Why every veteran should try deep-sea fishing at least once - We Are The Mighty

Why every veteran should try deep-sea fishing at least once

Many soldiers deployed for missions in violent combat zones end up with mental health issues, mainly PTSD. Given the numerous encounters with death and losing friends during field operations, this is expected. Naturally, humans deal with such occurrences differently, but sometimes the brain finds it hard to cope. For such reasons, veterans are always encouraged to enroll in activities that keep them active, blocking the memories of the tough days. Several programs have been created to help veterans cope with life after active duty. 

Besides providing a wide variety of fish types, deep-sea fishing is a lifesaver for troubled veterans. According to Captain Jimmy Armel, an Army Ranger, fishing is more than a hobby. After returning home from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, Captain Jimmy struggled to adjust to civilian life. During his active duty days, he suffered concussions and other injuries. 

Jimmy shares that he was depressed and frequently resorted to alcoholic beverages to relieve his stress. He even considered suicide at one point, which many veterans with PTSD have considered. He figured he had to find a better way of coping with his PTSD since alcoholism only made it worse. Jimmy took advantage of a newly discovered passion by establishing a fishing charter on Tybee Island, which he used to allow veterans to recover.

Why every veteran should try deep-sea fishing at least once
(USMC photo by Pfc. Franklin Mercado)

Fishing as a form of counselling

Many times, people who visit counselors or therapists perceive themselves as weak, something we should change. Until recently, mental health was not prioritized in many countries. The stigma around counseling should end as it has resulted in many suicides, some of which may have been prevented if the deceased had visited a counselor or therapist. This stigma is especially pronounced in the gun fighting world, as these people are expected to be tough. As such, veterans shy from seeking help when dealing with PTSD because they don’t want to seem fragile.

According to experts, such veterans can benefit from deep-sea fishing, as it works well as a form of counseling. Those enrolled in deep-sea fishing programs often report a feeling of mental calmness after returning from the sea. Talking to other people while catching fish is therapeutic, especially if the people involved are also veterans. Sharing your experiences and seeing that you are not the only one suffering from loneliness, anxiety or PTSD will help with recovery. Even if you don’t catch any fish, deep-sea fishing has a way of clearing the evil thoughts off your mind.

Why every veteran should try deep-sea fishing at least once
(USMC photo by Cpl. Jorden Wells)

Keeps you occupied

Keeping yourself busy is one of the best ways to deal with PTSD, as loneliness and idleness kill the mind the most. According to veterans who have participated in deep-sea fishing, the activity gives them something to worry about. At that moment, the veteran controls the situation and does not have to worry about the unknown constantly. Sometimes, the veterans will engage in healthy fishing competitions, a sport that is proven to relieve stress. While most veterans rarely share their anxiety issues with people they are close with, telling a stranger your deepest worries is easier. You will find yourself opening up and even getting emotional, a major step in recovery. Furthermore, no one will judge you for being “weak” because almost everyone participating in veteran-focused deep-sea fishing has a similar issue. Keeping your mental health in check is as vital as your body’s health. Veterans with or without PTSD should try deep-sea fishing to reap its benefits.

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