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!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Be patient

I'd need more than ten fingers to count the number of times I've been told to be patient over the past week. Which means I'd need more than ten fingers to count the number of times I've expressed concern that I'm not yet able to run on my recently operated knee, too. I tried again today. No dice. My knee hurt. I'm hoping my right knee is coming along, but if it is, it's doing so at a much slower pace than I would like. I'm concerned.

I was hoping to be running again, at least a little bit, by now. I'm not. I could force it. I could probably do it if I didn't mind some patellofemoral knee pain with every step, but that defeats the purpose of having the surgery in the first place. I'm trying to be smart. I'm trying to be patient. Unfortunately when it comes to running, patience is very tough for me.

With Spring approaching I'm anxious to get outside. It's been 9 months since I was able to run as I wished. The long recovery from back surgery, interrupted now by recovery from knee surgery, is really starting to wear on me. I don't like how I look. I've gained 10 pounds since my back injury. I don't like the way I feel. I'm restless and irritable and lazy and slow. I want to run again!

Despite not being able to run or exercise as I wish, my mood is okay. Work has been very busy. I worked 36 hours last week. That's monumental for me. I'm actually surprised I've been able to handle the increased load as well as I have. Perhaps focusing on my trip to Nepal this Fall, for which I need to save more money, has helped me cope. Knowing the extra money I'm earning will be going toward a bucket list trip probably does help. (Have I mentioned Nepal yet? More on that in another post.)

So that's where I'm at today. I apologize for the long span between posts. All the extra work hours left me dead tired at home each night. I had to fight to stay awake until 8:00! I'm getting old, I guess. If my knee didn't hurt, though, I'd like to think I could have found the energy to run. Moot point. It did, so I didn't. Perhaps this week will bring improvement, and I'll be running again soon. I hope so. I don't like living without running as an option.

I know. I know. Be patient, etta. Be patient.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Slow Sundays

Two Sundays in a row, I've inexplicably suffered. I'm not sure what's going on. Last Sunday I chalked it up to my knee surgery which was just two days prior. But today, I'm feeling it again, and I don't understand why. I feel like I've fallen off a cliff with severe lethargy and fatigue. My mood is low, and it feels difficult to move.

I woke up this way, again, for the second Sunday in a row. The good news is it only lasted about 24 hours last week, so maybe there's hope for the same today. But I get scared when I feel this way. With this illness, I never know how long a (hopefully) momentary crash will actually last.

And I hate feeling this way, especially when it comes out of nowhere. I really hate feeling so heavy. It's hard to explain, but if you've been there you probably understand. It literally feels difficult to move my arms and legs. Each appendage seems to weigh 30 pounds more than it did when I went to bed last night. It's so weird, so random, and so frustrating.

My plans for the day may have to be changed. I was hoping to head outside for a long walk with Jet. I've got laundry to do and a house to clean. But to accomplish any of those plans, I'll have to force myself to move. I'm fighting to stay upright right now. I'd much rather go back to bed.

I mentioned a walk, which unfortunately may now be out of the question. I've actually been cleared to resume running. I'm only 10 days post-op, but my doc gave me the go-ahead a few days ago. He wants me to come back very, very slowly, however, so Grandma's Marathon in June is likely no longer an option. That's disappointing, but it's way more important to come back healthy, so I'll do as I'm told.

Hopefully I'll get that walk in today. At this moment, however, getting out the door seems like a long shot. Acceptance... I'll do what I can and pray this is just another 24 hour dip. Things have been going well, so I have no reason to expect any different, but suddenly falling off the cliff is scary, nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

No words

I was going to write a post tonight about how I'm still recovering from my knee surgery, and about how I had a big scare when my mood rocketed downward Sunday, and probably something about how busy we continue to be at work. But after the shooting today in Florida, nothing I have to say seems very important. Another American high school under attack by another juvenile shooter. At least 17 dead. It makes me sick to my stomach. I can't even imagine the horror. I don't understand. Why? That's all I've got. Just why?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Doing well

I had my arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday. It was a long day of waiting, as I was the last surgery on the schedule, but everything went well. My orthopedic surgeon played the theme song from the movie Chariots of Fire as I walked into the operating room. That made everyone laugh. He's a great doctor with a great personality. I've felt confident every time he's treated me for my various ailments.

After the surgery my doctor revealed there were 2 bone spurs on my femur as well as a large fissure in the cartilage on the end of my femur. He was able to clean everything up so I should have nice smooth surfaces to work with from here on out. I'm so looking forward to running again.

I'm doing well today. I'm not having much pain, just a little discomfort. I haven't really needed my crutches. I'm taking it easy, limping around the house a bit, icing, and performing gentle range of motion and strengthening exercises as prescribed. I only wish I had picked up a few movies. I'm not finding too much of interest on television today.

Actually, most of my interest the past several days has been on Nepal. I've been planning my next adventure, which will take place late this fall. I'm going on a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. It's a bucket list item for me. I've been getting quotes from various guides and deciding on the best trek for me. I'll be going alone. My two nieces, who were tentatively planning to join me, have decided not to go. That's okay. I've traveled alone many times before. The prospect of going alone does not deter me a bit.

Planning my adventure has kept me motivated and looking forward. I need that. I've been very busy at work, which is tiring, but I know all the dollars I'm earning will be put to good use, not just bills! My mood is holding up well. I'm grateful for that.

I can't wait to get back to running. My knee will heal. The days will get longer. I'll be able to get outside more often and begin training in earnest. That will be a glorious day. I'm still aiming for a June return to the marathon. So I've got a few things on the horizon to keep me going. And keep going I will.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

It's Arthroscopy Time

As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I've been having some discomfort and locking of my right knee, typically the day after a run. It hasn't interrupted my running. The discomfort has not been terrible, but it's been concerning, especially when my knee intermittently locked up. The locking made me believe I had a medial meniscus tear. For that reason I had an MRI earlier this week and saw my orthopedic doctor on Friday. We were both surprised my medial meniscus looked great.

The medial meniscus may have looked great, but the bone spur on my femur didn't look so good. There's not supposed to be a bone spur on the end of the femur. There's especially not supposed to be a bone spur right beneath the patella, a spur which is literally carving a matching groove in the underside of my patella. Apparently, that was the problem.

Since the bone spur is carving up my patella, it's fairly important it be removed. So I'm having arthroscopic right knee surgery this Thursday. It should be a fairly simple procedure, especially since the rest of my knee anatomy looked so good. My doc will take a burr to the spur and file it off. I'm hoping to be back at work by Monday and back to running within a few weeks. And I'm looking forward to a pain free right knee. Onward and upward, my friends!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

33 years ago

I marked an anniversary a couple of days ago. It was January 30th of my junior year of high school, and I had had enough. I had fought a losing battle with depression since the age of 15. My home life was a chaotic mess. My father, with whom I lived, had no clue as to my mental state despite many, many signs and a few direct warnings from other adults. I was miserable and ready to go.

On January 30th I decided it was time. It was a few days ahead of plan, a plan I had been working on for at least a month. I had finished all of my finals. I had played what I knew was my last basketball game. I had said goodbye to the couple of people closest to me. On January 30th I tried to end my life. Fortunately, I didn't succeed.

I can say fortunately now. I don't recall feeling that way then. I do recall, of those around me, most were shocked I had attempted suicide. Depression wasn't recognized as it is now, and I certainly didn't fit any sort of person-about-to-commit-suicide profile. I was a straight-A student, an athlete, and had many friends. But I also had severe, debilitating depression. And despite communicating my intent more than once to more than one person, people were shocked. I hope the awareness is better today.

I don't always remember this anniversary. It's not a day I mark on my calendar. For some reason, I remembered it this year. I reflected on how desperate and alone I felt, how low and pessimistic I had become. And perhaps that's exactly what I need to remember when I reflect on that day.

When I reflect on surviving a time which felt un-survivable, I'm reminded I'm resilient. I've been through the wringer, more than once, and come out the other side. And I'm fortunate. I don't feel desperate, alone, or pessimistic today. I have depression, and I don't like it, but I'm okay. Today I'm living with rather than suffering from depression. I'm grateful for that. Things could be so much worse.