A Breakdown, A Breakthrough and a Direction

Introduction

Well this is it… something I had wanted to tell for over 2 years. It’s a story of failure and success. It is the story of a moment where my life turned around and for the next few months gave me a kind of energy that I hadn’t had before. It is the story of a breakdown I had that caused me to face my failures of the past and was an event that changed my life for the future. This is an event in my life that I feel has a lot of significance and I would like to share it with you.

I am still experiencing the ripple effects that occurred since this event.  There was another significant event that transpired afterwards in a friend’s community that I would like to explain as well. I think it holds significance since it would have never occurred if the breakdown didn’t. I know this sounds odd, but I am thankful to the individuals that were responsible for this whole thing as my life has changed a lot since then.

 

The Break

About 2 months or so before the breakdown, I wanted to do two things: I wanted to take a break from Innectis, which was a Minecraft community I owned at the time, and take a break from Team Fortress 2, which was a game that I had a lot of interest in at the time. I was not focusing real well in either of them and felt taking a break to focus on other things would be a great way to clear my mind and re-energize. I figured at the time that the best way for me to do this was to jump back into a previous project that I had not worked on for about 3 3/4 years, Maelstrom CD-Key Tester.

However, there was a big problem in taking a break. There was no second-in-command. A big mistake on my part was not choosing someone that could stand in if I were to decide to step away for any length of time. So the community was left to run without any significant server updates during the time of the break. I still committed code to the Innectis server but not as much since my focus was not on Innectis at all but on putting my mind towards something else so that I could think clearly and recuperate.

During the break I focused mostly on Maelstrom. I wasn’t sure of how long of a break I was going to take but wanted to focus on something big. So, I worked on re-writing a large part of Maelstrom’s code base and added some major features to it. After I was finished with that, which took about 2 months, I decided then that it was time to return to Innectis. And I was not expecting at all what was to come.

 

A Very Significant Moment

The events leading to the breakdown transpired over our Skype group. As the community didn’t have any direction during the time of my break there was of course frustration aimed at me. One individual created a post on the Innectis forums linking to a strawpoll.me poll asking the community if they wanted someone else to take over for me since I was not putting in the effort that was expected of me. I promptly deleted the forum thread because I was disgusted such a thing was posted. This forum thread was what would throw me into the darkest period of my life.

The morning after the day I had deleted the post I got up out of bed and for the next few hour or so was in the worst mental state of my life. I was in tears for much of it, and fortunately had someone around to comfort me and help me through what had happened. I had vivid flashbacks of various failures I had made in life. They all came to the surface as if I was currently experiencing them. All of the previous failures happened in places I had no control over. But for something such as Innectis, I failed at something that I did have control over. Now that was a big issue for me!

When the dust had settled and I could think clearly again, I noticed something had changed right away. Not only did I feel energy in ways I hadn’t felt before, the racing thoughts that I used to have were now gone, and I felt like I had renewed focus! 3 days after the breakdown I had a breakthrough! Something else that changed was that I wanted to get ideas out of my head and into a text file. The less I had wanted to do in my head, the more I could think clearly as those ideas were now somewhere else. So, for the months that followed I did some things that in my opinion were some of the biggest non-gameplay-related contributions that I had given to the community. You can read about them in the 3 status reports I kept here, here and here.

 

A Community Changed

One of the effects of the breakdown occurred in a friend’s community. I have hung out in a private IRC server with a friend for a few years at this point. They own a community and for years the staff have laid rather dormant, not really enthusiastic about improving the community. Well, my friend, knowing about the breakdown and how it affected me, suggested that I should tell my story to those of the community. I thought this was a really good idea since the breakdown affected me deeply. So, I told them about the event and how it gave me energy that I hadn’t had before, and explained some changes I made in my life as a result. I made that conversation available here. Names have been changed per request of my friend.

Since I talked to them about the event, I noticed a shift in mindset that I hadn’t seen from them before. It was as if new life was breathed into them after the story was told. So, later on during an event they were having I was given an award for giving them new energy by telling them this story!

 

Conclusion

The breakdown led to some pretty noticeable changes in my life. I developed a greater relationship with my family. I started getting ideas out of my head by writing them down which was something I hadn’t really done before. I had more of a drive and passion to improve Innectis as well as my life. While I wasn’t able to fully address the problems with Innectis and it ultimately failed, my life has improved because of this event.

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