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!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Another year older

It's my birthday. I'm another year older. Wiser? I'm not so sure about that. It's been a tough year. And it's been a good year. I take the good with the bad, but if I'm honest, I admit I'm hopeful my 52nd year will be a bit kinder than my 51st.

Two bouts with severe depression took a lot of my energy this year. The episode in late Winter lasted several months and required multiple interventions. Medication changes, a 3 week hospital stay, and 5 or 6 Ketamine infusions finally helped get me back on my feet. During this time I lost months of employment, unpaid time which required several months to repair. More importantly, the severity of this episode left me traumatized. I worried I wouldn't be able to survive another.

After recovering things did get better. I reconnected with family and friends, took a couple of brief but fun vacations, and began a successful return to running. Beginning in late Spring, I slowly made my way back into my former running life. I was thrilled to be running injury free for the first time in two and a half years.

My first race back in late May was slow but gratifying. My second race, also a half marathon and just 4 weeks after the first, was considerably faster. That was very exciting. By mid-summer I was finally, officially, training for my 29th marathon, the first one since December 17, 2016.

Marathon training was more difficult than in the past, but in my third half marathon of the season I again significantly improved. I won some pretty medals, and I gained the confidence required to get to the marathon starting line. Unfortunately, just as all my effort was about to be poured out over 26.2 miles, I once again was thrown a curve. I got sick.

Missing the Twin Cities Marathon in early October and battling a tough respiratory illness for the rest of the month certainly contributed to my second battle with depression. More med changes, a brief hospitalization and a gifted vacation seemed to put me on the mend. That was a relief.

I'm thankful this most recent episode was arrested quicker than the episode in February/March, but I think the trauma I experienced after the earlier episode made this one an even bigger beast. I'm grateful to be feeling better, working again, and getting stuff done.

I enjoyed my birthday today with some of my favorite people, including my patients and coworkers. Tonight I had dinner with good friends, and now I'm hanging out at home with Jet. It was a good day. I'm not terribly thrilled to be older, but I'm looking forward with hope, and that's something I couldn't say just two weeks ago.


Katy said...

Happy Birthday! 52 is going to be a better year! I'm so excited about how well you are running! That is simply amazing. I am preparing to do my second marathon. My first marathon was in 2004 before marriage and kids. I have done a training run up to 17 miles that went well. I did a half last weekend that went well.

I can't wait to see what your next adventure will be with running or otherwise.

This weekend will be...20 miles! Ahhhh! I can do it. Much love from NOLA, Katy

Katy said...

It was a difficult 20 miles because my running partner is out of town. I had to do it by myself. I went on the levee which has a great running/bike path. I saw so many female cyclists out there getting a good workout in. I was in the middle of a hard patch of the 20 miles, and one of the female cyclists told me, "You are doing an amazing job!"

That made me smile and really helped me on the run. I have no idea who she was, and she only saw me for a few seconds as she whizzed by. I think it is so amazing when women help out other women with things like that. I can tell that I am reaping the benefits of that 20 miler today because the endorphins are still there from such a long run. Hurray!

I'm going to try to pay it forward to the next person I see doing an amazing job. I know the holidays can be a bit tricky. They always bring extra stress to me. I'm trying to take it easy and just take one hour at a time. I have put my husband in charge of all decision making for things like what we will eat for Christmas night, etc. That's helping.

Being outside and exercising is so helpful to me. Today I took my two kids and some friends and my niece to the park. The two older girls were biking around the park. My niece used a scooter. The two boys were skateboarding. We stopped at the different playgrounds. The weather was amazing. We came back home to eat some lunch. We are about to walk to the movie theater where I will drop them off to see the newest Star Wars. Then we will pick them up at the end of the movie. This will give me some time to finish wrapping some presents. There is this great old movie theater that is about a 15 minute walk from my house. It's just in the middle of a neighborhood. I love walking over there with them to see movies. It has a balcony and everything. It's called The Prytania Theater. It's been around forever, and the owners are great.

Well...I'm off to drop them at the movie theater. Then I'll be wrapping. I'm thinking of you and all of us out there with depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses. Best Wishes for the Holidays. I hope they are calm and peaceful. I hope you are able to get some runs in.