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!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Expectations

Two months of pain, desperation, fatigue, isolation, low motivation, debility, low energy, and low mood; it's been two months since this depression relapse began. It's been two months since I've worked. Two months since my life was hijacked. I'd like to have my life back. I'd like to be released from this little spit of hell. Any day now...

I try not to worry about how long this relapse will last. It doesn't do me any good, and it's a waste of precious energy to think about it. But lately I have been worried about something else. As this relapse continues, I'm fretting about what kind of example I'm setting.

I write this blog to educate people about depression, but I also aspire to offer hope to fellow sufferers. That's why I voluntarily speak to the public, why I've been open to interviews for television and radio, and why I participated in the Healthination videos. I want everyone to understand major depression, and I hope to set an example of someone living well with this horrible illness. It can be done.

Unfortunately, I don't feel I've been doing life very well over the past couple months. I mean I'm doing the best I can, but the longer this relapse lasts the less well I feel I'm doing. I feel I've offered less hope and more hopelessness lately. More anger and frustration than resilience, I think. I guess I could argue that hopelessness, anger, and frustration are all part of the journey, but I worry I'm doing more harm than good by writing so vividly about it.

Perhaps my expectations are unrealistic, but I have expectations, nonetheless. I want to be an example for those of you suffering. I want to be an example of healthy living, resilience, and perseverance through the difficult times. But lately my resilience has been put to the test. This has been a rough ride.

Generally I like rides, but this one has tested my limits. I'm praying for relief soon. In the meantime I'll continue to do the best I can. I'll keep forcing myself to get out, to move, to exercise. It feels impossible, but I know I have to hang on. If not for me, than I at least must hang on for you. Carry on, my friends.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've given what you need. Nothing more could be asked of you. Not all diseases are curable so I hope you take little bits of comfort and relief along the way and not blame yourself.

Chris said...

Etta -

I think you've got this backwards. Listen, I don't even pretend to understand what it is like to suffer with depression... and I'm grateful for that. But I do have a keen understanding of how your "Life for all to see" way of chronicling your daily battles is incredibly encouraging to readers that DO suffer with this illness.

The notion that your current battle has somehow reduced your positive impact on readers is completely inverted. Again, I don't suffer with depression, but honestly, what encouragement could a reader gain from seeing that your struggles are always of the short, quick-resolution variety? What help is that to the man/woman sitting in their home, struggling with an episode that's been ongoing for a prolonged period of time? While I'm certain they would be vicariously happy to "see" that your episodes are short-lived, I question what value it would bring them in the daily pursuit of hope, shared suffering and compassionate empathy. Like I said, I think your current episode gives you far more power to encourage, under gird, motivate and inspire others than you realize or are willing to give yourself credit for.

This I know for certain: You will improve. Your life will get back on track and you will continue to grow, learn and inspire. And yes, you will run AND race again.

Through it all, have a thankful heart for what you have been given.


Anonymous said...

Etta, as a depression suffering lurker thank you, thank you for your honest and authentic sharing of what you are going through.
You are giving so much even in your extreme suffering. Virtual soup, cuddly blanket and comfort winging towards you.

paullamb said...

I agree with Chris. I think you're seeing this backwards. For me, at least, you're showing me that what I go through (on a much less severe level) is legitimate, is real. It's not just in my head (well, I suppose it is, but it's in other people's heads too). You are giving an example of fortitude in the face of reality. You're not sugar-coating anything the way a self-help book or television counselor might. By giving depression tangibility, you're giving me permission to admit I have it, and that I can fight it.

Honestly, your posts, even the bleaker ones, give me a kind of strength. I see that it ain't pretty, but it ain't the end either. (I do have a lot of thoughts about "the end".)

(Also, if you'll allow a little bragging . . . I ran that 5K on Sunday, going into it with reluctance and doubt and coming out of it with Third Place in my Age Group! That has never happened to me before.)

etta said...

Thank you all for your comments and support! And a big "WOO HOO" to paullamb for your stellar 5K performance! That made me smile!

Anna said...

Etta,

Second attempt at posting here, but I want to join in fellow strugglers saying a big THANK YOU to you! I was a bit more able to verbalized this morning, but know you are helping.

Anna

Anonymous said...

Your complete and utter honesty about this awful disease is both heartbreaking and inspiring. To know we aren't alone and that even in the darkest moments there is still hope is encouraging. Please keep sharing the ups and downs. You are doing more good than you realize!!!!!

Bengal said...

I do look to your blog for inspiration and hope during my own dark times but I also understand that you have your own battle against this disease/monster. You can only be honest and true to what you're going though and we all relate to this and it does help to know I/we are not alone.
Keep going strong. I know it's not easy but we are here rooting for you! You're so brave. Truly.

As the saying goes- Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain :)

Anonymous said...

I think the reason why so many people find inspiration from your blog is that we can relate to you. You are human and you don't try to hide it. You share your highs but you also share your lows, and as someone who has suffered from depression for a long time, I know it's so very hard to share the pain and dark places we go with others. I really admire you for being able to share your struggles with us. It means a lot to me.
I'm sending you hugs and positive energy. Just take one day at a time.

Lots of Love,
Kristen

Peter said...

No one, and I mean no one on this Earth has the be-all, end-all cure for depression, or for any mental illness to be more general. If they did, that person would be rich, and we would all be living happy, prosperous lives. Even with our collective wealth of knowledge, individual experiences, and methods of coping with and attempting to overcome depression, there is still no consensus as to what "works" and what doesn't "work". It all comes down to the individual and his or her circumstances, personality traits, and genetics.

The point I'm fumbling in attempting to make is that your experiences were never meant to be a bluepoint for people dealing with depression, nor were you meant to be an example of implausible strength. In fact, your own fragility and personal suffering is what allows us to relate to you on a deeper level and to more greatly appreciate what you do. Were you infallible, were you able to overcome this disease so easily, that relationship wouldn't be quite the same. It's a bit of a catch-22 when you think about it, and an unfortunate one because I would like nothing more than for you and every other person who suffers from this disease to be freed from its shackles. But that's the nature of the beast, isn't it? We are bound to suffer at times, to bob up and down like buoys, but at least we can suffer together.

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that doing the most basic of things can be the hardest things to do when your mind has turned against you. We may possess all of the knowledge and self-help tips in the world, but none of that matters when our realities are warped. The mere fact that you come back to share your experiences with us time and time again, through good and bad, is something not many people could do in your shoes, especially on such a consistent basis. Just by enduring for so long have you touched the hearts of so many.

To translate that giant wall of gibberish I just wrote, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. They are an inspiration and mean more than you could ever know. Hang in there and best of luck moving forward!



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