A man who said he suffered from “horrific” PTSD after he was nearly stabbed to death said that fishing “saved his life.“
Andy Beeman, 41, has been suffering from complex PTSD since age 17 — after he was stabbed with a 10-inch combat knife in an unprovoked attack outside his school, as SWNS, the British news agency, reported.
After the 1998 attack, Beeman feared being in crowds and being approached by people from behind — and dealt with “crippling anxiety,” SWNS also said.
He added, “From then onward, it affected me for a long time. It caused me a lot of issues. If I walked into a busy room, like a bar or a concert, the hypervigilance would make me look around and list the threats in my head.”
“One of my friends took me fishing. I rediscovered my love for nature and wildlife then.”
“Then, in my 30s, I found out I had another genetic kidney disease,” SWNS reported. “I ended up in [the emergency room], and because of complications I had to stay in [the] hospital for the better part of a year.”
Said Beeman, “Because of this, my PTSD came back with a vengeance. I became addicted to painkillers and the trauma came back.”
“Fishing definitely saved my life. If not directly, then certainly indirectly. I’ve had points where I haven’t wanted to continue with my life. But taking myself fishing is a therapy as well as a sport,” Beeman told SWNS.
While Beeman (foreground) still struggles with his PTSD, he said fishing has been his main coping mechanism and has helped him “work through it.” (Andy Beeman / SWNS)
He now goes fishing multiple times a week — and said he particularly enjoys trout fishing in rivers.
“I realized that fishing was helping my recovery so much, so I wanted to pass that on.”
Andy Beeman with one of his catches. Seven years ago, after a bout of kidney disease left him in the hospital for a year, his PTSD returned “with a vengeance.” Fishing helped him cope — and now he’s coaching others. (Andy Beeman / SWNS)
“I found a lot of friends as an adult through fishing.”
He said as someone in his 40s, it was “difficult” for him “to make friends … but we have a network and we all check up on each other.”
“I’ve managed to work through it with fishing.”
The organization was formed in early 2020 — and on its website, the group says it’s become “a trusted provider of angling events within the U.K.” It offers support to people from all walks of life who may be struggling with an array of issues, it also says.
Andy Beeman, 41, has found that fishing helps him deal with his PTSD. (Andy Beeman / SWNS)
Beeman said he coaches people who are struggling with their mental or physical health to participate in fishing sessions and events.
“I really enjoy coaching as well as fishing,” Beeman said. “I realized that fishing was helping my recovery so much, so I wanted to pass that on. I can see the difference in people arriving and leaving in the first session … After they’ve been fishing for a few hours, they feel so much better.”
“You never really get over PTSD,” he said, as SWNS reported.
“It’s always there in the background — but I’ve managed to work through it with fishing.”