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!

Monday, March 4, 2019

The epiphany

I don't often share links to other material on this blog, but I've got one for you today. And I want to share it because it is the reason I composed my previous post, a space holder. Yesterday I was sitting in a morning group about gratitude, which the group leader began with a TED Talk, this TED Talk to be exact. Take a moment to watch it.

I was happy, because I instantly recognized the TED Talk she had chosen. I had already seen it and enjoyed it several times. But I hadn't seen it recently. Within minutes, I was surprised by tears welling up in my eyes. Soon, they were running down my cheeks. And by the time the older man began to speak in the middle of the video I had to leave the room. I was sobbing.

I don't have access to my computer in the mornings. I came back to my room, sobbing, words spinning in my head, sadness enveloping me. I began composing my blog post in my head, but that wasn't helping, so I finally broke down and picked up a pen and paper! (What??) Words flew onto the page almost faster than I could write. The piece, a space holder, was finished in less than 5 minutes.

Now this may not seem like a big deal to you, but this was a monumental moment for me. Backstory: I experience gratitude as the greatest gift of my life. That may sound like I'm overstating things, but I've thought long and hard about this. Gratitude gives my life meaning. It's a gift with which I never even shared a continent until 13-14 years ago. Most of my life was devoid of the concept. Gratitude is the greatest gift of my life. I make it a priority to practice gratitude every single day.

So here's the thing, those beautiful, unbelievable, amazing, time lapsed photos at the beginning of the video stirred nothing within me. Nothing. The words, especially those of the older man, which I had previously found so soothing and profound only deepened my grief, as they were, in that moment, barren of any emotional connection or meaning. Here was gratitude personified, and I felt nothing, no connection whatsoever.

I realized I was disconnected and dead inside. That realization was excruciatingly painful; way worse than anything this universe might otherwise have thrown at me. And it was that disconnection and death which depression not only represented, but created! Clarity! That's why I hurt! That's why I could barely move! That's why I felt hopeless! That's why I wanted to die. I had lost my compass, my touchstone, my meaning; the pillar of who I wanted to be, who I strove to be, had been desecrated and destroyed.

Depression was the vandal which desecrated my soul, sucked out my life and left only a shell in its wake. I was purposeless, empty, and doing nothing more than taking up a space. That, my friends, is a feeling I wish never to share.

The rest of the story: In the aftermath of yesterday's moment, I found some fight. Rather than further raping my soul, depression took a bit of a punch. I got a little angry. I don't like to be violated, desecrated and destroyed. So I landed a blow, albeit not so powerful but a blow nonetheless, and I went looking for gratitude today. I still feel tired, hopeless and empty. I'm not cured. But that painful moment stirred something in me. I'm grateful for that.

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