Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 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, March 19, 2017


I'm still struggling. My mood remains very low. I attended my 12-step meeting yesterday morning, but I ended up feeling alone in a crowd. I hate that feeling. It's so painful. I began to cry and couldn't stop, so I left early. Sitting in my vehicle after I left I cried for a long, long time. I felt utter despair.

That despair was just a continuation of the despair I communicated to my friend, Wendy, via text message, as I laid in bed late the previous night. In that message, I communicated feeling as if I was in solitary confinement. Depression, I think, creates this feeling of alone-ness. Whether lying alone in bed or sitting in the midst of a room full of boisterous people, the isolation I feel right now is excruciating.

Utter despair combined with utter isolation, it's easy to see how depression can kill. Suicide is not a topic I broach very often in this blog. It's not an option. Yet it's easy, at times like these, to contemplate the meaning behind this pain and isolation. I admit, in my despair my brain gravitates toward thoughts of life and death. And I believe I have a greater understanding of why some with depression find it difficult, in the midst of this despair, to justify staying alive.

This is a cruel illness. I know I've gained perspective and opportunity as a result of battling depression, but at this moment in time, it's pretty tough to feel anything but cruelty and despair. I'm doing my best, dear readers, to hang on tight, to put one foot in front of the other, and to take the next right action. It would be easier to stop, but forward is the only way to go.

Moving forward is difficult, and I wish the path was clearer, but I guess this is my path right now. I don't have to like it, and I don't, but I'll keep doing my best to walk through it. It will get better. It always does. It feels impossible, but I have to remember that.


Julie Gathman said...

This is good writing. The description of how you feel is helpful to others. At least the part of your brain that composed this is not completely held captive. You have a grain of freedom there.

I have a family member (a young man) in federal prison in Texas for something he did not do (he received a 40 year sentence). When other inmates cause trouble, sometimes HE (and the whole group) get put "in the hole." Then our emails cease, and I know that he's in the hole (in solitary confinement without any privileges). So keep writing, because that is one amazing way we can connect with you and be with you. Please know that we on the outside are thinking of you.

Nathalie said...

My comments don't always get published, so I am maybe making some kind of mistake in the process of registering my comment. I will try again as I so want to support you Etta.
You are going through a really tough time (with your usual courage), so eloquently portrayed and shared with us your online friends. The despair and isolation you describe is so very familiar to me and possibly others too. By sharing your thoughts and feelings it helps me to feel less alone. Hoping that you will very soon feel able to move forward with your recovery.
Wishing you all the very best Etta.

Anonymous said...

Hi Etta,
I have followed your blog for a long time now and it always helps me to feel less alone. Depression can be a really difficult, isolating, despair-inducing illness. It often feels like I have a very mean, cruel, heartless bully living inside my mind...
Try saying that to someone who doesn't have this illness and they would probably run a mile!! Which is why I pretend to be fine, write in my journal, hide my journal from my kids and then just keep to myself when I get low-down.
Your blog is a real lifeline for me and I hope that as your grateful followers our prayers, thoughts and comments can be a lifeline for you. You deserve the support so much Etta, as we all do.

etta said...

Your comments...more moved I have rarely been. Thank you all so much for helping me so much. Thank you, especially, for sharing your stories. I am so very grateful.

Jason Perkins said...

This is indeed a cruel illness. Very true. Forward is the way to go. Sometimes it is horribly difficult and impossible to see, but it's there. It's where I get my personal motto, 'somehow forward.' Thank you for your honest words, and my thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

I recognize every word of what you're saying. The hopelessness is the worst aspect of this monstrous affliction. It destroys all perspective. Sometimes I think it is only routine that keeps me going.

As the last President said: "Words have power." I hope that the support you get from those of us mostly helplessly watching from the outside give you the power you need to get through this temporary relapse.

Wendy Love said...

Wow! That post made a lot of sense. I know you still feel that you are low, low, low but your blog post was clear and reflective and showed great perspective. Those are not the thoughts of someone who is totally on rock bottom. You are on your way up. It is probably slower than you want (it always is) but you are definitely making progress.
Hang in there and keep on writing.

Grace Wisdom said...

Etta my love and prayers. You must continue forward. What I tell myself is you don't have a choice. Take another step forward no matter how slow and excruciating that is. Just reading your blog has helped me today. Thank you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Alone in a crowd is a feeling I know very well. I've thought about what depression is so many different ways, but isolation has always been at the heart of it for me, much like you describe. The kind of aloneness that getting out there and being with people doesn't begin to touch and quite frankly, can make worse. So sorry to hear you are having a hard, hard time and thank you for your willingness to share the toughest times; when I was very down, my journal entries would shrink to a sentence, sometimes a few words. I admire your ability write it out loud. AN aside...NPR has an article on Ketamine for severe depression today. I am no doctor, nor have I tried it, but it caught my interest.