September 29, 2011

The lump in my throat

For the past five years or so, every so often I get what feels like a lump in my throat. Sometimes, it's so bad that I worry my throat is going to close up and I won't be able to breathe. I've been to a couple of different doctors to see what's going on, thinking the worst (throat cancer?) but they've never been able to find anything that is wrong with me. It usually lasts for about 3-6 weeks at a time, and then one day I realize it feels normal again.

About a year ago, I discovered what causes it. Depression + anxiety.
I've mentioned before that I've had depression for many, many years (since I was about 11 years old). The anxiety started about 8 years ago. The one thing that I have such a hard time explaining is that my depression and anxiety is not TRIGGERED by anything--it's always there, lurking in my head, and sometimes it just gets really bad for no reason at all. I know that I sound like a nutcase because I honestly have no real REASON to be depressed or anxious. I had a great childhood, have a great family and life right now... I just think this is something I'll always have to deal with.

Anyway, I discovered that when my depression and anxiety get really bad, I get a lump in my throat that stays for a few weeks. In fact, I sometimes feel like maybe I'm getting sick (sore throat) but I don't get other symptoms, so I realize it's just the "depression lump". I can take Xanax for anxiety, but it doesn't make the lump go away.

Anyway, the lump appeared once again, and I've spent the last couple of days feeling really down about everything. Jerry came home from work early yesterday (it was overtime, so there wasn't a penalty for him) because I was feeling really upset--for no reason at all! I've been constantly worrying about my flight to Arizona in a couple of weeks, so that could be a trigger, I guess.

Anyway, I don't want to sound like a total Debbie Downer, so I won't keep talking about it. But if my posts aren't very happy, that's why. I'll return to normal soon--I always do! ;)

In good news, I reached two big milestones during my six-mile run today! I don't know if anyone actually looks at the running stats on the side bar of my blog, but I've been approaching 1,000 miles run total. That total includes every run I've done since I started running in 2009.
It definitely seems like I should have reached that number a looong time ago--I've logged every single run I've done!  A lot of runners log over 1,000 miles a YEAR--and there are plenty that log thousands. But anyway, this was a fun milestone to reach. (For perspective, you'd have to run 2.74 miles EVERY DAY to reach 1,000 miles in a year. In the 18 months that I've been running, my average works out to 1.86 miles per day.)

Another milestone was that this month, I've run more miles than I ever have before. My previous record for one month was October 2010, when I ran just barely over 100 (less than 101). This month (not including tomorrow's 4-mile run) I've run 103.2 miles.
It's interesting, because I am running more for 10-K training than I did for half-marathon training. The intermediate 10-K program is definitely more involved with more mileage and speed work than the beginning half-marathon program. The only change I made to the program I'm doing now is that instead of racing a 5-K midway through the training, I just kept increasing my long run by a mile each week--this week I did 10 miles for the long run.  I want to keep running a lot through October, so that I'm in great shape when I go in for my tummy tuck.

Did anyone watch the season premier of the new show called Suburgatory? I LOVED IT!! It's so completely sarcastic, which is definitely my kind of humor. Jerry and I both laughed so hard while watching it--it actually pulled me out of my funk for half an hour, which was nice. There are quite a few new shows on this fall, and I'm going to have to be choosy about what I watch--I think I watch entire too much TV in the fall! ;)


  1. I'm so sorry you have depression. I can't imagine what it must feel like to contend with it. I hope this episode passes quickly for you. I wish I had kept track of all my runs since I started. I only found Daily Mile a couple of months ago and I keep track of all of my workouts on there. I have the old school calendar which I logged a lot on, but not from 2009. :( It's great motivation to try and beat your monthly numbers!

  2. Shoot; I wanted to watch that show and I realize now that I didn't :( Congrats on the milestones! You are a true inspiration to the blogging community :) I just ran 8 minutes in a row (twice) yesterday and have my first 20-minute run tomorrow. So I can't imagine how proud I'd be if I ran 32,000 miles like you have :) WAY TO GO!!!

  3. Sorry Katie-I hope your gray days pass soon. I love looking at your stats-very inspiring.

    I did catch a couple parts of the show-I love when they were reading books passive aggressively. lol

  4. You know, you say the lump only shows up when get the depression and anxiety and it got me thinking about a similar problem I had. When I was working for an ENT doc I kept feeling this knot when I swallowed. I couldn't palpate it from the outside but it was there every time I swallowed and it freaked me out. Like you my thought was cancer. I waited to see if it would go away and it didn't so finally I had the doc look at it. He couldn't see anything either but he told me that in times of stress some people get low level acid reflux that doesn't cause any symptoms but that eats away the protective mucus of the throat and that can make you feel like you've got a lump when you swallow. He put me on a two week course of Protonix and by the next day it was noticeably better. Two days later it was gone. Sorry for the long comment. Hope you get to feeling better!

  5. I know what you mean about depression, when there's really nothing to be depressed about. I was there yesterday, but am feeling better today. Mine is all related to worry about regaining the weight, I read a negative blog, (well not negative so much, but a blog about how difficult maintenance can be) and it got me thinking BAD thoughts, and I fell into a funk.I felt like it didn't matter what I did, the weight was going to just start coming back on. That was verified by a gain yesterday on the scale, but a loss today helped get me into a better place today. Still not back to my all-time low, but at least it didn't continue to go UP!
    Then I realized that even though maintenance is super hard, I am much happier in this state, than when I was fat, and happier than when I was actively losing too. So I need to quit complaining and start enjoying my accomplishment more.
    Congrats on the 1,000 mile mark. I can't even imagine that. Sometimes when I'm walking I think about you and how FAR you run all the time. WOW--it's hard to compare myself with you and ever feel good--you run so much farther and faster than I could ever even dream of going. But then you're less than half my age. Hey I have to have SOME excuse! Also congrats on the new personal best for the month--103 miles. I bet I've gone, oh maybe 15 miles this month. Again, why do I bother making comparisons--I always lose. No seriously Katie, that is great. I love to read your stats and read your blog! Hope that lump in your throat goes away very soon!

  6. Thanks for sharing about your struggles with anxiety & depression. I have people in my life that struggle with it too. Depression sucks! :) How's that for an understatement!
    Congrats on your milestones reached!! You have overcome so much and are such an inspiration to so many!

  7. Hi Katie. Sending a big hug your way. Hope you feel better soon. Take care!!!

  8. Again...same...years ago I took some stuff for my anxiety/post baby depression that I guess I was in...after some time it didn't seem to make a difference so I quit. I think that was about 10 years ago!

    Lately though....I have been feeling more anxious about things again. Usually kid related...not personally but about their "friend" issues, I worry if they are happy, sad, included or being left out it goes on and on...then I think I start to get depressed b/c I feel as though its my fault of course, I am the mom and I should be able to "fix" things right? Wrong...most of the time...

    But, the running helps!!! Way to go and keep it up!!

  9. Wish I could take all the sadness in the world away, especially depression. there is nothing worse, and nothing harder to explain to someone who hasn't felt it. Just know I'm here for you! I wish you lived near me I need a kick in the pants. I wanna start running but every time I try I can only do it for like 5 seconds andthen I get frustrated and embarrassed. Put me on a bike and I'll ride all day, make me run to save my life and I'll die in 5 seconds :(

  10. Most depression is not situational or the way you were raised, which is a common thought. True depression is a drop in serotonin levels on your brain and the only way you can change that is by taking medication that helps with the re-uptake in your brain of serotonin and other chemicals.

    The anxiety could be situational or again a brain chemical thing. Might be something you want to Google more about or just talked to your doctor. Lots of people have seasonal depression also, this has to do with the amount of vitamin D you get. Shorter days or less exposure to the sun affect this.

  11. I too struggle with anxiety/depression and I think the most frustrating aspect is that I think "but I have a great life right now, so why the heck do I feel depressed?"

    Take care of yourself!

  12. I have had that same "lump in my throat" feeling since about 5 days after my oldest daughter was born. My doctor has run every test in the book and can't find anything wrong with me (which makes me feel worse). It feels so terrible to feel bad/uncomfortable all the time and not know why. I never imagined there were others like me out there! I suffered terrible from anxiety issues, which I'm finally starting to seemingly grow out of so maybe that's it...but it really feels like a physical problem. Anyway, sorry for the long comment, I was just so stunned to hear someone else felt like me!

    And congrats on running 1000 miles~that is an awesome accomplishment!!

  13. Awesome job on both of your accomplishments! That is fantastic and you should be very proud of yourself! I'm sorry you have been down lately! I also struggle with depression and it usually starts in the fall and goes away around february! My hubby doesn't understand because I also have a really good life and he thinks that something has to be going wrong for you to be depressed! I hope it goes away soon for you!

  14. I know exactly how you feel about your depression. Mine is the same way. I always say there are ''demons'' living in my head just waiting for a moment of weakness to take over my body. It is an everyday struggle that never goes away. Wishing you the best.

  15. Almost every day is a struggle for me. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't at least once feel unhappy or depressed. And I have no reason why. I had a normal childhood.
    Most days I can cope and I think for me it just feels normal now. But there are harder times with high highs followed by low lows.
    I'm traveling to Houston this week for work. I'm here once or twice a month. Every time I'm here I go eat at Yao Ming (the basketball player) restaurant. He has the BEST sushi chef there, Billy. I took my sister last night and Billy told her I'm one of the happiest people he has ever met. It was shocking for me to hear that because on the inside I feel the opposite and am always worried everyone around me can pick up on it.
    Anyways, just wanted you to know you're not alone.

  16. AnonymousJune 01, 2012

    My friend actually has an inhaler from her doctor that she uses when she feels like there is a lump in her throat, but instead of breathing it in she swallows it. Thank you for sharing about your depression. It is VERY real and not something you can 'snap out of' and has nothing to do with how happy your life is. Your openness is so appreciated! You are my hero! Karen H.


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