Depression Marathon Blog

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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!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sometimes sadness is normal

As I grieve the loss of my relationship and my summer racing season, friends, family and professionals have been going out of their way to remind me that "sadness is normal." To all of them I say, "I know." I guess they are collectively worried I will confuse sadness with an onset of depression. But if there is anyone on the planet who knows there is a difference between normal sadness and irrational depression, it is me.

I've been sad. There are definitive reasons for my sadness. First and foremost, I am grieving the loss of my 4-year relationship with my boyfriend, D. While discontinuing our relationship may have been the right thing to do, as I wasn't getting the affection I needed, it doesn't make the loss any less sad. We had many wonderful moments together. I will miss D. I will survive, but I am still sad.

I am also grieving the current and future loss of running secondary to my partially torn Achilles. Losing the ability to run leaves me very frustrated and sad. The possibility of a depression relapse exists, of course, as a result of this issue, as running is vital to my mental health. I know that. My antennae are up. But right now, I am just sad. Plain, old, normal sad...

Sadness in response to a particular event, issue, or loss is a normal feeling. I'm not worried about my sadness at this point in time. I'd be more worried if I wasn't feeling sad. I'll also be more concerned if the sadness continues for an unreasonable length of time. But right now my sadness is clearly related to my recent life events. My sadness is different than my depression.

My depression is rarely "normal." It often seems to have a will separate from what's actually occurring in my life. It has occasionally set in after some triggering event (like being injured), but often it comes and goes without regard for what's happening. For example, it all began 14+ years ago when my life was more of less fabulous. I had a job, a house, a spouse, money in the bank, and a gaggle of friends. Depression, irrationally, set in nonetheless. That is the nature of depression.

My illness, depression, is not the same as my current feeling, sadness. I realize I am always at risk for depression. The illness is with me regardless of how I'm feeling, happy, sad, loving, or lonely. Right now I am sad. I have reason to be sad. And I'm okay with being sad. In some ways, it's actually nice to feel "normal" sadness. It's a relief. I am not relapsing into the black hole of depression. I'm just feeling sad. I can deal with that. I'll be okay. Thank you for your support, my friends.


Eva said...

Hello Etta,

Thanks to the great videos at Healthination I know Etta is not your first name but to me you have been Etta for a little over 2 years now.

I've wanted to let you know that I have been thinking of you since you wrote "worries". And I'm so sorry you have to go through these challenges and sadness.

For me living in the Netherlands it is still mind blowing how it can be that you work two jobs and still not get paid when you are ill or injured. We can complain a lot about the health care over here is getting worse (and it is) but it is great compared to the situation you are in. I really wish I could do something for you with this situation.

Yes sadness is a feeling. And just like you when I feel sad I at least know I'm not totally suffering from one of the periods of depression in my life. When I'm depressed I hardly feel anything else then the black nothingness that surrounds me.

I will keep thinking of you and I hope you keep mentally healthy during your sadness and the other challenges you face.


Anonymous said...

Sadness is what I feel a lot.

Anonymous said...

Sadness is more than just normal for me. Sadness is my norm.

littlemissdullshine said...

This is such an incredible thing to know - the difference between sadness and depression. There is life stuff and there is illness. Well done, and I hope you feel happier soon.

Major Depression said...

nice post you have there :)
you're already doing your best at life :)
keep it up your life