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!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cloaked in Gratitude

Cloaked in gray, feeling unreal... Those are my words from a recent post. Unfortunately, those words still apply. The darkness is still here, surrounding me, but I feel the clouds lifting a bit. The cloak of gray is less weighty upon me.

That cloak is being replaced. I am now sampling a cloak of gratitude amidst the darkness. And you know what? The cloak of gratitude is yielding to the cloak of gray. The cloak of gratitude is slight upon my shoulders as compared to the cloak of depression.

I have had plenty of time to reflect while here in the hospital. At first my thoughts and questions were jaded with disappointment and a sense of failure. How did I get here? Why me? How did this happen so fast? Wasn't I doing what I was supposed to be doing? Sounds like a lot of self-pity to me, and it wasn't moving me forward.

Today, I'm working on a new attitude, and the change is all because of you, my readers. In the aftermath of my most recent blog post you responded with unbelievable eloquence and passionate support. I am overwhelmed. I cannot believe how fortunate I am. I felt your caring and concern from afar. I was changed by it. Thank you so much for sharing your hope with me. You give me strength.

Your hope and strength got me thinking. Yes, I have a debilitating, life-interrupting illness, but I have so much more than that. I have many fortunes for which to be grateful. The job, the house, the food on the table, Jet, and all the material comforts I have make my life simpler. But more importantly, my life is full and rich today not because of things but because of the people surrounding me.

These people, Wendy, Heidi, Vicky, Therese, Shelli, Mike, Molly, Nancy, Pam, Joan, Bruce, Janill, Dr. L, Deb and Shawn have all played a role in my life in just the past few days. They supported, transported, called, visited, educated, mowed, packed, dog-sat, fed, and basically took care of me when I couldn't care for myself. That's a lot of people! Despite this terrible illness, I've decided I am one of the luckiest women around. More grateful, I could not be. Thank you all.


Anonymous said...

Hello and peace to you,
Remember, this stay in the hospital is "a tune up." Some things need to be fine tuned. What a pain. I'm glad to read you are surviving. Gratitude is a blessing. I hope you hold on to it moment by moment. Your writing is amazing. Still praying for you down in HOT Texas.

Anonymous said...

You are a lucky lady. But how amazing you are to continue your honest writing even when you certainly don't feel lucky. You lit the torch for others. You have created better things with whatever that is that still moves you.

Anonymous said...

I don't realize how paralyzed I become with such dread and loathing under the filters of depression. I just washed a kitchen floor and made an omelet. It felt like a bit of freedom and a touch of joy. Hopefully I can keep the momentum growing. Little things make a difference. Hope that you can be so moved Etta.

Amy said... are such an amazing human being. I've been following your story for a while now and I check in frequently to see how you're doing. I'm so sorry you're going through this rough spell but I'm so glad that you are getting the help you need and have such a tremendous support system. There's a reason for this: you are loved. Your friends love you and your readers do too.

I've been through depression - for me it is the other side of the coin of an anxiety disorder - both of which are managed through medication and CBT now. But going through it during the episodes I've had it humbled me to the core. I have immense, immense respect for fellow comrades who are in the trenches. We don't leave each other behind, you know? Even if it's just a few words of encouragement I can give from where I sit now....I want you to know that you're not alone and you're going to be ok. It never feels like it when it's happening but it will.

You have an inner glow that never extinguishes even underneath the darkest of clouds that descend upon you. Sometimes it's hidden from ourselves, but it never goes out. As you give that little flame the oxygen it needs, it will grow and warm you again - and the darkness will dissipate.

Life....and you...are amazing. Hang on.

Julie Bertille said...


First, I apologize for my english writting, I am french and as you know most of us we are bad with english language...

I have just discovered your blog this morning and I feel very moved. I have also suffered with depression during more than 6 years, it started when i was sixteen years old.
Even with the help of my family and doctors, it was a long road to overcome this illness which was killing all my energy and my wishes for an happy future.

Like you, a couple of years ago, I started to dedicate a lot of time in sports and it has really helped me. Another key for my healing was - and still is- the power of gratitude that you mentioned in this article.

When all around you seems to be sad, just take time to think about these things you are blessed to have : a loving husband, a beautiful house, friends who listen to you when you need to share your problems.

I will continue to follow your blog. Take care of you, I wish you all the best and provide you all my positive energy.


Anonymous said...

Dear Etta, I have followed your blog for the past few months. As a fellow depression combatant and medical professional, I find comfort and courage in your perseverance. And I thank you for sharing your story.
Love from Boston!

HBF said...

Even when that cloak of grey is upon you and it feels like heavy, cold, wet wool weighing you down, with an endless train of fabric dragging behind that you feel you can't bear, even then, we are here, holding the dripping edges of your darkness, bearing witness as you make your way, carrying this burden mostly of your own accord, we are here. Your lovelier cloaks of gratitude and happiness (even contentedness!) will stay as bright, cheery and fresh waiting for you to wear them again whenever that day comes and whatever cloak you wear we're happy to hear from you and support you!

I'm glad you have good help and support and are able to be grateful, it is so helpful yet so often people neglect gratitude, it can be powerful medicine! I'm often baffled by the care and support my husband continues to provide to me relapse after relapse and yet in a weird way (on days when I'm stable and have some distance from the darkness) I'm grateful for my illness and how it's given me the chance to see the best of my spouse, even if it means seeing the worst of myself. Some go their entire lifetime without experiencing that honor, the honor of witnessing the best of humanity. Even though I feel like I'm on the receiving end all too often, it's certainly something worthwhile. It's messy, and uncomfortable, but worthwhile.

Keep up the good work, we give you strength, you give us a strength, it's a good system :)

Anonymous said...

I guess this comment is a little late in arriving, but it's still sincere. I am grateful to you too. You have depression far worse than I do, and you are showing me how a mature, strong, intelligent person copes with and confronts the hard, hard job it is of living with depression. Gratitude is a two-way street, at least in this case, and I am thankful (not that I wish the hardship on you, of course).