day, filled with wildly divergent feelings and a variety of distracting activities, and I did end up driving to my friend Wendy's home after my run, as my brain quickly resumed it's sickness, but in the end, that aching, empty, hole was filled. I'm grateful for that.


cehope said...

I have had that same feeling of aloneness.

This year seems to be easier for me than past years.

Normally its much harder due to the seasons and weather and the anniversary of my dear moms passing and uncles suicide.

I have found more peace in this past six months than in my whole 30 years of struggling with the illness.

I continue to pray for you and your journey with this illness. I pray the feelings lighten up for you and each day your struggle is less.

As one of your blog readers,I want you to know many of days reading your blog helped me so much just knowing someone else was feeling just like I was. It made me feel less alone and empty

You truly do help others,your an inspiration,a blessing too many.

Know we think of you and care and wish you peace, and even thou WE have never met, you are not ALONE,sending you hugs and peaceful days. Awesome job on the running,and meeting.

Blessings in His Hope.

Irene said...


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Etta, good for you for working on filling that hole. You did things that you didn't initially want to do, and I'm glad that they helped you. I guess the hole that many of us feel needs to be filled over and over again. It never stays full. But that's OK. It keeps us working and trying and hoping.

Annie said...

Etta, I two suffer from depression and generalized anxiety, numerous hospitalizations, shock treatments, your blog helps me a lot, I am finally getting better after a bone crushing 3 years, I have had depression for over 20 years, but the last 3 years, were the worse, I am finally feeling good again, I will pray you will be again soon.

Divas said...

So proud of your fighting thru the feelings and doing something positive instead of negative. I've had some occasional crying bouts lately, too. Some of it is due to family drama, but some of it is just unexplained, probably hormonal. I do miss my grandparents this time of year. Sometimes I think females just need to cry as a stress release. Anyway, kudos to you for the positive reaction and glad you are home!

A said...

Hi Etta,

I recently found your blog and have spent quite a bit of time reading your newer, and older, posts. I too suffer from bad depression and anxiety. For a long time medication worked for me, but due to some very unfortunate external occurrences in the past year, I have found myself back down in the hole again, and the meds just aren't working like they used to. However, I take comfort in reading your blog (although of course I feel terrible that we both, along with thousands of other people, have to deal with this illness). Thank you for being there and posting your thoughts and experiences!

Kelly said...

Funny how we can be so proactive and, yet, the feelings can linger. I'm glad you took care of yourself, that's a good thing. I will keep praying.

Chelsey Sidler-Lartey said...

Things always cycle and that's the worst part. Knowing they can always creep back in.