How a Big Fish Pulled Me Out Of A Deep Depression Part 2


“You become what you think about most of the time” ~ Brian Tracy

I caught a huge fish one day and it lead to all of this. You can read that story in Part 1.

I had been feeling lower than whale shit when this happened. The day I caught that trout was the best I’ve felt in months. Did one fucking fish bring me out of it? All the coaches out there have said, hell even I have said it, that happiness comes from within. More specifically, it is a choice. Happiness is a choice. All emotions are a choice. We can choose how we react to certain events. I used to not think so.

20 Years of immature behavior comes to an end in two seconds.

I used to get really — hmm, I don’t knowhurt? Maybe even disgusted at the thought of whoever I was dating having been with a lover before me. (Juvenile, I know.) Throughout the years I thought I had gotten past it, but it always popped up now and then. The last time it happened was years ago now. That last time was the last time it will ever happen because I changed how I let it make me feel. This is going to sound weird, but I was torturing myself with thoughts of my girl letting some man defile her one day and then, all of a sudden, for a brief moment, I thought it was kind of hot. (Kinky, I know.) I didn’t know what was happening at the time, but now I can clearly see what happened. In the time span of about two seconds, I had made a decision.

When, for just a second, the thought of my girl with someone else turned me on, it caused me to pause. “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “This is supposed to hurt me, disgust me. At least that’s what has been going on for the entirety of my adult life.” This dialogue continued in my head. “Can this be possible? Can I not only be ok with a woman’s past but also think it’s a little sexy? Because that would be fantastic. Can I do again? Let me see.” I had more tortuous thoughts that should have, according to my history, made me want to vomit but instead, turned me on. (Sick fucker!) More and more thoughts came and I got more and more turned on. I couldn’t believe it. It was over. My childish behavior, which I knew was wrong for years but couldn’t get over, was gone. All because I chose to feel another way.

Love is a choice?

If it weren’t for this experience, I would never have believed that feelings were a choice. I used to argue with a friend of mine because she thought love was a choice. “Wrong,” I said. “You don’t choose it it happens, or it doesn’t.” Now that I that I look at it, I loved someone by choice right around the same time frame but for some reason, I couldn’t see it. (That is another story for my memoirs.) I think part of it had to do with my anger issues. I used to explain to whomever I was in a relationship with, that I had no control how I reacted to things. It’s just a natural response. (Think about it, me claiming the reason I threw stuff at your car as you drove off was because it was just a natural response. I couldn’t help it?) So, if I were to admit to my friend that love was a choice, I would also be admitting that anger was a choice. That would make me responsible for every abusive thing I ever said or did. Something I was not ready to do. (By the way, this is me seeing this now, years later. I had no idea this was my reasoning at the time.)

The Model

I have been listening to life coach, Brooke Castillo’s, podcast for maybe two years now. Even though I think she’s brilliant, I have rolled my eyes over and over again every time I heard her mention “The Model.” A process she developed to help people work through their emotional problems. Blah blu-blah, blu-blah blah blah! Well, I’ve finally come around.

This is The Model.

  • Circumstances — Events you have no control over. They happened. They are facts.
  • Thoughts — One sentence in your mind about the Circumstance
  • Feelings One word that describes how you feel.
  • Actions — Your behavior. Your Reaction.
  • Results— What the action created. (Usually proves your original Thought as true.)

How The Model works is you fill in the blank for each line. You can start from anywhere. Let’s look at a made up example:

  • Circumstances — Your significant other breaks up with you.
  • Thoughts — I’m a loser and will always be single.
  • Feelings Depressed
  • Actions — Sedate yourself with booze or chocolate cake.
  • Results— Gain weight, get sick, actually becoming unattractive

Do you see how the Results reinforce the original Thought? This is how people either get on a roll or in a rut. Now let’s look at the same circumstance but change the thought:

  • Circumstances — Your significant other breaks up with you.
  • Thoughts — Well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
  • Feelings Relieved
  • Actions — Go out with friends. Meet new people.
  • Results— Find the love of your life. Get married. Have a kid. THEN get fat.

Did you notice that by changing the thought in these scenarios, everything else changed? A positive thought yielded a positive outcome, a negative thought a negative one. This can happen in real life too. We can not change the circumstance, what happened to us. We have no control over it but what we do have control over is our thoughts. Change your thought, and you will change your feelings, which makes feelings or emotions a choice.

Are these scenarios realistic? I don’t know I just made them up, so let’s look at a couple of real ones, mine.

  • Circumstances — I got a diagnosis from the VA
  • Thoughts — Thanks for nothing. I’m never going to figure out what’s wrong and get out of this rut.
  • Feelings Depressed
  • Actions — Two-day drunken binder.
  • Results— Took days to recover and felt even worse.

(I have 3200 words written on the above, but I am neither ready to share nor is there room in this post for 3200 words. It will go in the book. Sign up to get notified here.)

  • Circumstances — I caught a huge rainbow trout!
  • Thoughts — I am the fucking man! I am a bad ass. Shit, I am the king around here. king-of-rancho-chucamungus
  • Feelings Happy!
  • Actions — Smiled, walked with some pep in my step, talked to some people
  • Results— I successfully engaged an attractive woman in conversation, possibly made a friend, and was out of my depression. OUT!

So, back to my original question. Did a fish pull me out of the several month long depression I was in? No. It didn’t. I pulled myself out. I caught a fish, yippie shit. About a month later I caught an even bigger, prettier brown trout and it did not have the same impact on me. The first trout was so significant because the moment I set the hook, I chose to be happy. I chose to feel good. All because of the thoughts I had. I didn’t have to think to myself “think positively now.” It just happened, but the negative thoughts could have come.

  • About time something goes my way.
  • This will probably never happen again.
  • Just my luck to catch this big of a fish in a catch and release creek.
  • Still not worth all the money I spent on lost flys in this creek.
  • Well, there is the extent of any good luck I will have for a while.
  • I wish I could catch a girlfriend this easy.

Plug any of these thoughts into The Model and what do you think the results would have been? The Circumstance is the same it’s just the thoughts that are different.

My version of a quick story.

Twin boys were raised by an alcoholic father. One became a drunk, the other, a success in all aspects of the word. When the drunk was asked how he got to where he was in life, he answered, “My father was an alcoholic. I was destined to be like him.” When the successful man was asked how he got to where he was in life, he answered, “My father was an alcoholic. I was destined to not be like him.”

One Circumstance, two different thoughts, two different outcomes.

I choose to no longer be depressed.

Since this whole event, I have not fallen back in that deep rut. In fact, two very significant things have happened since then that could have easily pulled me back in. They were sad, and I did get upset, but in just a matter of time, I changed my thoughts on the Circumstance and the sadness went away

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