Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
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!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Expectations

I had to leave work early yesterday. It was my fourth day of work in a row. I wasn't able to function at the level I'm accustomed to, was near tears, and I was totally worn out. I admitted my current struggles to my supervisors, and they said they understood, but I felt terrible about leaving. I was, I'm just now realizing, ashamed. I berated myself throughout the entirety of my drive home.

That was not new, as I had also berated myself while driving home the previous afternoon. I was unhappy with how I behaved with one of my supervisors late Wednesday afternoon. Nothing major, in fact she didn't even notice, but I was irritated with an addition to my caseload, and I felt I let that irritation show. It wasn't professional behavior, and I wasn't proud of it.

I pride myself on being a good employee, one that accepts challenges, is kind and respectful to patients and coworkers, and deals professionally with each task. I don't usually get irritated at work. The fact that I reacted with irritation to such a simple request bothered me. To me it was further proof that depression had taken hold. It was further proof that I wasn't in control. I wasn't beating this thing, this illness I hate.

I wonder if people with other chronic, relapsing illnesses struggle as I do with expectations of themselves in the midst of debilitating symptoms. Despite everything I know about this biological brain illness, with its plethora of confounding and debilitating symptoms, I still beat myself up when I can't overcome it. I make it a moral issue, a character judgment, even though I know depression is no more about poor character than is a brain tumor! Why do I do that?

I know this is an illness. I speak publicly about this illness. I've even been featured in videos educating others about depression, the illness. Yet when I'm in the midst of it, I can't believe it's got me. I can't believe I can't will it away or overcome it with sheer determination. And when will and determination don't work, I get down on myself for it. That's not helpful.

I woke up this morning hoping for a better day. I try to start every day with that attitude when I feel so low. Unfortunately, I was barely through breakfast when it became apparent the symptoms had not left. The heavy limbs, muted thinking, and lethargy were pronounced. But I'm working on acceptance today. If I fret about simple things turned difficult, worry about how long this might last, or wallow in the heaviness, I'm not helping myself.

I want to help myself. Truth is, I'd like to plow right through this day, and the next, and the next as if nothing was happening, but that's not realistic with this illness. I have to accept that. I have to change my expectations, and be okay with doing less, still doing, but doing less. Depression wants me to throw in the towel. I want to act like it's not in the room. I guess I need to find a happy, acceptable medium. I haven't done much today, but I've accomplished more than I would have if I'd given up the fight.

5 comments:

paullamb said...

Yeah, giving up the fight is a serious, one-way solution (which I hold way in the back of my head regardless). Me, I'm going to take the weekend off and go to my little cabin in the woods and just collapse. Not care about anyone or anything. Not have any chores or agenda or responsibilities. Just sit down and relax and rest. Just collapse.

And then Monday will come and I'll see how to deal with it then.

I wish I could lift some of the burden off your shoulders.

etta said...

Oh, a cabin in the woods... That sounds wonderful! Enjoy the serenity.

Anna said...

Etta, Irritability is one of my "warning signs". I know I'm not on the right road...when I'm 100%, I'm sure I've found "the answer" and can keep Gray (or darker) away. Like you, I'm functioning but not great and wishing for Paul's cabin in the woods. Hang in there! Anna

HBF said...

I told my therapist the other day that one of my goals is to try and be as kind to myself as I am to others-I see this as a good mission for you too. I can hear the kindness in your voice, the caring emanating from your heart, but I also hear the resistance, I feel this too... it's a pain in the ass taking all this extra care of ourselves, fending off such a horrible plight, being dragged back into the thick of it just when we think we're getting a break! But you deserve the break and you deserve the kindness and just like the seasons pass, so shall this weariness.

You have many friends that care for you but none that can replace you as your own best friend and nearest comrade in this fight. I'm working on my best friend moves myself, and I will be hoping for you to find an easier path, soothe yourself with kind words, and feel like the woman you want to be, the woman we know that you can be when this horrid disease isn't plaguing you. Stay strong, dear. We know that you are. And we know that you're worth it. <3

Karie said...

Please remember depression lies! Dont believe the lies this illness is trying to defeat you with! It's okay that you left early! It's okay that you were irritated. Go easy on yourself. Praying for you!!!



.