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!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I must have been 16. I stood on that cliff high above Lake Superior, right there in that park just down the street from my high school, for what seemed like hours...and maybe it was. I was so, so miserable. I had been struggling alone against the depression for at least a year.

Home was chaotic, dismissive and abusive. My father was a self-centered ass in an on-again, off-again, move in, get kicked out, physically and psychologically abusive relationship with my wicked step-mother. She hated me, especially after my step-sister was killed. My dad had been beating me since my earliest days, but I didn't know any different. When I sought out respite from a teacher after one particular beating the police took me to emergency foster care. I was forced into therapy with my father. Angry, confused and dismissed, I barely said a word. My father had no trouble speaking up. He was a model patient. I, however, was a "moody, angry, rebellious" teenager.

The depression was so severe, but I still got straight A's and starred on my sports teams. Uncharacteristically, I also wore all black, over-sized clothes, struggled to maintain relationships, and began binge drinking. A suicidal gesture, an overdose of Contact, was ignored. I slept it off at a friend's house. Her concerned mother phoned my dad and step mother to tell them what happened. They never mentioned it to me. I was so miserable. My world didn't make any sense.

I stood on that cliff high above Lake Superior. I loved that park, those cliffs, the crashing waves below. It was a place that gave me respite and peace. I went there often. But on that day, I knew I wouldn't come back. I couldn't leave that park and go back to my nonsensical world. I was done. Just as I shifted my weight forward, a small group of young boys appeared, out of nowhere, off to my right, far below. They were climbing on the rocks, playing. I stopped and stepped away from the edge.

Many years later my youngest brother, who would have been 11 or 12 at the time, told me he was one of those boys. They had noticed me, he said, and thought I was about to jump. I don't remember if I admitted he was right.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That is really intense. I am glad those boys came along. I hope you are, too.

etta said...

Yes. I am happy they came along.

Anonymous said...

Good. I've stood on my own ledge a few time (metaphorically) and I know how... comfortable... that jump looks. How wonderfully easy. And maybe it would have been. But then I would have missed out on so much. It's hard living with depression. My favorite mantra is one that will probably resonant with you: One foot in front of the other. You might be running or you might just be trying to get through to the next moment. One foot in front of the other.
I love your blog. It's very honest.

Anonymous said...

I recognize a key piece of this story in my own story.

Thank you for sharing this.

Julie Gathman said...

It helps to understand people when we know what they've been through.