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 that falling and nothing that you can do, the plane crashes and when you think that is the lowest point then the burning begins. I have heard this analogy many times but never experienced the truest extent until 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 is the crash which was in late August/September, Phase 3 which was the burning which was September/October, Phase 4 which was the Late-October when the flames had there last burst and then the destruction parted.
Over the summer I was running a franchise through College Pro Painters and I have a horrible time with competition and something they have is a list of all the top people. 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 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 morals. This was the beginning of my depression and this is where the 'plane' (my life) started taking a nose dive. The feelings that went through my head was this 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 the point of waking up and getting out of bed. This also happens to be the time my insomnia started but you can read more about that in my previous posts. Before I go on and continue with what went on with me 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.
As strong as I pretend to be all the time 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 would tell people I did the exact opposite of what your 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 telling them things were great it was a little mistake. All around me I felt that this world was crumbling everything I based my character on I did not stand for, and 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 here stories about peoples lives collapsing as their business collapses well it is true. The biggest difficulty that was this fall was I was shutting everyone 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 who cared about me for some crazy reason, I shut my parents out who would love me regardless and I do not think I had seen my friends since May. It 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 would see there and feel absolutely alone that there was no one therefore me anytime.
This is where my depression went from I would say mild to the starting of above average. I no longer would wake up with motivation I would wake up and feel like life had no purpose but I will talk about that more in Phase 4. I am a pretty independent guy and honestly believed that I needed ABSOLUTELY no one at all to help me I got myself into this mess I could get myself out. Never tell yourself that lie, we are meant to have friends and have families to help us through or else this might happen. As we came to about mid-August I was trying to fix the problems I had created but unfortunately every one problem I "fixed" two more would appear in its place. This is where ill stop the story because it leads into Phase 2 where it took a whole different level of problems and this is where the 'crash' happens.
I will leave you with this first I hope no one reading this every actually has to go through problems like this themselves but if you are follow these steps, tell your family they will always be there for you, tell your closest friend who will be there in thick and thing and get people to help you through. These are good plans not only for when your starting to enter into depression but always when your heading through difficult times or even just a tough day keeping things inside and to yourself is always the worst option. Ill leave you with a quote the greatest person in my life told me...
"Learn from my mistakes because you will not live long enough to make them all yourself" I will add on one thing you do not want to make all my mistakes or all your friends so learn, grow and be a support.
This is when things went into over drive where I really started to see how deep in crap I was and I started to take one step forward and three steps back. At this point I was being told from College Pro that I owed close to 3,000 dollars on top of whatever charges they decided I was still to owe. My parents knew nothing that was going on except the fake things are going great speech. Great right? Well even when I started to get back into Slo-week up here at TWU which means student leadership orientation week I started to lose all enjoyment I was getting out at life. Everyday I would push myself to do more and more and more and always felt like I was just messing up and ruining everyone else's life. I kept trying to make a difference like that would make everything better with me if I made a difference in someones else life I would feel better. Sadly this did next to nothing for me except make me even more depressed. I just sat there over and over and felt like why am I doing nothing right? How come no matter what I do everything gets worse! This was my battle each day starting to questioning if I should even be where I am going or is there even a point.
Being a TWU I always have these expectations of people and that for some reason they should know that my life was going down the tubes without me telling them. I mentioned before about waiting for people to notice how I was feeling without showing any signs. But if there is anything I can tell you is that you are not the only one that has gone through this. I remember the first day I was able to share with people that I was depressed and was on anti-depressants its was this freeing feeling that I had FINALLY shared something with someone... anyone. It shocked me how many people in returned opened up with me telling me they have gone through something similar that I was not alone. Shocking eh? I was not alone in depression. Up until this point only about three people knew there was actually something going on in my life. This was my biggest downfall because how could you expect people to be there for you also without telling them you need them.
I was always taught that life or a tough situation is only good if you learn something through it. As I battled through depression and especially when looking back on it I am starting to see the lessons I learned. Now in retrospect I would have much rather just learned from someones mistakes but that is not me. So far lets see what I've learned hmm... you have to be open for people to be open with you, depression is way more fun to go through not alone, you need to tell people your going through tough times and family is about the one thing that will hopefully always be there for you. If anyone is reading this and hopefully its more then just my mom but if your reading this and your going through some tough times take the time to tell someone. I sure as hell did not and as you will start to see more and more it does not pay off.
Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love this place (TWU) and for the first time in my life I started to hate getting out of bed to come here. I hated opening up my computer to see what emails would be there. I hated answering my phone and listening to messages. I hated talking to people cause they never seemed to understand. The only thing I enjoyed was sitting there, waiting for time to pass and hoping that every problem I had would just go away. Sadly we live in a world where they do not just go away so as my August and September passed I sat there and waited for time to pass me bye... day after day.
So I had some great reflection time last night and some more reflection time earlier this morning and I started to get to this awkward point. One of my resolutions/goals for 2011 was to be more open about who I am, what I have gone through and the struggles I have faced. It was interesting because as I am slowly going through my progression in depression the more and more fearful I become of:
A. What people will think
B. If I should be sharing this
C. Am I comfortable with sharing this?
It was a weird feeling because when I was especially at this phase in my depression in early October more and more I began to felt uncomfortable, like I was an annoyance, like no one wanted me around at all... So it was interesting today to feel that again and after about 2 minutes of remember what going through this was like I decided that it is in my best interest to post about this. So this is when things started to go down hill (shocking I know) I would call this the crashing part at this point the plane has hit the earth.
The first thing that started happening was my inability to find enjoyment in anything and I mean anything this meant friends, video games, TV, reading, school, family... everything and anything would not give me enjoyment. My thoughts were consumed 24/7 with trying to figure out what was wrong. I remember this one night I was at my soccer game and no matter what I was doing I could not focus on the game. After warm up all I could think about was my College Pro issues and why I was having trouble in school. Then the coach went to put me in and I could not even get stretched or get my brain around playing a game of soccer. Eventually I played the last 20 minutes and I do not think I have ever been so mentally fatigued before just trying to NOT focus on other stuff. My issue with College Pro started to take a different turn at this point because I had no idea what I was going to do so luckily my dad got involved. Before you judge there is nothing wrong with asking help when you feel like your trapped in a corner. But at the same time it was almost humiliating that I had to ask my dad for help. I know I am young, I know I have a lot of growing up to do but it was embarrassing to even ask my dad to help me from getting into some deep trouble. Embarrassment is one of those things for me that I hate to feel stupid or incompetent so when I am sitting there with no idea what to do you can imagine what that felt like.
October was also the time I starting seeing my councillor though and as a note if anyone tells you depression is a quick fix well they can go die. I believe I started seeing my councillor on October the 5th. Now the interesting thing about my first meeting was I showed up their after my previous meeting and I was dressed to the nines, tie, dress shirt, black socks, dress shoes and dress pants. I walked into the room and we started talking. There is one thing you need to know about me is that I can hide my emotions well and make anyone believe I am doing alright. I am a decent salesmen and that reflects in my personal life through this depression I started to sell the person I wanted to be instead of who I was. The reason my first visit was so interesting was because I sat there and this councillor looked at me and said well you look like you have it all together, this should just be a few sessions and then everything will be fine. Just fill out this depression test and we will go from there. I sat there for a while and wrote this test and at this point I just started to accept YES I am actually depressed and not just having a tough week. When I finished I felt this sense of relief that I am finally getting help everything is going to get better... Not true those next few weeks were about the toughest in my life.
I got this instant relief that yes I am finally going to be getting help, I am going to be improving but that was not the case. When I walked out of the doctors office life was back to 'normal' for me. I began realizing everything I was not doing, everything I was failing at, everyone I was constantly letting down and the mistakes I was always making. If anyone is going through depression that is reading this... please talk to someone before I did because in my case it was about 2 months a little to late. As those weeks when on I honestly want to say things go better, that things improved and that my life was starting to get back on track. But those next few weeks were the toughest of my life thus far I cannot remember a time before where I could not get to bed before 7am in the morning and would wake up at 5pm just to watch
I do not know exactly how to describe those weeks and I do not even know what words I would use to describe them but here it goes. I felt helpless and completely alone to the point where I wanted to isolated myself off. I sat there everyday hoping someone would text me, call me or make contact with me just so I did not have to be alone again. But I was alone and felt that was the only way things should be. I believe I deserved to be alone that because of my failure, because of my lets downs, and because I was a screw up all I deserved was to be alone. Those were the darkest weeks I have had to face. Ill leave you with this eventually things did get better or I would not be writing this right now but these is still the last phase that ill talk about next Sunday.