It’s no joke. When shit gets serious it gets real serious. I don’t think I can do the magnitude of manic depression justice by trying to relay it in words. I’ve read some great authors attempts at it. My favorite so far is “The Meat Bucket Blues”. Seems to sum it up in a very descriptive, non-specific way.
For me, its something I’ve struggled with almost my whole life, but I only now do I know that. I thought everyone looked at life the way I did because I had no frame of reference. It started young though, as anger. I was the angriest person I knew, the angriest person anyone knew. They knew me as Angry Brian. That was my defining trait, and it served me well, for a while. As time passes, you begin to feel drained by the same power that anger gave you. Anger takes a lot of energy to fuel, and sooner or later you become exhausted by it. Then it turns inward. A serious turn. There is no lashing out, punching holes in the drywall, drunken black outs, screaming at god, it kind of all goes quiet. The closest thing I can liken it to is a sinkhole in slow motion. The ground gives out beneath you as you watch, and you are powerless against it. The next thing you know is that you’re at ground zero with the meat bucket blues.
One would think one could pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps at that point. One can’t. It’s not something you fight through. You have no enemy but your own synapses that refuse to work. You are a mental amputee. An emotional quadriplegic lying in front of the ladder that is the only way out of the hole you are lying in. It’s like the hangover that stays with you all day. This one stays with you until its done with you. They call it the blues, but it is black. Zero light kind of black down there. Angry black turned inward black. When I’m in it, I can hear my brain not working. I can listen to the crackling of my neurotransmitters firing on deaf receptors. It makes a little buzzing sound like the overhead power lines when you are too close to them. And that is where you arrive at madness. At odds with ones soul and circumstance, yet powerless against it. This is madness.
This is where you spend all night talking to yourself with a knife on the table. Wishing you had the guts to put that shiny black bullet through the roof of your mouth and extinguish those sounds in your head for good. This is meat bucket ground zero amputee’s final resting place. It’s no joke.
Then. What then?
You wait it out, somehow. If you can make it past ground zero of the meat bucket blues, you’ve survived until the next round. So what does this have to do with fly fishing? Not much, . . . yet.
When I was introduced to fly fishing, Angry Brian was washed clean. I didn’t know it then, but my life was saved. Absolved of broken synapses and chemical deficiencies, out there was clean. No zeros, but everything. It was worth it. The absence of black. Quiet positivity. It seemed as unreal to me as anything ever did. Fly fishing became the ladder out of the sinkhole for me. I remember times at ground zero when it truly was the only thing for me to hold onto. I didn’t want to blow my head off . . . because I knew that I would never fish again. Now that is something to hold onto. Something that can stop suicide in it’s tracks must be pretty powerful. I’m not saying that it works for everyone, I’m sure it certainly doesn’t work for everyone, but I found that it works for me. And it’s asimple thing. And I’m thankful. And fly fishing saved my life.