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!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Home, but...

I'm home. I actually left the hospital on Wednesday, 3 days ago, but I've been struggling to do much of anything, including updating this blog, since arriving home. I expected a dip in my mood when I left the hospital. That's pretty normal. Coming home is almost always a little overwhelming. But the dip has turned into a deep ditch, and I'm lying at the bottom drowning in the muck and mud.

It's impossible to breathe amidst the muck and mud. My mood is low again. Despite continuing with outpatient ECT treatments, I have not been able to maintain that initial bump to my mood. I am now at a crossroad. I need to do something to elevate my mood, which means I need to make a decision either to continue with additional short-pulsed, unilateral ECT (which is what I've been doing), or to change to the more cognitively-impairing regular, bilateral ECT. Something has to change.

There's really little choice. I cannot fathom putting myself through regular, bilateral ECT again. The last time we tried it, it did not elevate my mood, and I suffered such severe cognitive impairment I could barely follow a conversation. I can't go there again. That means I will try additional short-pulsed, unilateral ECT treatments, which means further delay in getting back to my life.

I was supposed to be done with my ECT treatments as of yesterday and planned to return to work for a few hours on Monday. Financial stress, a big trigger for my depression, is setting in. I'm not sure how I will pay my bills this month having already missed two weeks worth of paychecks. As an on-call employee, I do not get paid if I am not physically at work. Making ends meet is a constant battle when things are going well and I am working. There's just no way to pay the bills if I don't work.

I pride myself on self-reliance and financial responsibility. To be put in this position by this damn illness really sucks. Today I am feeling resentful. I resent depression for all the challenges it forces upon me and all the changes it forces upon my plans. I know I am fortunate in so many ways, but I hate this illness and the massive upheaval which accompanies it. Eventually I will get back to work, to exercise, to errands, to socializing, and to meetings. Somehow I will figure it all out. I'm just not sure how or when yet.


HBF said...

It is good to pride yourself on independence and responsibility but it isn't fair to try and hold your alternate self, your depressed self to the same standards. Apples and oranges! I fall into a similar trap when I'm depressed and all too often it's a rabbit hole to some very dark places. When you run with injuries you know that your times will be different than the best runs of your life, but that doesn't mean your "injury" run was any less of a success. You are doing good work, you are doing good work that matters, and like you said, that other stuff will fall back into place down the road. You can do this. Not like the other times, not like you might have to do again, not like anything except right now, today, one minute at a time. You're in my thoughts :)

Jim Work said...

Etta....been thinking about you. Glad you are home, and just am hoping the long terms effects will be worth the pain and cost. Wishing you well.....monos en theos...jas L

Anonymous said...

Making ends meet is a constant battle when things are going well and I am working. There's just no way to pay the bills if I don't work."

It is important to save money for when one is ill and not able to work. Just like saving for vacations, marathon runs and big ticket items.

Tricia said...

Oh my. I'm so sorry Ella. You know how to best fight this, so I won't offer suggestions. I just hope you feel better soon and don't have to resort to bilateral ECT. Hang in there babe. And keep us posted when you can.

Anonymous said...

I wish you strength and health to get through the mud that you in now so that you can once again find your way back to the surface. I can appreciate you hesitancy with the ETC. Last summer (or maybe it was fall) I did the bilateral. The one thing worse than losing cognitive ability is being aware of the loss. Additionally, any effect on my depression was negligible. I still have huge gaps in my memory. It is frustrating and disheartening in a way that many other people can't comprehend.

Which ever way you decide to go for your therapy, please know that you have someone in Germany cheering for you!

Paul Lamb said...

I hope your Monday is bringing you some metaphorical or literal sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Im wishing you some peace and comfort Etta. Take it easy, Irene