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!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


They say hindsight is 20/20. I'd have to agree. On successive days this week, Thursday and Friday, I had the opportunity to reflect on what might have been if only I'd made different decisions in the past. Those are not nice thoughts to have, nor are they at all productive, but have them I did.

On Thursday, I met with my orthodontist and an oral surgeon regarding my frustrating teeth. If you recall, the primary reason I entered into the braces proposition two years ago was because of my 46-year-old canine baby tooth. It was loose, and I feared it would decay and fall out any day. The permanent tooth was stuck up under my gum tissue. It never erupted, as they say in the biz, but it was there.

The orthodontist assured me he was 95% sure he could pull the permanent tooth into place. In 20 years, he said, he had only had one or two instances where he wasn't able to pull the permanent tooth into place. Two years and two oral surgeries later, and over a year without a canine tooth in the front of my mouth, my orthodontist and oral surgeon agreed the permanent tooth was not going to budge any further. It is ankylosed in bone.

I will have my third oral surgery, to remove the permanent tooth entirely, on February 4th. After letting the area heal for at least four months, and only after my orthodontic treatment has totally straightened my teeth, can I begin the nine month process of getting an implant. This was not what I wanted to hear, and the news made me sincerely question my decision to begin this process at all.

My braces have already been on longer than originally planned, and we're nowhere near done. I'm going to have to practice a ton of acceptance and patience for perhaps another year or more! The thought of it weighs me down.

While that frustrating news weighed on me, I nevertheless drove to work Friday morning with a bit of optimism. I planned to finally accept the full-time job offered to me in December. As soon as I arrived my supervisor informed me she needed to speak with me for a couple of minutes. Good, I joked, as I wanted to speak to her, too.

Before I could tell her my big news, acceptance of the position I had been doing for several weeks as an on-call employee, she told me they needed to cut back my hours. She pulled the job offer out from under me. They wanted to keep me on, she said, three days per week instead of four, and as an on-call rather than a regular, permanent employee. So no benefits, no guarantee of hours, no paid time off, no health insurance, no dental insurance, no retirement account... I was stunned.

All the benefits of a full-time position, the benefits I had been happily running through my head that very morning, were no longer an option. Just like that. The self recrimination began immediately. Damn depression! If only I hadn't needed several weeks to see if I could tolerate full-time hours, I thought. If only I had accepted the offer sooner, I'd very likely have all those benefits right now. But it will not be.

I'm grateful they still want me to work for them as an on-call employee. I enjoy working there. But as an on-call employee, my work schedule is much more tenuous. I do want a regular position with benefits and regularly scheduled hours. And now I know I can tolerate working up to 30 hours per week. I will again have to practice patience and acceptance as I wait for something else, I hope, to come along.

I'm still reeling a little bit from both of these disappointments. I'm probably being a bit hard on myself, too, as I feel I could have avoided both situations with different decisions in the past. But thinking that way does me no good whatsoever. I know that. Hindsight may be 20/20, but like I said, it's also totally unproductive.

From this moment, all I can do is move forward, so I'm going to try my best to do just that and only that. Life has thrown me a few curve balls lately. But if I want to keep my mental health stable, I need to focus less on the swings and misses and more on the next pitch. I know that, too. Carry on, my friends.


HBF said...

Love your last paragraph here, sounds like a very good idea focusing on the next pitch! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with overwhelming regrets- so I appreciate what you say here.

Unknown said...

'Carry on my friends' Thank you for your encouragement Etta. So need to get up from my sofa (depression/anxiety) and keep on moving forward as you do when faced with difficulty.

Anonymous said...

I also struggle with overwhelming regret. I completely appreciate you sharing that. Horrific amounts of overwhelming regret to the point where I push myself into a deep depression because of it. Life is so hard and such a struggle. Just getting by and existing feels like such a fight some days. I know it is not helpful or productive, but I can't help it. Thank you for sharing, Etta.