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!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Connections

Something strange has happened. Being away, it seems, increased my sense of connection, especially to the people in my life. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude in the wee hours of yesterday morning (my sleep is still not back to normal) I wrote a letter about it. I posted the letter to the private Facebook group I created prior to my trip, which allowed 25 coworkers, friends and family members to follow my progress.

Posting the letter to the group was a little scary, as I laid my emotions out there in a very personal way. I'm used to writing about these things here, somewhat anonymously, and posting my feelings to the black hole of the Internet. Even if my friends or family read what I write here, I rarely know about it. There's some safety in that. But yesterday, I felt the need to let those people closest to me know exactly what I was feeling. So far, I'm glad I did.

And now I'd like to let you in on it, too. If it inspires you to take a risk, to be open to adventure, to go after a dream, or simply to open yourself up to those in your life, to be honest and vulnerable, then publishing my thoughts and feelings here will be worth it, too. Here you go:

I know sometimes we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone. It’s human nature, right? I try to live each day with gratitude in my heart; to recognize the little things, the people, and the opportunities I have which make my life what it is, a pretty good life. No matter the challenges, the hardships, or the illness, I have a pretty good life.

As I sit here this morning, 5 days after returning home from a 27-day bucket list trip to Nepal and The Himalayas, I am feeling overwhelming gratitude. I am so lucky, and primarily I am lucky because of you. All of you…

My brothers. Despite our trials and tribulations, despite disparity and distance between us, I have siblings that care today. I have three brothers with wonderful families of their own. I have nieces and nephews I don’t often get to see, but cherish nonetheless. As a lot, we are healthy, prospering, successful contributors to society.

Though sometimes I feel distant from your nuclear family lives, being away made me feel more connected to you, my brothers, and your families. From your hilarious comments and “likes” to the thoughts and observations of my sisters-in-law in response to my Facebook posts, I knew you were each paying attention and interested, despite the business of your own family lives. That was comforting and reassuring.

Mom, you have often been a source of comfort and reassurance. It was no different while I was away. I could tell you were anxious and slightly fearful of the challenge I was undertaking, but you were wholeheartedly supportive, nonetheless. Among other things, you were crucial in assisting with changing my airline ticket when it became evident to me I needed to return early or risk my mental health. I haven’t always been the easiest daughter to raise, or even observe from a distance, of that I am sure, but you’ve always had my back. Thanks, Mom. I’m lucky. And grateful.

Speaking of gratitude, I will never, ever be able to express the depth of my gratitude to my psychiatrist, Dr. L. You were not only interested in and willing to follow my progress while I was away, you were a lifeline. When the altitude began wreaking havoc on my brain, heightening my anxiety to levels I’ve rarely, if ever, experienced, you were there. You were willing to participate in a dialogue with me, guide me, make suggestions, and reassure me. All the while I was halfway around the world! As usual, you went above and beyond what would be expected of any doctor. You were a touchstone, a presence, a voice to fall back on when I was tired, unsure, struggling, or frightened. I am certain this trip would not have been as successful if I hadn’t been allowed the selfless connection and support you granted me, Dr. L. Thank you.

As far as granting support, it is a rare opportunity to be able to take off for a month and still be allowed back to work with open arms. It was so reassuring to be connected to each of you, my coworkers, while I was away. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my experience with you. My connection to you, my colleagues, with whom I have always had the utmost respect, was only strengthened by my time across the globe. To feel your sense of excitement and joy in each of my accomplishments and milestones was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I felt valued, appreciated, and respected. Where you could have been resentful and envious, left to pick up my slack while I traipsed around the world, you instead celebrated with me and relished in my adventure. I’ve never been so happy to return to work. I am truly grateful to work with so many amazing, supportive, selfless people. We are a good team.

Another team I appreciate now more than ever are the friends with whom I shared this adventure. Being a bit of a loner, I guess I wasn’t expecting the excitement and encouragement I received from each of you. I don’t do a lot of socializing. My world tends to be on the small side. But while I was out trekking alone, I felt nothing but support and camaraderie from the friends I allowed to follow me. I admit, I was surprised. And rather than saying anything special about me, it is instead a reflection of the kind, generous people I have in my life. Even if I see many of you only rarely, and even though I tend to think of myself as a unit of one, this trip made me realize I actually do have many caring, supportive friends. I only need to let you in to feel the love you so willingly shared with me this past month. Thank you, each of you. Thank you.

I am a lucky woman. I took an adventure to an area I had dreamed about for years. I expected to be challenged and thrilled, and I was. I’m proud of myself for taking the opportunity to make a dream reality. I expected I would learn a bit about the world, a different culture, and myself on this trip. And I did. What I didn’t expect, however, turned out to be the true gift. Love, support, connection… on so many levels. I’m still reeling a bit processing all of it.

I guess I just wanted to say thank you, to all of you, many of whom, like me, I’m sure never expected this outpouring of heartfelt gratitude. Perhaps you never imagined your singular place in my life could make such a huge impact. Perhaps that’s the lesson for all of us. We make a difference. Even when we think we are just doing what’s expected in our particular roles, we are making a difference in somebody’s life.

I want to thank each of you, today, for making a difference in mine. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Home again

I arrived home from Nepal around 9:00 PM, US Central Time, on Sunday, November 4, 2018. I had traveled well over 30 hours by the time I walked in my door. I was tired and relieved.

Jet was here waiting for me. My assistant, Michelle, who took care of Jet while I was gone, dropped him at home a few hours before I arrived. Perhaps it was a function of traveler's fatigue, or perhaps it was simply that I really missed Jet, but I basically bawled my eyes out on and off for several hours after arriving home. It was strange. I was overwhelmed, sad, relieved, happy, and who knows what else! I was out of sorts, to say the least.

There was so much to do after getting home. It would have been easy to collapse on the sofa and leave the bags in the middle of the floor. Fortunately, I resisted the urge to do just that. Instead, I've kept busy resettling. I've unpacked, done all of my laundry, gone grocery shopping, completed paperwork for my health insurance, and updated this blog with photos from my trip. So if you're looking for some pictures, I went back and added several to each post I wrote while away. Check them out and let me know what you think.

I plan to return to work tomorrow. I still have my high altitude cough, developed about 10 days ago, so I will also check in with my doctor tomorrow, too. I'd like to get rid of that. On Thursday, I'm looking forward to checking in with my psychiatrist. She was very helpful while I was away, allowing me to stay in contact as needed (like when my anxiety rose off the charts). She followed my progress on Facebook, as well. I am very lucky to have such a skilled, caring doctor. I'll always be grateful for her assistance.

I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Everest Base Camp, but I'm looking forward to getting back into my regular routine. Right now I have no desire to begin exercising again, but I'm going to force myself to get back out there soon. I did lose 10 pounds while away, so I'd like to put some muscle back on my frame. And I'd like to become a runner again. I'm going to take it slow, see if I can avoid injury, maybe run a Turkey Trot in a few weeks, and eventually, I hope, race the marathon again. Now that I've put Everest Base Camp behind me, that will be my focus. Just run...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Back in Kathmandu

Sunset in Lukla
Sunset in Lukla
Sunset in Lukla
It took another stressful 2 days of waiting and negotiating at the Lukla airport to finally get on a flight yesterday, which brought me back to Kathmandu, after finishing my trek.  That makes 4.5 wasted, incredibly anxiety-filled days on the front and back ends of my trek spent at airports with seemingly no ability to transport the vast numbers of trekkers awaiting flights. It tarnished an otherwise incredible experience.

The past two days were full of anxious tears and major frustration, as I was bumping up against my international flight home, which begins later tonight. I was so relieved to actually get on a flight yesterday, that that too brought me to tears. I'm really tired of crying now.

After arriving at the hotel yesterday, I took my first real, hot shower in almost a month. What a gratifying thrill! I also got my first look at myself. Weird. I literally had not seen my face or most of my body for a month.

There are no mirrors in the Himalayas, and even if there were, it wouldn't matter, as I was covered from head to toe 99% of time! I discovered I badly need a haircut, and I've lost at least 10 pounds! I've been working hard on the desserts since getting back to the city.

Last night was also the first night I slept on a mattress in a warm bed since early October. It was wonderful! Toilets, toilet paper I don't have to supply myself, hot and cold running water... these are a few of the things I will never take for granted again.

And clean air! While the air was pristine in the mountains, it is thick with exhaust, dust, and who knows what else here in Kathmandu! I have been using my asthma inhaler every four hours like clockwork, and it's still difficult to breathe. I'm really looking forward to getting out of the city and on my way home.

I go to the airport in 6 hours for a middle of the night flight to begin my journey home. I'm actually really surprised at how incredibly home sick I am. I can't wait to get back to Jet and my normal, boring little routine.

This was a difficult trip, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The trekking itself was, of course, challenging. It required that I dig to a deep, rarely visited level more often than not. The lack of infrastructure made every detail, like securing a guesthouse room each night or a timely flight when needed, impossible to count on or even predict. And the physical conditions; 24-hour cold, high altitude, lack of running water, no toilets, did I mention the cold(?) wore on me. Regardless, I accomplished my goal.

I'm so thrilled to have set foot on the soil of Everest Basecamp. That's been a dream for more years than I can count. And I'm proud of myself for overcoming all of the challenges and obstacles this trek laid in my path. I stepped over, around, and through each one of them, accomplishing some things I never imagined myself  accomplishing.

Everest Base Camp, October 21, 2018
This was a more difficult experience than that which I had expected, but I've come out the other side a better human being, hopefully, because of it. That sounds cliche, but in this case, I believe it's true.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Headed downhill

Last night I slept below 15,000 feet for the first time in at least a week, and I felt like I was in an oxygen tent! On the way up I got anxious and could barely breathe above 14,000 feet! What a difference a week makes.

Unfortunately, I also had one of my toughest days yesterday. I woke up with a sore throat and cough. My chest was congested. And the first order of business yesterday was to climb up 17,600 foot Renjo La Pass. It was a climb that just wouldn't end! It took 3 hours and 47 minutes of climbing to reach the top, and I felt so poorly I was actually getting scared. As promised the 360 degree view of the Everest range was spectacular, but I didn't even get a picture. I needed to get lower quickly, so that's what I did.

Picture from top of Renjo La Pass, taken by my guide, of the entire Everest range.
The difficulty was just getting started, however, as we still had 3-4 hours of trekking before we would reach the next village. In total, we went 10.4 miles in close to 8 hours. I felt so poorly, I even let my guide carry my pack when he offered. It was a tough day.

I'm fortunate my doctor prescribed a just-in-case antibiotic for just such an occasion. She had mentioned that more treks are interrupted or discontinued due to respiratory illness rather than anything else. I'm glad she knew that. I began taking the antibiotic last night, and I already feel better.

We only hiked about 3 hours today, and it will be mostly downhill from here. I had my first shower in at least 2 weeks this afternoon, quite a treat even though my host's definition of hot differs quite a bit from mine! And at this point I'm contemplating whether I will wash or simply throw away every garment I've repeatedly worn on this excursion! Trekking is amazing, but it is not at all luxurious!

That's all for now folks. Hopefully the next time you hear from me I won't be sitting inside a mountain guesthouse wearing two down jackets, two layers of thermal pants, and a hat, all the while freezing my one exposed finger, which I needed to type this post!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Basecamp

I made it to Everest Base Camp. In the past 3 days I've also climbed up and over an 18,000 foot mountain pass and summited Mount Kalapthar, around 18,400 feet. I never imagined I'd be able to do any of these things, and each was extremely difficult, to say the least, but I did them.

View on the way up to Kong Ma La Pass

Top of Kong Ma La Pass, 18,016 feet.

The "trail" down from the top of Kong Ma La Pass. You can see it, right, a trail? Me, either. This was fairly typical hiking when going up and over passes, challenging to say the least.
What I came to do! Everest Base Camp, October 21, 2018
Defeat the Stigma of Mental Illness, Everest Base Camp, October 21, 2018
Summit of Mount Kalapatthar, which faces Mount Everest, October 22, 2018

Exhausted at summit of Mount Kalapatthar

Summit of Mount Kalapatthar, with Mount Everest and Nuptse Mountains in background
Basecamp was a dream come true. I cried tears of joy when I arrived. I have two more high passes to conquer and a visit to a beautiful high altitude lake before heading back, but the highest altitudes and climbs have already been accomplished.

Rough day with anxiety and fatigue today, but hope to feel better tomorrow. The anxiety meds have made a huge difference, and I tried to go without this morning. Might have been a mistake. I won't make it again. Onward and upward.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Anxiety

I'm on my bucket list trip to Everest base camp, and I am battling a fight within my brain. My anxiety, something with which I don't often struggle, is almost out of control. It's already harder to breathe up here, but I think that shortness of breath is triggering for me. It's why I can't swim, even though I'm a very good swimmer, in lakes where the water is over my head. That feeling of breathlessness (with no escape route) triggers more breathlessness! And then (now) I get in full panic mode. It's so, so uncomfortable!

So even though I climbed from 14,000 feet to 16,487 feet and back just this morning, I'm now sitting here at only 14,000 feet panicking. I can't breathe.

Don't get me wrong, I panicked on the early part of the climb, too. Even shed a few tears, but I stuck with it, took it slow, got my breathing into a rhythm, and felt great at the summit. I figured that accomplishment would quell the anxiety, but apparently it hasn't.

I do have an as needed anxiety med with me, but I worry about taking that, too. Not sure it's totally okay at high altitude. Unfortunately, I've had to take it, and fortunately it does help after awhile.

I'm frustrated to be feeling this way. I knew this trip would be physically challenging. I guess I never contemplated or expected this mental battle. It's all I can do not to turn around and go home. I'm going to keep forging ahead and hope I can overcome some of this anxiety. If not, I've got a long way to go. Any words of encouragement gladly accepted.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Trekking

I'm on day 5, I think, of my trek. Currently around 14,000 feet. The actual trekking has been challenging but wonderful. I've seen Everest the last 2 days. Still several days away from basecamp, though. I'll try to post some photos, but internet is sketchy at best now. I've had some challenges with anxiety outside of trekking time. Not happy about that but forging ahead. I'll update as I'm able.

Yaks transporting goods along trekking paths

Amazing waterfall. One of many.

Donkeys transporting goods crossing one of the many suspension bridges along the route.

This suspension bridge was at least 1/4 mile above the raging river below. It was amazing!

First view of Mount Everest (on left)

If not on the backs of donkeys or yaks, human porters are the amazing transporters of goods throughout the Himalayas. These guys routinely passed me carrying hundreds of pounds of goods on their backs.

Typical guesthouse room. No heat. Little to no electricity. No running water. I got really good at wearing my next day's clothing to bed, as it was just too damn cold to get dressed in the mornings!

Ama Dablam dominated the landscape early in my trek.

Me. And mountains, go figure...

My first summit. Although even at close to 17,000 feet, this officially is only a HILL in the Himalayas--Nagarjun Hill, to be exact.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Kathmandu

This post may be short and sweet, as I am attempting to type it on my cellphone. Interesting to say the least, but here goes.

I arrived in Kathmandu Thursday in the middle of the night (it's Saturday morning here now-- neat trick, huh? This post published a day before I wrote it. ) My trip here was entirely uneventful, which was pretty amazing considering I took 3 flights over 30 hours. Unfortunately, my ride from the airport failed to show up. An AM/PM mistake I learned later. However, the situation was quickly resolved, and I was on my way.

Kathmandu is about as chaotic a place as I have ever experienced. It's fascinating, a total culture shock as compared to my bucolic life, which I never thought of as bucolic until now! I would not survive such a lifestyle, but it's been interesting to experience.

Drivers and pedestrians approach from every direction. It's amazing nobody gets run over. Honking horns are constant!

Normal electrical pole in Kathmandu. Yikes!
The people here are wonderful; polite, accommodating, and friendly. I met my trekking guide yesterday. He is from the Sherpa culture, and his parents still live in the Himalayan village where he was born. I'm looking forward to learning from him.

My trek was supposed to begin yesterday with a local flight to Lukla, elevation 9500 feet, where we were to begin hiking. Unfortunately, as is routinely the case, after waiting thru 7+ hours of delays--in an obscenely packed and chaotic domestic terminal--our flight was canceled due to poor weather in Lukla. The process will be repeated today.  I'm praying our flight takes off as planned.

Chaos at Kathmandu domestic terminal with everyone awaiting flights to Lukla
These days in Kathmandu have left me quite anxious, to the point where it's been a struggle to soothe myself. I'm really hoping/expecting getting my boots on the ground will bring about more of the physical and spiritual experience for which I planned.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ready or not

Nepal is on the horizon. I'm excited, anxious, and ready to go. I'm not looking forward to the actual travel there and back, but I'm prepared to take it in stride and roll with whatever comes my way. Eventually, I will get there. I'll do my best to embrace the journey.

Preparation for this bucket list trip has been a bit complex and challenging. Trekking through the Himalayas followed by riding an elephant in the jungle meant I needed a lot of different gear, so packing required maximum thought and planning. In fact, the first time I packed last Sunday, it took me 6.5 hours! I'm now almost completely packed. In addition, the house sitters, dog sitter, lawn care guy, and transportation friends have all been set up. Everything is taken care of. Finally.

I'm not sure what to expect once I land in Kathmandu. I mean, I know the schedule of each day, but I've never traveled to this part of the world before. I've been to several foreign countries, but Nepal will be the least westernized among them. I'm really looking forward to soaking in the various cultures, Kathmandu city versus Sherpa villages versus jungle inhabitants, which I will experience.

I'm not sure how often I will have a chance to post here once I'm trekking, but I will do my best to keep you updated. At the very least, know there will be a boat load of pictures on the way. Until then, carry on, my friends.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Best(?) Blog... Wow.

Heartfelt gratitude and appreciation today to Dan Brown of My Therapy App. He wrote to me earlier this week to inform me My Therapy App has selected my little blog as the "Best Depression Blog for Life." I was shocked and completely humbled. He posted his top ten blogs in ten different categories on his site today. I am grateful for the recognition, glad to know some people find solace and hope in my words, and I admit, surprised to be noticed.

I've been writing this blog for over a decade. Sometimes, especially when I'm doing well, I wonder if I'm making a difference, if anything I write is helpful. This honor won't totally take those worries from me, but it inspires me to keep writing despite my intermittent reservations. Thanks, Dan. Thanks for letting me know I've made a difference in at least one person's life.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hiking rather than worrying

Jet and I went for a hike yesterday. It was his first hike since injuring his elbow, and it was probably my last hike prior to leaving for Nepal. I was so anxious about preparing for my trip yesterday morning, I couldn't take it anymore, so I grabbed Jet and we left. We ended up on top of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful, sunny, cool day. And it worked. I forgot about preparing for my trip and enjoyed my dog. Have you ever tried to take a selfie with a dog? I have.






Hope that brightened your day! He always brightens mine. Happy day!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Lost friends, injuries, running, hiking

Sometimes I don't realize how much I miss certain people until I accidentally run into them in the hardware store. That's exactly what happened yesterday. I ran into a couple I hadn't seen in a few years. They are friends I met in the local running community. Wonderful, fun, happy people. But I've been away from the local running community for several years due to my various injuries. And I'm not all that social. So despite the fact that he's been very supportive during times of struggle, and we laugh a lot when we're together, I'm not one to reach out just to say hello. They have their lives, I have mine, but maybe I should work on that reaching out thing.

It was so wonderful to see them yesterday. I was at the store to quickly return an item and then planned to be on my way, but once we connected we must have talked for 20 minutes. I could have talked and laughed with them for hours. As I left I realized how much I've missed spending time with them. Knowing me, it will take another accidental meeting before I see them again, but perhaps meeting them yesterday will spur me to say hello more often and more purposefully than that.

Speaking of running and injuries, I'm sort of injured again. Yup, I can't believe it either. I had worked my way up to running/walking (mostly running) 12.8 miles as recently as two weeks ago. In fact, I was up to running/walking almost 25 miles per week. But 3-4 days after that 12.8 mile run, which was on September 2nd, both of my calves tightened up, and both Achilles tendons began to hurt.

I backed off for several days. I just walked and rode my ElliptiGo. No problem. But every time I attempted to run, even jog super slowly, my Achilles tendons got very tight and sore. Of course, with my recent history of a right Achilles tendon tear and surgery, I was (and am) quite alarmed by this new development. My left Achilles is actually more sore than the right, but I don't want to risk another tear.

As a result of this development, I've shut down my running. I'm not going to be able to make my racing return in a couple weeks. The Twin Cities 10-Miler will go on without me. That sucks, and I'm very disappointed, but I have bigger fish to fry. By focusing on walking and my ElliptiGo, rather than running, I think I'll be okay hiking in Nepal.

I leave for my trip to the Himalayas in just 18 days. It feels like the day is approaching quicker and quicker! I'm anxious, but I think I've finally accumulated everything I need. I still need to organize Jet's care, house watching, yard maintenance, bill paying, and some transportation details. I also need to figure out Skype or some other type of free communication. I'm a bit of a tech/app neophyte, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Whew, I've got plenty yet to do!

With that realization, my anxiety level has again risen, so I'd better get busy. Right now!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Choosing where to focus


Approximately one mile into my commute this morning a mid-20's, white dude, in a black SUV smashed into the back of my vehicle, also an SUV. There was little damage, but I was enraged! When I profanely confronted him, he was sitting with his phone still in his hand on his lap. He apologized and admitted he was fiddling with his phone when he hit me. I told him to pull over and call the police, and then I followed him to the curb. That's when I noticed he had a "Whiskey plate."

In Minnesota, when someone has a serious DUI history, and he's allowed to drive (often after losing his license for a time) his vehicle gets a special license plate. It's plain black and white, and the first letter is a 'W'. It allows law enforcement to pay extra close attention to the driver. As I exited my vehicle to express my dismay at the fact he would risk his license by fiddling with his phone, I thought to myself, "I should take a picture of his plate." I didn't.

After more discussion, laced with profanity, I must admit, and after he assured me he was on hold with the non-emergency police line, I went to check on Jet in the back of my vehicle. I opened my hatchback, checked in with Jet, who was quivering, and reassured him we were all right. When I looked up, the apologetic drunk, who likely didn't have insurance, and may even have been under the influence, was gone! I couldn't believe it!

I dialed 911 and gave the dispatcher all of the particulars. I remembered the first two letters of his plate, WY, and what I thought I remembered of the other four numbers, some combination of 2's, 3's and 6's. Twenty minutes later the police officer arrived. He informed me the plate number I thought I remembered came back to a gold car in another city, so I clearly didn't get the last four numbers in the correct order. By the time he finished the accident report I was barely down to a simmer from my initial boiling rage.

I still can't believe it, and I'm still angry with myself for being so stupid--should've taken a picture, should've parked in front of him, should've immediately gotten his driver's license, etc, etc, etc. Next time I'll know better.

By now you're probably wondering what's up with the photo at the top of this post? What does it have to do with a hit and run car accident? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And that's the point.

The picture shows what I came home to today. My mom, as she usually does before moving back to Florida for the Winter, spent all afternoon, a portion of the night, and much of today making me spaghetti sauce and split pea with ham soup. My freezer is full of 5 containers of each. To top it off, my kitchen was spotless, like nobody was even here! It was so nice to arrive home to such comfort.

So tonight I'm choosing to focus my energy on the love and kindness of my mother. She deserves more space in my brain, anyway. I'm so grateful to her. I have a tiny kitchen, my mom is getting older and less mobile, and yet she expended the time and energy to take care of me. I'm lucky. Plus, my mom makes awesome spaghetti sauce and split pea soup! I'll remember this part of this day every time I have a delicious, warm, home cooked meal this Winter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Voice from the Other Side

A few years back I wrote a post which contained a letter to our friends and family members. It is a post which apparently resonated with a lot of people, as it has been viewed a lot. A few days ago I read a post which resonated with me, and I think it pairs with my friends and family post quite well. So, if you'd like, check out my post, entitled Dear Friends and Family. Then check out this very well written post. It is a voice from the other side of the fence, not a perspective often heard, and I loved it. I'd love to hear what you think as well.

Friday, September 7, 2018

May I vent?

Whew...it's been a hell of a week. First of all, I have a migraine. I've had it all day, but I worked through it, took Jet to the vet with it, and mowed my lawn despite it. I hate migraines. Mine sometimes last for days. I have to work tomorrow, and I'm going to see Hamilton (yes, I got tickets) on Sunday. I don't have the time or patience for a migraine.

Perhaps the reason I have a migraine is because I've been overwhelmed with fear this week. At least that's what my sponsor tells me. Fear of economic insecurity, fear of the unknown...fear upon fear upon fear. No wonder my head hurts and I feel anxious.

Here's the scoop. Late last week I found out my vehicle needs 4 new tires. The old ones only have 37,000 miles on them. That was frustrating news, but I've been saving my money, so I thought I could handle it.

Unfortunately, soon after the tire news, Jet injured his left elbow. If you want to see me maximally worried and anxious, watch me when my dog is sick or hurting. He was so uncomfortable I made an urgent trip to the vet last Friday. That was expensive, but worse, I didn't get a definitive answer. I've had to keep him quiet all week, which has been very, very stressful.

Like I said, the vet wasn't sure what was going on, but there was a good possibility it might be more than a sprain. My mind, of course, went to the worst scenario, which would involve surgery and potential expenditure of more than $2000! Did I mention I'm leaving for Nepal in a month?

Speaking of Nepal, early this week I discovered I need a new passport, even though mine will not expire for 3 months, in order to enter Nepal a month from now. I had to apply for an expedited passport. That wasn't money, almost $200, I was planning on spending. And the discovery, application process, and photo fetching were just a bit stressful!

After that surprise, I decided I better get busy and see what else I need for my rapidly approaching trip. I've spent hours every night on my computer. One thing seems to lead to another, and another, and another. I bought my travel insurance, which I knew I was going to need, so that wasn't a surprise, just another expenditure.

Another planned expenditure, however, did end up surprisingly. I ordered my new Garmin GPS watch, which I was supposed to get for $400, but someone I've never heard of already used my $100 gift card, so right now it's a $500 watch. How does that happen? No one seems to know. The company assures me they'll make it right, but we'll see. That was not a nice surprise.

I got a recommended equipment list from my travel company, and there were a few surprises there, too. More research and purchases on the horizon. I also researched recommended vaccines and medications. As a result, I made appointments for Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. And I made an appointment to get prescriptions for antibiotics and altitude sickness meds. It seems the more I research, the less I want to know!

In the midst of all of this my dehumidifier quit and my toilet broke. Oh, and I'm still waiting for my new storm door to be installed. Each of these, singularly, is not a big deal. But when they all happen at once, as I'm preparing to go on a bucket list trip, well, I'm a little stressed! The timing has been impeccable! No wonder I have a migraine.

Thank you for letting me vent. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

My State Fair



I took a coworker to the Minnesota State Fair yesterday. It was her first time, so it was fun to experience it again with a rookie. We took the ride above about 10 minutes after we walked through the gates. It was awesome! It spun at 70 miles per hour, forward and backwards, while the chairs in which we sat tumbled around and around. Sometimes we were facing directly at the ground as we came around. Other times we were tumbling upside down and backwards. I sent a note to my doctor joking that I think my mood got better after this rush of a ride!


We did a bit of shopping. I especially liked this shirt. Ain't that the truth?





We joined about 1000 other people (not kidding) in the "Miracle of Life" building, where we saw baby goats (kids), piglets, calves and this newborn lamb! In fact, we were there as it happened! I've spent some time on farms in my day, but I had never seen anything give birth before. It was pretty cool!




But the main reason millions of Minnesotans attend the state fair each year is to EAT! You can buy just about anything on a stick at the fair. Really, anything! Between the two of us, my coworker and I consumed two pronto pups (basically a corn dog made with pancake batter rather than cornmeal--a Minnesota creation, I believe), fresh squeezed lemonade, fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade, double chocolate strawberry shortcake, deep fried apple pie with ice cream, and 8 dozen Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies! Okay, we didn't eat all 8 dozen cookies, but that's how many you get in your bucket. Take it from a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, they are amazing! The owners of Sweet Martha's make so many millions of dollars during the Minnesota State Fair, they don't have to work the rest of the year! Nice. Looking forward to enjoying them for, hopefully, at least a couple more days.

It was a good day at the fair. We went early and left by early afternoon. There's no way to see or do it all, and there are so many people, it's hard to move around by noon. But it was fun, and I'm glad I went. And I really do think it helped my mood. Bonus!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Comments Disappeared!

I am so, so sorry to all of you who have been commenting since, apparently, sometime in March! I have not been notified of any comments, and therefore I have not posted any of them. Blogger is supposed to email me every time someone leaves a comment. That way I can read it, decide if it's not spam, and post it! I just figured people were reading less and less, but in fact, I had many, many comments awaiting moderation that I never knew of! I've now read and posted them.

I'm so sorry! And angry! Dammit! I hope I haven't offended or lost some of you because of this major snafu! Again, I apologize. Please keep commenting, and I will be more vigilant about looking for your comments. I'm so upset Blogger has failed to keep up its end of the deal! I will try to get this fixed.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

cranky

Sometimes, for whatever reason, patients feel they are the only ones in the facility requiring care at that particular time. And when that happens they tend to be not-so-nice. Today, at the end of a long week, the first two patients I encountered had this attitude and freely unloaded their displeasure upon me. In one case, I had barely entered the room to introduce myself.

This doesn't happen all that often, so it was certainly unusual to have it happen twice in a row, and before the clock hit 8:30 AM, no less! All I could do was stand and listen to the complaints. There's little use interrupting or correcting the errors in the conspiratorial assumptions. Although I did finally point out to one patient that her nurse just might be in another room assisting another patient at that time. It's frustrating to be in the position of defending myself prior to even making an introduction.

Maybe I've been on the helper side too long, but I really don't understand where patients get the idea that their nurses, or therapists, or doctors are out to get them. That the nurse is 15 minutes late with pills, for example, because she is inept, doesn't care, or doesn't like the patient. I know there are a few bad apples out there, but those of us in these helping professions generally do care about the people we are trying to help. Sheesh...

And so began my work day today. It was tough. I'm already (still) feeling a little off, a little cranky myself, and worried about my mood. I had to take a few quiet breaks, once in the chapel, to make sure I approached each patient with compassion and respect, as they deserve, despite my inner turmoil or their outward behavior. I'm glad I was able to do so successfully. And the added patient at the end of my day was quite grateful for my assistance. I felt like I made a difference. That's what it's all about, even if I do have to get through a little muck to get there.

Be nice, my friends. Be nice.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Concerned about tired

I don't have much to say tonight. I'm tired. I'm just plain tired, and I'm getting a bit concerned about that. I'm sure you don't want to read a post about how tired I am, but fatigue which doesn't seem to abate despite extra sleep concerns me. It's usually a symptom when I'm not doing so hot. And it's sometimes one of the first symptoms that shows up, even before my mood dips, hence my concern.

When I'm tired, everything feels more difficult. Work is busy, but it's not crazy, and still it seems tough to keep up. I want to stay home just about every day. Taking care of my house might be a little busier, as I just painted my shutters and front door, but again, it maybe shouldn't feel as daunting as it does. So far I'm keeping up, but the energy expenditure seems out of line with the chores. It takes more effort to get things done. Even packing tomorrow's lunch tonight felt like a really big task. I don't like that.

I'm feeling uneasy with feeling so tired. My history of rapid descents is the reason for my dis-ease. I've let my doctor know. We're keeping in touch. In the meantime I'm trying not to panic. Maybe I'm too concerned. After all, I'm just tired. Yet I don't like feeling this kind of tired. This kind of tired scares me, and I don't like being scared either. Hoping I'll feel energized soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Another chance encounter

It's been about one year since I was first hospitalized for my most recent depression relapse. Turns out I would be hospitalized again within a couple weeks of the end of that first hospitalization. Things have gone pretty well since then, at least where my depression is concerned. And I'm certainly grateful for that.

It was during one of those hospitalizations that I was able to work with a new-to-me psychiatrist for a short time. She also saw me once or twice during my Ketamine trial last Fall. She was great, and I appreciated her care.

I ran into that psychiatrist the other day. I was out on my ElliptiGo, taking a water break, when she approached. She was out for a run. I couldn't remember her name, of course, but I said hello, nonetheless. It took her a minute, but after I reminded her where we met, she remembered me. I thought that was kind of cool.

Really cool, however, was when she stopped to chat. She was amazed at how I looked. Beaming, she said, "It's so nice to see you out!" I laughed, because I'm out all the time, but of course she doesn't know that. The last time she saw me, I wasn't functional. I was lethargic, hopeless, and likely barely making eye contact. She never knew me as a "normal" person, only as a desperate patient.

We talked for a few minutes about running and how things were going. She was interested in my ElliptiGo and even took me up on my offer to take it for a spin. I was impressed. I guess I don't know her as a "normal" person either, only as a buttoned up professional.

It's always fun to run into doctors, social workers, or nurses who only know me as my hospitalizable self. When I'm not deep in a depressive state, I'm obviously a much different looking and acting person. I like that. I'm happy that's the case. It reinforces I have an illness--an illness of my mind, body, and soul. It's not who I am. Actually, depression steals who I am.

I'm not depressed. I have depression.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Blip

Taking my medications is a huge piece of my recipe for successfully combating depression. Nevertheless, I always want to take the lowest number and dosages of medication. I need my medications, but I don't want to take more than I require to maintain stability. And boy have I been stable! I've been feeling well for months. It's been really nice and a total relief.

I've been feeling so well for so long I asked my doctor to decrease one of my antidepressants, which we did about a month ago. We decreased another medication a few weeks ago. I was satisfied, pleased to be feeling consistently well. Hooray for me!

Unfortunately I had a little blip in my thinking and mood this week. My brain was getting a little noisy. Too many thoughts, too little space to process them. I was more irritable and had a harder time letting go of little annoyances. I was impatient. People in public spaces, drivers, and even some of my patients irked me. The occurrence of one of these "symptoms" wouldn't concern me. That's life. But simultaneous occurrence of crappy thinking, impatience, and irritability is always concerning.

It took a few days before I realized what was happening, but once I did I got concerned. I contacted my doctor. She was concerned. My history of sliding into full blown depression faster than a speeding bullet caused both of us to take notice. Actually, I got downright scared. I don't want to go anywhere near a full blown depression relapse again! We readjusted one of my medications. Bummer.

I have to be careful not to treat the med increase as a failure, but sometimes I go there. Instead I have to remember I have an illness, and clearly my medications are very important. I'm lucky and grateful they are such an effective piece of maintaining my stability. I hope this increase will quickly stymie the noise, impatience and irritability. I enjoy feeling well. I'd like to keep it up.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Cancer

Cancer. It's not a word that's been associated with anyone in my immediate or extended family ever, which is remarkable. Never. How lucky is that?

My 19-year-old nephew has cancer. We found out yesterday. The mass behind his right eye is cancerous. He has a very rare type of cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. It generally strikes children or young people. It is treatable. In addition to the surgery he has already endured (which they did through his right eye!), he will have to have chemotherapy and radiation. I don't know how long the process will take, but his plans, his life, as well as the lives of those around him, will dramatically change for the foreseeable future.

Prior to yesterday, we all knew cancer was the probable outcome. It was just a matter of figuring out what kind of cancer it was. Despite that knowledge, the definitive cancer diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks. I was immediately terrified and overwhelmingly sad. I guess I was holding onto some remote hope that this would actually turn out to be nothing to worry about. Maybe that's human nature, but my reaction still surprised me.

I'm not very close to my brother, my nephew's father, but I love my brother's kids. Like his sisters, my nephew is a talented, humble, generous, loving soul. He's a division one college athlete, now faced with missing his sophomore soccer season, and an intelligent young man. He's got a full life ahead.

My brother and his family live out West, and I've never been to their home, but now I want to go visit. I want to hang out with my nephew. Love him, support him, and be there for whatever he may need. It's not necessary. He has a large, loving support system, so I'd likely be superfluous. Perhaps my need is more for me than for him... I don't know. I've never experienced any of this before.

No knowing what to do is uncomfortable. Fear is uncomfortable. I guess I'll stay home, for now, wait for tidbits of news, and hope and pray for progress. I have a feeling I'm going to be uncomfortable and scared for quite awhile, but my feelings are nothing compared to what my nephew must be feeling. If I could take away some of his uncertainty and fear, I'd do it in a heartbeat! More than anything, I wish he didn't have to go through this.

Unfortunately, I am powerless to change my nephew's course. All I can do now is pray. So that's what I'm going to do.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A new goal

On a lark, I entered a lottery. Tens of thousands of people enter this lottery for one of approximately 11,000 spots. I had no intention of entering, but my other plan for that weekend didn't look likely to materialize. So when I received an e-mail from Twin Cities in Motion, the group which organizes The Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile, I thought, "What the heck?" I entered the lottery.

That's how I got a new goal. My name was drawn for one of the coveted spots, and I am now registered to run The TC 10 Mile race on October 7, 2018. I had hoped to run the marathon that day, but wisely I didn't register. I was waiting to see how my knee would heal. It's become clear over the past several weeks there's no way I'll be in marathon shape by October. At the rate I'm currently going, I likely won't even be in half marathon shape. But 10 miles? I think that may be doable.

So I have a new goal. I like goals, especially running goals. I need something to shoot for. I need a reason to train hard, and I like to train hard. But I likely won't be doing a lot of hard training for this race. Getting to the starting line healthy and able to run will be the primary goal. If all goes well, I'm hoping this race will be the first of many comeback races.

I'm excited. This race starts at the same time as the Twin Cities Marathon and finishes at the same finish line. I get to experience the marathon atmosphere, which I love, without the marathon mileage! It's the best of both worlds.

With this race as a carrot, I've already felt more energized and focused when out on the road. I have a reason, besides just "getting back to running" for being out there now. I've been frustrated with my slow, slogging run/walks, and I think part of the frustration has been the aimlessness of it all. With nothing on the horizon, I had no particular plan to guide me. And I guess "just getting back to running" wasn't cutting it. Now I have somewhere to go.

I'm looking forward to using this unexpected carrot to keep me moving forward. And I'm really looking forward to experiencing the marathon atmosphere and racing again. I like my new goal. I feel hopeful again; hopeful I'll be a runner again, and maybe, just maybe, a marathoner again. That will be a great day!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sometimes reality sucks

I'm sitting here in fear. Within the last 24 hours, my 19 year old nephew, a Division 1 college athlete, told his mom "something isn't right," and thought she should make him a doctor's appointment. The doctor took an MRI of his head. Unfortunately, the results necessitated my nephew being flown from his home in Nevada to Stanford University Medical Center where right now they are preparing him for surgery. He has a large mass behind his right eye.

The mass has apparently been there awhile, as it has destroyed some of the nearby bone. At first the doctors hoped it was a brain bleed from a recent concussion. Then they hoped it was some sort of strange infection, but as of right now, the specialists examining him believe it is a tumor. They are currently considering exactly how to proceed, but surgery is now the primary option. They hope to remove the entire mass.

Meanwhile, I am hoping beyond hope the mass will be just that, a mass, a benign tumor, not cancer. Unfortunately, as a medical professional, I know it is more likely the mass will be cancerous. I am so scared. I had a very close friend die from a brain tumor, and I have a coworker currently fighting for her life who has metastatic brain tumors. Brain tumors are scary, destructive, unpredictable beasts.

So I'm sitting here in fear, waiting to read the latest text update from my brother, and praying for the best possible news. It's difficult to wait, so far away, for news I'm not sure I want to hear. Prayers for my nephew appreciated.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A little chaos

I've been thinking. It's easy to do well, play well with others, and take care of myself when things are going my way. Unfortunately, this week not much went my way. I saw it as a test. Could I continue to do what I needed to do despite a bit of chaos.

Some of the chaos involved others. For example, I've been fighting with a shady online retailer for several weeks, and every day which passed made my blood boil just that little bit more. I had never used this retailer before, but they had a great price on a new Garmin GPS watch, so I ordered it. I do most of my shopping online so after perusing all of their policies, I went ahead with my purchase.

Long story short, the unit was defective. I wanted to return it for a full refund, as is their policy. First they tried to convince me I should just get it fixed. Then they agreed to take it back, and even paid for my shipping, but 10 days passed without a refund. I contacted them on an almost daily basis, and they always had a reason for the delay. It was "getting processed," and then it was "getting processed in the warehouse," and then it was "intercepted by their warranty team to determine fault..." Meanwhile nearly 3 weeks had passed and they still owed me $365! That's when I got really angry.

I saw the writing on the wall. I wasn't going to wait for them to tell me they determined the defect was my fault, which would of course allow them to just offer me credit. There's no way I wanted to order anything from this company ever again!

I contacted PayPal. Thank God I paid with PayPal. I sent PayPal every piece of correspondence between the company and I, and despite giving me a timeline of 10 days to resolve the issue, PayPal resolved it within two days. They refunded my money. One headache over.

While in the midst of that daily headache, things at work got a little chaotic, too. We're still busy, but the bigger issue was with a fill-in occupational therapist. I saw him alone in a room with a patient, a patient who had a history of making false accusations. I informed him of this history and suggested he may want to treat the patient in a more visible location. He thanked me and moved. Sounds pretty innocuous, right?

Wrong. Immediately after I spoke with him, he went to the facility director and told her I said something horrible about the patient. The facility director caught me in the hallway, and she was angry! I had no idea what was going on! After the facility director spoke to me, I went to the occupational therapist and asked him why he spoke to the director and what exactly did he say? He repeated the totally bogus words he was certain I had uttered. He informed me he documented the bogus statement in his patient note as well. I was incredulous!

Another long story short, after exchanging heated words with the OT, I re-approached the director to clear my name. Thankfully, she believed I didn't say what I was accused of saying and all was well, but I was still so angry! I couldn't believe what had happened. Here I was trying to protect this employee, and he turns around and sullies my reputation, with an outright lie, in my building! I'm thankful my director knows me well and supported me, but I'm having trouble letting go of my anger.

I'll keep working on that anger. Hopefully that will end the relationship chaos. Unfortunately, I also have chaos at home. I'm sitting among that chaos right now. I had to clear a spot for my computer just to write this post. There's stuff everywhere, and nothing is in its place.

I began a project this week. I'm painting trim and doors and shutters. It was just supposed to be shutters and the front door, but then I added the bathroom door, and then the bathroom trim, and now I've got new knobs and towel hangers, and I'm patching holes... You get the idea. My house is torn apart. Fortunately, I know this is temporary, and it motivates me to continue working, which is what I need to do right now.

I'm not enjoying the chaos, but I'm managing, and so far I'm still feeling well. I'd like things to calm down a bit, but it's good to know I can step up to the challenge if needed. Hope your lives are chaos free! Carry on, my friends.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The review

Helpful. Competent. Always a pleasure to work with. Skilled. Great team player. These are a few of the comments made in reference to me by my coworkers, other physical therapists, which I learned of during my recent yearly employee review. One of my employers includes comments from coworkers in each review. I like it. It's nice to know what the people I work with directly think. And boy have I grown!

I'm not sharing these comments in order to brag. I'm sharing them because even after many years of sobriety, these comments still amaze me. You see, before I was humbled by horrendous depression, and before I was brought to my knees by alcoholism, I was basically an ass.

Twelve to fifteen years ago coworker comments, had I had the opportunity to read them, likely would have been along the lines of thinks she knows everything, selfish, and/or a very negative person to be around. I would have been shocked and dismayed then, but now I'm keenly aware of how accurate those comments would have been at that time.

There's something to be said for adversity. Apparently I benefited from being knocked down a notch. I especially benefited from getting sober, which included learning to live life on life's terms, not mine. Among other things, I learned I wasn't the center of the universe, everyone did not need to hear my opinion, I wasn't always right, and by giving of myself I would receive much more in return.

Whereas I always thought I had to take the lead (i.e. be in control), because of course I knew better than anyone (no matter the subject), I now take great pride in being a team player. I'm glad my coworkers think I'm competent and skilled, but being "helpful" and "a pleasure to work with," means more to me than anything else. That's what makes me puff my chest out these days. Yes, it would have been nice to learn these lessons without so much pain, but that wasn't my journey. I'm just glad I learned them, nonetheless.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Suicide and the ER

Suicide has been in the news and on my mind lately. On the heels of the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, another suicide hit close to home last week. The niece of one of my best friends killed herself. She was young, beautiful, and seemed to have a life very much worth living. She left behind a husband and two young children. There is nothing to say to ease the pain and confusion of her extended family and friends.

Fortunately for those of us who struggle, or have family and friends who struggle, with suicidal thoughts, there was some hopeful news today. I read about a recent study focusing on "a simple emergency room intervention" which cut the risk of suicide in half. And the intervention used was truly simple; a safety plan and phone calls.

The study coordinators trained emergency room staff to create a safety plan with each patient prior to discharge. And here's the key, I think, the staff followed up with phone calls to the patient after discharge. The first phone call was made within 72 hours, and the staff continued calling until the patient followed up at least twice with a mental health professional.

I have experience creating a safety plan. The inpatient hospital unit in which I've been a patient requires one be developed prior to discharge. While the staff there do not follow up with phone calls, I have found the safety plan an effective coping tool. The friend whose niece just died is actually an integral piece of my safety plan. I've found it helpful to have a written plan when I've felt low, alone and desperate, especially in the days immediately following hospital discharge.

Unfortunately my emergency room experiences, at the same hospital as this healing inpatient unit, have not always been helpful. And as the comments on my recently republished post prove, I'm not alone in having negative emergency room experiences. That's why I find this study so hopeful. It's focused on teaching ER staff to assist patients in need, mental health patients, who don't always get the most unbiased, compassionate treatment otherwise.

Suicide is a desperate act committed by a desperate person. Unfortunately, I understand the desperation. I've experienced the pain, the isolation, the utter hopelessness which leads a person to consider that end. If ER staff, or any mental health provider, can cut the risk of suicide in half just by taking the time to create a safety plan with their patient, I'm all for it. I hope emergency rooms around the country will get on board. A little compassion, and a simple plan, goes a long way.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Go Play

Playing is so important to my mental health. I may be 50, but I still like to be silly when given the chance. And truthfully, any time of day is a chance to be silly, have fun, or laugh as far as I'm concerned. Fortunately, I had an unexpected opportunity to play July 4th and 5th. I thought I had to work. I found out I didn't, so I took an impromptu trip to see my family and friends in Duluth. And while I don't have any pictures of the beautiful fireworks display, I do have these.


This is my baby brother. He hosted me at his house for two days. We had a wonderful family barbecue on July 4th, went to the beach with my nephews and the dogs, watched the fireworks, took in a few big ships coming into port, and played in Duluth's Canal Park.




This is one of the ships coming off Lake Superior into port, under the Aerial Lift Bridge, in Duluth on July 5th. I grew up seeing these ships out on the lake and coming into the harbor, but I've never tired of the experience. This ship was 1000 feet long. It's fun to see and hear the tourists' excitement, too. For many of them, this will be a once in a lifetime experience. I don't take my ability to repeatedly see this sight for granted.





These four pictures are of my nephew, Connor, age 9, and I, age 50(!), as we climb a few walls. I was a bit of a rock climber in college (actual rocks, as they didn't have climbing walls way back then), but I don't remember it being quite so challenging! My legs were fine, but my poor arms and hands are still sore 2 days later! What fun, though! I wish I hadn't gotten so tired after only 4 climbs. I would liked to have climbed all afternoon. If you're ever looking for a very mindful, challenging activity to take your mind away for a bit, climbing is it! I had forgotten that. You can't focus on anything other than your hands, feet, and trembling muscles while hanging onto a wall 50 feet off the ground. This may be my new go-to activity next time I'm struggling with my mood. I'm going to check out the local climbing gym as soon as I can lift my arms again!

There you have it, folks. Two days of playful fun. It was a spur of the moment trip, and I wanted to take full advantage. Mission accomplished. I think those of us who struggle with depression have to make an extra effort to get outside of ourselves and look for opportunities for enjoyable distraction whenever possible. I know it makes a huge difference for me. Depression, even when we're not stuck in the darkest hole, likes to steal joy, and laughter, and fun. I refuse to allow it. It is because I have depression that I must make the effort to find joy in everyday life, and when I have the chance, to seek out extra adventures to feed my soul. Go play, my friends!



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