Fly Fishing Rx
Full disclosure, my counselor didn't specifically tell me to take up fly fishing. What she did was give me permission to re-engage an old hobby, or start a new one. I kinda took it from there.
During my dark night of the soul, a divorce left me with a house devoid of my three children every other weekend. When my days were full of car pools to band practice, birthday parties and unsigned permission slips, I yearned for quiet alone time. But like we often hear, be careful what you wish for. Solitude initiated a divorce decree feels more like house arrest than relief.
Too much time on my hands and too much time to think sent me into a tailspin of depression. I needed something to occupy my time constructively when the weekends of exile arrived. Thus my counselor encouraged me to actually do something with my free time rather than look at the clock and stare at the walls. It seems an obvious prescription now, but at the time, logic and reason had taken a holiday from my brain.
Shortly after that counseling session I saw an ad in the newspaper for a free intro to fly fishing class at the old Austin Angler. The class fell on one of my "free" weekends, so I signed up.
I don't remember a lot about that first class other than being a bit overwhelmed with all the new information I was besieged with. I had fished from a young age, and thought this new fly fishing thing would be a pretty easy transition for me. Instead I found it to be immersive - there was so much new information to absorb and new skills to acquire. I became obsessed with learning everything as quickly as I could.
Of course this lead to a degree of frustration, but it kept my mind occupied, which was its own brand of therapy. Slowly I acquired a modest quiver of skills that lead to modest success on the water. Eventually I realized that the goal was to have fun, not conquer.
If you hang around fly fishing forums or blogs long enough you will inevitably hear someone extol that among the virtues of fly fishing is it will cure what ails you. That sounds great, but I suspect we all know that fly fishing alone without the other healing arts and sciences will not cure anyone from depression, PTSD, cancer, or any number of other afflictions. However it can be part of the solution, introducing you to new challenges, friendships, and destinations.
It's good medicine, and the number of refills is unlimited.