I’ve been blessed with anxiety for a long time. Some days are harder than others. The last couple of years have been particularly hard; I’ve recently stopped taking prescription medication, after being on it for more than 20 years.
The partnership between my anxiety and fishing has been varied. I’ve had many times on the water where I’ve been so engrossed and engaged, that I can’t see, hear, feel or experience anything else. I think that’s call that “being in a state of flow”. It’s therapeutic, doing something that you love so much. Everything else fades away and you just “soak up the moment”.
I’ve also had times when my anxiety has been so bad, that I haven’t been able to even bring myself to think about fishing, let alone get out on the water. To someone else, this might seem strange, knowing how much I love fishing.
But I’ve learned that this is how anxiety works. It can suck away all the good things in your life. It can mean you have no desire at all to do any of the things you enjoy. It’s a shitty way to live. I’ve had times when I’ve been on a river, and have felt so sad that I’ve had to stop, sit down, and just cry. It makes for a quick ending to what would otherwise be a great trip.
I’m better off than some. Anxiety hasn’t totally screwed up my life, but it does make things difficult.
It’s great to see The Fly Program up and running. Hopefully the people who take part in it get a bit of relief. Fishing’s been a great help to me.
The people who’ve set up The Fly Program up should be congratulated. It’s a not-for-profit – I work for a not-for-profit – I guarantee you don’t devote yourself to that kind work for the money. It’s about long hours, not enough resources, and low pay, but the good part is you get to work for a great cause.
So what is “The Fly Program”?
The organisation was founded by Matt Tripet, a very well-known and respected quantity in fishing circles around the Snowy Mountains here in New South Wales.
A quote from Matt, on the organisation’s website:
“It became our commitment to provide the resources to assist Australian men to find a release and increase their quality of life, whether directly, or indirectly touched by these threads of mental illness and instituting a new outlet – participation in the natural world as a reprieve from the day-to-day challenges too many men face in our community.”
Matt adds that someone very close to him suffered greatly from a mental health illness.
“The heartbreak and the pain of losing a family member is always difficult to grasp but losing a family member in these circumstances is profoundly impossible to comprehend.
“Our brother’s legacy will always live on through The Fly Program and we dedicate our work to those we hope to serve in the community.”
To help make a positive impact on men afflicted by mental health illnesses, The Fly Program offers guided trout fishing, fly casting workshops, events, and in particular, their Men In Flight Program. Men In Flight aims to assist men with resources that support healthier lives, physically and mentally.
Again, from The Fly Program website:
“(Through the Men In Flight Program,) men will discover new places through lure and fly fishing programs and also discover some of Australia’s epic alpine wilderness locations on a mountain bike. It is in these settings we can create powerful platforms to talk, support and educate participants.”
For more information about The Fly Program, visit the organisation’s website and their Facebook page.