The Checklist

#drivingawaydepression

Sully!!

What an awesome pilot whose actions saved the lives of everyone on US Airways flight 1549 when they struck multiple geese and had to land in the Hudson river. It has since been called the Miracle on the Hudson.

Miracle? Maybe. Or just incredibly well trained and experienced pilots. A pilot is trained to know the systems of his/her aircraft. A pilot uses checklists and procedures for every operation and action.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger used those procedures and the checklist, along with all that training and experience to save the lives of all 155 souls, passenger and crew, onboard.

Checklists are incredibly important. Early in their training, pilots learn the acronym RTFM, or RTFC, which stands for Read The F#&!’n Manual or Checklist. Those who choose not to use the checklist(s) eventually auger in.

Recently, I have drifted away from my checklists and forgotten many of the tools in my mental toolbox. I have been spiraling out of control. But a recent reminder has given me a clear path back. I had given myself a reminder through an app on my phone. I set an alarm. When it went off, I realized I needed to start regaining control again through the use of a tried and true method.

So, I firmly believe a good checklist is an invaluable tool to navigate the challenges of life. In particular, using a checklist is a powerful way to deal with the effects of depression.

Here is a simple checklist I use to help myself avoid the pitfalls of depression. Try making your own. Keep it where you can find it; the fridge, nightstand, or right here on your phone.

1. Get up and get outside.
2. How do you feel?
3. If you are tired or down, did you actually get enough sleep? Depression will attack your energy level and your ability to simply get out of bed.
4. Eat healthy.
5. Pray
6. What are you thankful for?
7. Communicate with someone positive in your life. Anyone! Reaching out the first time is the toughest, but it gets the day going in the right direction.
8. Be kind. Giving hope, peace, love, and joy to others will bring the same to your heart.
9. Read. Use a positive source. No fiction.
10. On second thought, maybe fiction is better.
11. Open your heart and soul to God.
12. Breathe. Just breathe. Slow, calm, cleansing breath.  In that breath remind yourself, you are loved, you have purpose, and you are not alone.

What does your checklist look like?

I love using aviation analogies. With all the demons that have chased me in my lifelong struggle with clinical depression, flying was the one time and place I could escape it all, find peace without looking over my shoulder.

Nothing compares to floating above the clouds or watching the the incredible horizon slowly changing colors as the sun begins to rise. Ask any pilot where they want to be the most. If you can’t become a pilot or prefer to keep your feet on the ground, that’s ok. But using a checklist still works for anyone trying to keep their demons at bay and their life in order.

So,

GET UP, GET OUT, & GO SPREAD KINDNESS!

We are all connected.

Life is better with a soundtrack.

Here are a couple of songs I love that always remind me of flying and to use my checklist!

Tom Petty rocks! I miss him dearly.

Now some say life
Will beat you down
Yeah, break your heart
Steal your crown

So I started out
For God knows where
I guess I’ll know
When I get there

I’m learning to fly
Around the clouds
But what goes up
Must come down

I’m learning to fly
(I’m learning to fly)
But I ain’t got wings
Coming down
Is the hardest thing

I’m learning to fly
(I’m learning to fly)
Around the clouds
But what goes up
(I’m learning to fly)
Must come down

“Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a wind swept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Friction lock, set
Mixtures, rich
Propellers, fully forward
Flaps, set – 10 degrees
Engine gauges and suction, check

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can’t keep my mind from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I”

I miss the unique smell of the cockpit, with all the electronic, leather, vinyl, metal, etc. Except maybe when my copilot had Whataburger for lunch. Not so great at 12,000 feet.
Christopher Carlson writes about inspiring stories from his Uber and Lyft driving days. He drove almost 3 years and completed over 6,200 trips. Christopher also writes about his own journey through depression,  recovery, and the constant unexpected turns on life’s path. We are all connected!

#kindness #purposefulkindness #whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #streetlights #thekindnessclub #grace #drivingawaydepression #weareallconnected #findingjoy #lifeisbetterwithasoundtrack #streetlightsonasaturdaynight

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