Crashing & Burning (Phase One)

Bad, Good; It's Hard to Tell--A Zen Story About Mindfulness | Libero Magazine 1

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Crashing and Burning is an analogy often used in reference to a plane crash. The analogy goes like this: when a plane is going down there is nothing that you can do – the plane crashes and just when you think it can’t get any worse, the burning begins.

I have heard this analogy many times but never experienced the truest extent until last August through October. I would say there were five phases of my depression if we are sticking to the plane analogy.

There was Phase 1: the falling, which was in August, Phase 2: the crash, which was in late August/September, Phase 3: the burning, which was September/October, Phase 4: when the flames had their last burst, which was Late-October.

Phase 1: The Fall

Over the summer I was running a franchise through a college painting company. I have a horrible time with competition, which wasn’t a good thing as they had a list of all the top people in the company.

For a long time I was near the top for rookies, and even top salesmen overall, but somewhere along the way I got a little confident and started posting sales that I had not fully completed/sold. Sure enough, just like they say, with every lie or deception the truth will eventually come out, and it sure did.

This was when the starting of the fall began and escalated.

In the beginning I was confident I could still turn it around, fix my wrongs, and make things right – not only in my business but in my life, my values and my morals. This was the beginning of my depression and this is where the ‘plane’ started taking a nose dive.

I felt a sense of being defeated, feeling like I could not do anything right, and that, ultimately, I would never been good enough. I tried everyday to be motivated to get stuff done but I started to lose focus and couldn’t see the point of waking up and getting out of bed. This also happened to be the time my insomnia started (you can read more about that in my previous post).

Before I go on and continue with what went on with me, I want you to think for a second and make yourself a promise that if you start feeling like you have been defeated tell your closest friend, family and find a way to get support. Remember, as strong as we may pretend to be, we all need positive reinforcement sometimes to get back on track with our life.

This phase I was going through was difficult, however, that was the last thing I wanted to tell people.

Instead, I did the exact opposite of what you’re suppose to do: I stopped talking.

I shut people out and I told everyone that everything in my life was 100% great all the time. Unfortunately, I was continually lying to people over and over.

All around me I felt that the world was crumbling and that everything I had become was against everything I stood for and that everything I worked for was no longer there. It is a hard place to be at. I am a business major myself and we always hear stories about people’s lives collapsing as their businesses collapsed.

The hardest part came from my choice to shut people out. You need to understand that at this time I had a pretty amazing girlfriend, a solid family that supported me and a handful of solid friends. After this I shut them all out one by one and it sucks to remember and know the pain I caused them. I shut my girlfriend out, I shut my parents out who would love me regardless of what I did, and I do not think I had seen any of my friends since May.

In retrospect, it is easy to look back and say AH HA!

I had people even though I did not see it at that time; at that time I was alone. During August, though, I began to notice my isolation and began to feel that no one was there for me because they’d given up on ‘sticking around’.

This is where my depression went from mild to intense. I no longer would wake up with motivation; I would wake up and feel like life had no purpose.

The problem was that I am a pretty independent guy and I honestly believed that I needed ABSOLUTELY no one at all to help me. I got myself into this mess, I thought, and I could get myself out. Never tell yourself that lie.

We are meant to have friends and have families to help us through.

By mid-August I was trying to fix the problems I had created, but unfortunately every time I’d fix one problem, two more would appear in its place. This is what led to Phase 2, where the ‘crash’ happened…

I hope that none of you actually have to go through problems like this, but if you do, learn from my mistakes and follow these steps:

1. tell your family – they will always be there for you
2. tell your closest friend – they will be there in thick and thin
3. get people to help you through.

These are good plans not only for when your starting to enter into depression but always when you’re heading through difficult times or even just a tough day.

Keeping things inside and to yourself is always the worst option.

I will leave you with a quote that the greatest person in my life once told me (aka my dad): “Learn from my mistakes because you will not live long enough to make them all yourself.” And I will add on one thing: you do not want to make all of my mistakes or all of your friends’ either, so learn, grow and be a support.

Christian struggled through and recovered from depression. He likes to write so others can hear his story and know there is hope. His goal is that through sharing, people will be able to see their story within his own.

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