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, August 18, 2015

Picking up Pieces

Metaphors describing depression are plentiful. The black dog, the black hole, and a heavy leaden cloak are just a few I've heard used. But today I'm going to describe my depression as an exploded bomb which detonated right in the middle of my life a few weeks back. In less than 4 weeks, my life has gone up in smoke as a result of this illness. Today I am here picking up the salvageable pieces left over after that violent explosion.

Four weeks ago I was working regular shifts as often as I wished. I was scheduled out through mid-September. I was financially sound and my obligations were met. Today I am getting ready to return to work. Paying my bills was put on hold as depression ripped me away from gainful employment. It will take awhile before I am able to get back to working a regular schedule and to catch up financially. I am picking up the pieces of my financial life.

Four weeks ago, despite not being able to run, I had the energy and motivation to exercise as much as I wished. I was in fine physical shape. I had muscles, fit into my clothing, and felt good about how I looked. Today I am just getting back onto my bike. I have enough energy for a gentle 20-30 minute ride. Push-ups and sit-ups are exhausting. I've gained 5 pounds and no longer fit nicely into my jeans. I'm picking up the pieces of my physical existence.

Four weeks ago I ran errands and performed my chores without contemplation. Today I debate the pros and cons of every adventure outside my front door. Do I have the energy? Does it need to be done today? Does it need to be done at all? Likewise, I am living with a rising tide of unfulfilled duties inside my house. As my mood declined so too did my standards. It will take awhile to get things back to snuff around here. I am picking up the pieces of my home life.

This depression relapse left carnage in its wake. My job now is to collect and reassemble all of the salvageable pieces. I'm hoping to rebuild my life so that it resembles what stood here before the depression bomb detonated. But that is a tall order, and I truly do not know how long it will take. I have a feeling I'll need to practice my patience, too, during this rebuilding process.


Anonymous said...

Etta, so glad to hear from you. I was getting worried about you. I am not surprised at the content of your blog. With your usual eloquence and courage you paint a vivid picture of how this episode of severe depression has attacked you and left devastation in it's wake. Being who you are with strength and determination you are picking up the pieces and reassembling your life. You may not feel that strength in fact you may feel fragile and exhausted. However you are an inspiration to all of us who never know when this agonising illness is going to plunge us into another episode of severe depression. You can do it Etta and we are all behind you supporting you in your recovery as you gradually become well again.

Jim Work said... heart goes out to you. I did find it a positive, albiet small, that you did speak in the affirmative of picking up the piece. A much better step than just letting them lie piece at a time girl, easy does it even when we want more......blessings.....james

HBF said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm in the midst of my own bomb scene, a frantic clean up effort as explosions continue to erupt sort of chaos, desperately trying to stop the situation from getting worse... but one of the most cruel things about this disease is how it puts us at our weakest when we need our strength the most. In that way, it almost shows how strong those with mental illness can be-in our weakest moments, our most battle wearied states, we still move on. Breathing, resting, picking up the pieces, all of it seemingly impossible and yet we manage to keep it up. We are elephants and mice all at once. Even the smallest tasks are monumental victories, and I hereby award you a depressive's medal of valor for keepin on, keepin on. You are wonderful, even when shattered, a stained glass window's beauty is created by fractures, is it not? Thank you for fighting, you are not alone, and reading your words help me remember that I am not alone either. Thank you.

Audrey Franco said...

I am very depressed right now. I wish I had the desire to get out and socialize or date now and then but I don't feel like doing anything. I wish I had a special friend to talk to and go places with. I hope I don't have any more panic attacks. I wish I enjoyed life as everyone else does. I have nobody. I am so lonely. I have nothing to look forward to.

Jim Work said...

Audrey.......I can relate. I am presently doing that walking on eggs lavatition thing. Family tired of dealing with my issues and so I am forced to cover and attempt to present something I am not and I feel a pot on the boil. The exterior looks as they want but the interior is eroding awaiting the inevitable the coming boil alwaits that torn presentation of what you show
and what you hide, Walking on shells is such a painful way to walk........en theos,,,jas