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!

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!



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