I’m pretty sure I’m relapsing in my depression. At first I thought maybe I was just overwhelmed with marathon training, but I’m still not feeling like myself even after taking a few days off from running. I’ve tried to force myself to incorporate the many tools I learned during my time in therapy, but the truth is… I just don’t care.
When exercise fails to help me feel better, I’m pretty confident that there’s a problem. Exercise is supposed to give you happy endorphins, but my brain seems to be blocking them and instead focuses on how horribly I performed, how everyone left me behind in their dust, how I ended up alone despite trying to be part of a group. There is no happy.
The closer the Pittsburgh Marathon gets, the more I am truly dreading the experience. A marathon is something to be anxious about, for sure, but it should be an excited anxiety. Instead, I am imaging a severe struggle to complete the event. I imagine myself lost in a field of runners, not seeing anyone I know. I can feel the stress and anxiety of logistics, and the sadness of being alone. I can see the spectators cheering me on, and not being able to focus on the positivity of their words. I will instead turn their kindness into demeaning, because that’s what I’ve been slipping into lately.
I thought that maybe this would be over once I’ve completed the marathon, but lately I highly doubt that. This isn’t just a funk that will magically subside once I have a medal and a space blanket. It might, temporarily, but then I will be facing the post-race blues on top of what I believe is a major depressive episode.
I’ve been starting my days feeling more positive, despite the craptastic sleep I got that night. I get myself ready and to work, and it just goes downhill from there. I have to try to keep on a normal face and hide the misery I feel, responding to small talk with coworkers when all I want is to be alone. By the time I’m ready to leave, I’m either resolved to get things done when I get home, or I’m planning my food/wine/AdvilPM/Netflix bender. If I am resolved, it always disappears about 20 minutes into my 60 minute commute. And it repeats, over and over, on a perpetual loop.
I’m gaining weight because I’m eating my feelings and not keeping to my training schedule. The weight gain therefore makes running that much harder, and I get disappointed in my performance, and it’s just a vicious cycle. I’m enjoying the taste of the sorrow-drowning food for the first few minutes, at which time the shame and self-loathing takes over.
I’m losing interest in pretty much everything that isn’t my couch. I’m exhausted all the time. I catch my reflection and it’s obvious I can’t even hide my sadness anymore. The other day, a guy at the grocery store walked up to me and said “You look lost.” It was all I could do to not burst into tears right there in the frozen food section. I’m like a shell of myself, and others are noticing. Complete strangers, even.
I tried to get an appointment with my former therapist, whom I really admire and feel I can trust. He’s obviously very good, because unfortunately he’s so busy right now that he can’t accept new patients. I’m waiting on a recommendation, but I’m generally feeling very negative about the whole thing. I can’t seem to get myself to care enough about the therapy tools I learned from him, which makes me think I might need medication.
I had been successful in battling depression in the past without the use of medication by exercising, after I had tried five different antidepressants – all of which had negative side effects that didn’t outweigh the benefits. I’m wondering if maybe I need a mixed cocktail, instead of just one kind of medication. My ADD medication doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore, either.
This post is a mess much like its author. I know it’s only a matter of time before this episode changes who I am. In my fleeting moments of clarity, I remember that I have too much to lose for this to happen again. I wish I could hold onto those moments, but the light is getting dimmer and dimmer.