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, January 2, 2016

A review

Two days into 2016, and I couldn't be more pleased. To 2015 I say, "Good riddance!" While 2015 wasn't all bad, it was a long, tough year in a lot of ways. I can only hope for smoother sailing in 2016. Let's take a look at the record.

I began 2015 in my third month of recovery, i.e. no running, from October, 2014, hip surgery. I did what I could to maintain my fitness, but my mood took a hit anyway. I struggled with my illness for about 6 weeks, from early January through mid -February. I began my slow return to running in late January, and perhaps not coincidentally, my mood began it's slow ascent as well.

By March I was feeling emotionally well again. My life was pleasantly boring for a few weeks. But by mid-March, shortly after guaranteeing an entry into the November 1st, New York City Marathon, I developed what would turn into a debilitating running injury. At that point, I was only sidelined for a couple weeks with a sore calf. Oh, how I wish that had been the extent of it!

April found me running again, albeit with a sore, right Achilles tendon, working regularly, socializing, and otherwise participating fully in life. I was on schedule to run Grandmas Marathon in June. A trip to Arizona with my boyfriend, Don, however, changed that. In Arizona, on April 25, 2015, a date I may never forget, at mile 13 of a 17 mile long run, I tore my right Achilles tendon.

That Arizona trip was a turning point in more ways than one. Within a few weeks, on the exact day an MRI confirmed my Achilles tear, I decided to end my relationship with Don. Our relationship was no longer fulfilling or positive. I needed someone capable of more support and commitment. That being said, ending a relationship after four years was nonetheless difficult and sad.

May, June and July were primarily focused on working, attempting to heal and rehab my Achilles, and forlornly standing by as one race after another passed without my participation. I tried my best to take good care of myself, stick to a healthy routine, and see friends. Unfortunately, by late July, depression began another assault. I could not have predicted what the next 3 months would bring.

A full blown, devastating and debilitating depression relapse took me out of life for almost 3 months. I spent my entire Fall desperately trying to release the grip of depression's stranglehold. Two, 2-week hospitalizations, many ECT treatments, multiple medication trials, silly group programming, and countless appointments and meetings with concerned friends and professionals did not help. Life as I knew it ceased.

I wasn't just walking wounded. By early October, I was walking dead. Desperately suicidal and fearful for my own safety, I wasn't sure I could outlast the depression. In the span of nine days, however, that changed. After yet another medication change, I went from walking dead, to wounded, to hopeful. I began to feel lighter. The depression vacuum released.

After 3 months, I returned to life in late October. But just as I was returning, two emergency, painful oral surgeries knocked me back. I persevered. Slowly, cautiously, I found my way back to friends, work and exercise. And after a 7 month layoff, I even returned to running (just barely) November 1st, the very day I was supposed to be running the New York City Marathon. There was hope.

If you've been following along, you know a lot of good has happened over these last two months. My mood is excellent. It's miraculous when I consider how disabled I was just a few months ago. I'm so grateful we found a new medication that works. I'm alive once again.

My life is moving forward. I just celebrated 10 years of sobriety. I am working four days per week, with the opportunity to lock up a regular, full time position within the next few weeks, if all continues to go well. And while re-aggravation of my Achilles brought a halt to my running, once again, I am hopeful the specialist I am seeing Thursday will be able to fix it. I have to believe that.

And so hope begins a new year. The long, challenging year that was 2015 is now in the rear view mirror. The pain and loss are behind me. I do not have to re-live them. I'm looking forward to healing and succeeding in 2016. I'm sure it won't all be sunshine and roses, but if I survived 2015, I believe I can survive just about anything. And so can you! Happy New Year, my friends!


HBF said...

Wow. What a post! Glorious overcoming those challenges. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

wow- you are resilient... and an inspiration, even when it does't feel like it. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Are you willing to say what medication brought about this most recent recovery? I understand that everyone is different, but you'd do a great service by sharing what wpexactly has worked for you.

etta said...

I take a few meds, but the new med is Brintellix.

Nathalie Webb said...

Hi Etta, you have done so much to try and help yourself during the dark days of clinical anxiety and depression. You are an inspiration to us all. May you have a happy new year. Nathalie

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for responding to my question about meds. I know it is a touch question. A med that works for one person might not work for another. Yet, as a sister traveller, I like to hear about what other people have tried. Here's hoping that you continue to improve.