It's mental health awareness week. We are thinking about how fly fishing has benefited our mental health by teaching us important life lessons. The first of these lessons is patience.
This is the first in a series of pieces about the lessons that we learn through spending time on the water. Personally, these lessons have shaped who I am and I am sure they have changed the lives of others too. The first of these lessons is patience.
For a long time, I have not been a patient man. Like many, I wanted everything to happen straight away. Next day delivery and instant gratification from social media, certainly have not helped the world with this. In the early years of my fly fishing experience, I was focused on catching large quantities of fish, if I wasn't catching I would change my fly pattern every 5 minutes, and constantly analyse what I was doing. It took me a while, but the more I fished, the more I learned, the more patient I became. Whilst I developed a good level of patience in the fishing world, it did not reflect in my everyday life. A lack of patience has had considerable effects on my mental health, it has played a part in sending me into deep depressions and a number of panic attacks. In 2020 this all changed.
Although I still struggle with my mental wellbeing, I am slowly developing patience. This patience has come from reflection. From looking back and thinking about what I have done, and what is ahead. I have been remembering those days when all seems lost but through sheer patience and perseverance a beautiful Brown trout ends up in your net. It turns out that over the years fishing has been teaching me a skill that will benefit me greatly. It just took a little while for me to realise it.
Since this realisation, I have started to back myself. I am doing the right things, they will come good. I just have to be patient.