Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Outdoor Anxiety...

I am a world class worrier.

This post has been a long time coming, something I have been thinking about for a while but have had a tough time putting down into form.

Anxiety isnt something guys are supposed to admit to.  We're men of the outdoors, hike up a trail kill a deer drag it out kind of guys....float 20 miles of a wilderness river and think nothing of it kind of guys.  Etc, Etc. Etc.

But sometimes, my anxiety gets the best of me and it's hard to enjoy god's outdoor splendor

Given a solid family history of worry, I know I had it coming and looking back, anxiety has manifested itself in different places in my life.   College baseball, relationships and more have all been affected.

It's terrifying when OMR is late returning from a solo outdoor trip

I have a tough time when on a multi boat trip down a river when I cant see the other boat.  They've flipped, obviously...right

Deer hunting sucks when you separate to cover more ground

Etc, Etc, Etc.

The weird thing is never about me.  It's about others, always.  Call it a mother hen mentality but for some reason the feeling of making sure everyone is alright is a tough one to shake.  Im not hunting and fishing with dumb, unprepared people.  Most are better outdoorsmen than me

What it is.....is my compelling need to feel in-control.  The paradox is that the more I try to control things....alter other's plans to curb my anxiety for instance, the less control I actually have.

Weird, right?

These feelings don't happen every trip.  Sometimes I'll go months without even a twinge of anxiety.

Then all of a sudden I'll be 5 days from a trip and all I can think about are worse case scenarios.

Very frustrating.

So the question then becomes, why am I writing this?  Why the dumping of feelings and emotions on my readers.

Because I know in my heart of hearts that there's many guys and gals out there who feel the same way.  There's a solace in knowing you're not the only one who can feel a certain way, even if it's something which can feel so trivial but so terrifying in the same breath.  

How am I working on this part of my life?    I'll tell you

Find a great counselor.   How the heavens linked me up with a person who also fly fishes is mystery, but my therapist loves to toss a fly.

Have open conversations.  Dont suffer your feelings in silence.  Tell your wife, husband, partner, and most importantly your outdoor companions.  You'll be surprised that sometimes, the people you're with on the river and woods are very emphatic and helpful.  If they're not.....well, maybe you need a new fishing buddy.   The more open I am about this to others, the more cathartic it becomes.  Drop the macho BS and talk about it.

Read.  Dr. Wayne Dyer, the Bible and Eckart Tole have been great for me in settling the mind

Practice seeing the best case scenario, not the worst.  99.9% of the time, the worst case never happens.  Think on that a bit.

Did I mention it's beneficial to talk about it?

If you feel like you're in the same boat, feel free to drop me a line.  I am as open as I can be about this subject in my life and since I have become this way....the easier it becomes to deal with it when it comes up

Remember, you're not the only one who feels this way.  There's thousands and thousands and thousands who deal with the same issues.  The beautiful thing is that anxiety issues is cureable and manageable, and I am on my way back up the hill myself at this moment.

So it's time to practice what I preach.  I have a float on a new river in 5 days.  I'll do my due diligence,  my research and then I'm going to drop the boat in the water, get on the sticks and let the day happen.

Wish me luck!


  1. Yep yep yep..... 1000 times yep.

    Good on you bro, for getting it out there.

    It helps... believe me.

  2. Me too. I have learned to sluff alot of stuff off. But it raises its ugly head now and then. The best thing is your are right find someone who you can talk about on friend type basis. Pray and talk.

    www.islikely.com for all your weather related needs.