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!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gratefully a bit better

Perhaps it was your enthusiastic and supportive response to my last post. Perhaps it was not having to work the past couple of days. Perhaps it was just a matter of time passing. Whatever the reason, I am feeling a little bit better. My apathy has declined while my energy has improved. In fact, I was able to do some housework yesterday, which was a pretty big deal. It's been awhile since I've given a damn about or had the energy to do housework. I'm grateful to be feeling well enough to be somewhat productive again.

Today my mood was helped by the completion of my third and final 20-mile training run in preparation for The Boston Marathon on April 21st. It was a gorgeous day! Finally! I had a conversation with God about gratitude off and on throughout my run. I thanked God for all the people and things I have in my life. I am a lucky woman. Despite this awful illness, I have a lot for which to be grateful. I probably don't think about that often enough. Today, while running for 3 hours, I had plenty of opportunity to say thanks.

What's on your gratitude list today?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Apathy

It says, "loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities." It's one of the official symptoms of depression.Yup, got it. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to write. I don't want to go to the store. I don't want to visit. I don't want to talk on the phone. I don't want to cook or prepare even simple things to eat. I don't want to clean. I don't want to change my clothes. I don't even want to open the door to get my mail! It's all too big, or too overwhelming, or just too uninteresting. And it all takes energy. I don't have any of that right now.

Sleep. That's the only thing at which I am currently proficient. The funny thing is I'm not interested in sleeping either, but I can barely keep my eyes open most of the time. Despite my hyper somnolence, I've been able to keep a few commitments. This is how it goes. I sleep, work for a few hours, and then collapse in exhaustion. I sleep, struggle through a run, and then I sleep some more. I sleep, go to an appointment, and then collapse in a heap. It's painful and exhausting to leave my house. I'm battling just to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

I'm trying my best not to worry. Of course I am worried...waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I can't do that. I've got to stay in today. I'm doing my best to keep moving forward, even if it means sleeping more than my fair share of the day. I'm trying to do what my body will allow when it will allow it. I wish it wasn't painful and exhausting to leave my house. I wish something, anything, held my interest. But that's not the case right now. Despite the apathy, I feel I've got to keep pushing. And that's what I'm attempting to do. It's hard. This illness is hard sometimes. I hate it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Only one direction from here

Despite my best efforts the dive in my mood continues. Actually, rather than a quick dive, it now feels like a gradual, suffocating, slide underwater; really black, heavy, murky water. The symptoms I'm experiencing have multiplied over the past couple days. And today depression took away what little energy I had left. I'm heavy, exhausted, and slow.

I've been trying to do what I can to get out, keep to my commitments, and talk to friends (though I admit I haven't done too well on that score). Socialization is always the first to go. Today, I lost running. That's a scary sign, as that's often my last bastion of normalcy. But today I tried and failed.

Okay, perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I didn't totally fail. I did get some of my run accomplished, but very unlike me, I could not complete the miles I had scheduled. And the miles I did run were so difficult, I was incredibly frustrated. I was forced to begin walking far from home. My body just wouldn't go. Jet and I slowly made our way back. It was a long, cold, misadventure.

I'm concerned. I certainly don't want to go through another depression episode. I want to keep moving forward. I want to keep working, running, and socializing. I want to feel the feelings of life, not stand outside myself and coldly observe. I'm going through the motions without feeling. I want to be in motion instead.

I'm speaking to a high school class about depression tomorrow. Hopefully that will help get me out of my head for an hour. I'm also scheduled to see my therapist, which I certainly hope will help turn the tide. I want and need to get my head back above water. I'm low, so low. Up is the only direction I have left to go.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dive...

Short post today, as my mood has taken a dive. Things are very dark today. My energy is low. My thoughts are negative and slow. It's difficult to move. It's been a long day. I'm counting on this being a temporary crash. I have to believe that. I can't fathom going back to where I've recently been. I will not. Despite my hopelessness, lethargy, and fatigue, I've been trying to move. It took two attempts, but I did get a short run in today. And I'm right now preparing to go to an AA meeting, despite the fact that being around people may be downright painful. I can't go backwards. There is just too much to lose. I pray my efforts will pay off and my mood will bounce back soon.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Running Weekend

With a 20-miler and a 10-miler scheduled, I was a little apprehensive going into this past weekend. I wasn't sure how my body would physically respond on the heels of the recent dip in my mood. I am happy to report, however, that I had a very good weekend. Physically, I had two really good runs. I felt good. My pace was quicker than previous long runs. And I recovered well. My confidence is rising. I am now looking forward to the Boston Marathon. I'm feeling more and more ready everyday.

Other than running, I also had a pretty good weekend from a mood standpoint. I made the mistake of staying in, alone, all day, after my 20-miler on Saturday, so I was pretty bored and a little low by the evening. A phone call to my boyfriend, D, helped. And I made sure not to do the same thing on Sunday. In fact, I went to my friend Wendy's house Sunday morning, and Jet and I ran from there. When we finished running, we spent some nice time relaxing with Wendy and her family before returning home. The rest of the day went well after that. I definitely need to work on socializing more. It is almost always beneficial to my mood.

I finished my day, yesterday, with a two-hour massage from my friend, Bill. He's a newly minted massage therapist, and he is wonderfully skilled. He kneaded, prodded, and stretched me like I was a pile of Play Dough. And Play Dough is exactly what I felt like by the time he was finished. I came home and slid directly into bed. I haven't had a massage since last summer, and this one, I thought, was timely and deserved. I'm grateful to have a friend with such skilled hands. I'll definitely have to make more time in my future schedule for such pleasant treatment.

Thank you all for your comments on my last post. I hate to admit when my thinking gets screwed up. I guess I feel like it's okay if it happens to you, or you, or you, but not me. I tend to be a little hard on myself, or so I've been told. Your comments helped me feel less crazy and alone. Thanks again. Carry on, Friends.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thoughts are just Thoughts

It's taken me awhile to get to this post today because it's been a bit of a rough one. I mentioned in my last post that I had a dip in my mood over the weekend. The dip became a gully by Tuesday evening. By Wednesday it was a gigantic, suffocating pit. I could barely move. I managed better today, but things have been tough.

One of the symptoms I struggle with when I'm not doing so hot is screwed up thinking. I get negative thoughts, slightly paranoid thoughts, and/or intrusive scary thoughts about bad things happening to people I love. I hate to even admit I have these thoughts. I guess I'm ashamed. It's hard for me to feel out of control of my own thinking. I know the thoughts are a symptom of my depression, but I still find them distressing and difficult.

I've been working diligently to let the thoughts just pass through my brain, to not put a lot of stock into them or worry too much about them. Thoughts are just thoughts. They only have power if I give them power. But not worrying about them is easier said than done. Like a dip in my mood, screwed up thinking scares me. It's so hard not to wonder if this is the start of something bigger and darker. I'm doing my best not to worry, to let the thoughts be just annoying thoughts, but like I said, sometimes it's easier said than done.

So it's one day, sometimes one moment, at a time right now. I'm working again tomorrow and hoping the distraction gives me a bit of respite. Ironically, it is highly likely this mood disruption is due to the stress of returning to work. Nevertheless, I actually think working tomorrow, focusing on others for awhile, will be helpful. In the meantime, I'll take any extra prayers available.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Continuing forward

I'm continuing to put one foot in front of the other today. I'm keeping it simple and focusing on each moment. I worked a few hours, napped, ran 10 miles, and napped again. The fatigue is frustrating, but at least I'm still moving forward and accomplishing what I need to accomplish.

I had a long weekend alone complete with a dip in my mood. I shouldn't spend so much time alone, and I know that, but it still takes a maximum amount of energy for me to get out and socialize, so I often don't. I didn't expend the energy over the weekend, and I paid for it with a slow descent of my mood.

My mood was still a little low when I awoke this morning, but being around people, working and running all helped. I'm glad, actually, that I did have to work this morning. It forced me to get up, shower, and get out of the house. I needed that.

And that's all I have to report today. I'm looking forward to a simple, quiet evening with Jet. He makes me smile (and laugh), and that's always helpful. Don't know what I'd do without him...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Recovery Week

Since my first 20-miler last weekend, I've been enjoying a recovery week. Recovery weeks are notable because I'm scheduled to run fewer miles. For example my long run this weekend will only be 12 miles. The goal of a recovery week is to recoup some energy before going back at it hard.

Unfortunately, despite being a recovery week, I am tired! Yet I'm grateful this has been a lower mileage, less intense week. I don't think I could have gone back to work, even though it was only a few hours, during a high mileage week. I'm tired, and I think it was going back to work which sapped my energy.

I worked twice this week. I worked a couple of hours on Monday, which I wrote about in my previous post, and then worked three hours yesterday. I worked with patients for the first time in over five months yesterday. I was anxious going in. I think I did okay, but I felt very rusty and a little unsure. I didn't like that, but I guess it's to be expected.

When I got home yesterday, I was surprised by my level of fatigue after only three hours of work. I needed to sleep, which I did, and I also needed to run, which I did later. I actually contemplated not running, as I just couldn't shake the tiredness. I decided to run anyway, thinking I'd feel better once I got going, but that didn't materialize. What should have been an easy five mile jaunt was five miles of drudgery instead.

The fatigue has carried over into today. I'm accepting it and working through it by being kind to myself. I got up at my regular time, ran a couple of errands, did some poking around at the thrift store, went for a walk, and then took myself out for a nice lunch. Lunch was so nice, I ordered dinner to go! While I'm enjoying my dinner later, I plan to also watch a movie I've been wanting to see. I'm hoping all this mellow kindness will translate into more energy tomorrow.

Next week begins another high mileage, 20-mile-long-run week. I hope I recoup my energy over the next few days. I'm going to need it. I'll be back at work for a few more hours on Monday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Work

I have officially broken back into the working world. For two hours yesterday, I relearned the computer programs and patient documentation we use at my place of employment. Fortunately, much of it came back to me. It took a little while, and a little playing around, but I think I remember it now. I'm grateful my regional director was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to teach me.

It was nice to be back at work. Even though it was only a couple of hours, it was great to earn a few dollars for the first time in over five months. It won't be much of a paycheck, but it will at least be a paycheck! I am scheduled to do another 2-4 hour shift later this week.

Although it was good to be back, it was also a little difficult. I work with some amazing, wonderful people. They are all very good at what they do, and they have a ton of fun doing it. That's what was difficult. I felt a bit like an outsider. It's been so long since I've been there, I no longer felt like part of the group. That was hard for me.

I think it will take a little while for me to feel like a part of the group again. In reality, I know feeling like an outsider has nothing to do with them. It's all about me and my internal dialogue. I need to control my own worry thoughts. I can't wonder what they're thinking. I can't place negative motives on every sideways glance. After all, they all have better things to think about than me. I will work to keep that in mind. It may take a bit, but I know if I keep showing up and working hard, I will eventually feel like I belong once again. I look forward to that.



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