Why create the Foundation

My personal struggle with this illness was becoming desperate, my self worth was at an all time low and I didn't know my purpose.

I needed to do something. I needed to feel human.  I wanted to embark on an adventure to remind myself of my worth.

It was the end of April 2016 when I started looking into kayaking, I stumbled across Vigor Fitness  based in Fairfield. Despite being full of anxiety, I made an appointment to meet Liam. The first step was going to be having the courage to attend an appointment with a stranger.

At this stage, it would be a major accomplishment.

I went kayaking with Liam and it soon became my new passion.

I found the scenery of the Yarra River and the simplicity of getting to the water very comforting. The ability to collect a kayak and walk down the steps to the Yarra River gave me back my independence. Maybe I also felt safe in the ability to leave everything that had previously happened behind me.

No one knew my history or about my illness, nor did they care.
I was just a guy going for a paddle.
“you can tell yourself that you're good and maybe I shouldn’t be feeling this way, thoughts and feelings are normal, you just don't need them playing 24 hours a day" 
Matt Young

The Anxious Paddler Foundation
Recovery Milestones
Lesson #1.

As I started paddling I quickly learnt a cold hard lesson. If I wasn't concentrating on what I was doing, the kayak would tip over and I would find myself swimming in the Yarra River.

I learnt to focus on what I was doing. One thing at a time. This is known as "being present", an important aspect of my recovery from an anxiety related illness.

What I had just started to do was to teach my mind to stay present, minimising my wandering thoughts of the past, the future and everything else in between. 

If I wasn't present, I would be taking a very cold bath.

Lesson #2

This lesson was all about finding the paddling rhythm. Kayaking, and anything that requires a paddle, is a rhythmic sport.

Research has shown that the mind and body obtains significant benefits from such rhythmic sports.

I was finally finding something to help my recovery. I was finding my "thing".
This "thing", without too much effort, was changing my mental state. It was clearing out the scar tissue and helping me to mend.

My mental health team have been incredibly supportive of this new endeavour, encouraging me to continue.

It seemed to me that I had found a way to help myself find a steady place that worked alongside the ongoing subtle changes made to my medication. 

Lesson #3


I wanted to go faster, but to do this I had to find the perfect rhythm. I needed to concentrate on relaxed breathing; deep breaths into, and filling up my abdomen.

Between being present, rhythmic, and relaxing my breathing I have decreased the frequency of which I have suffered cold water treatment!

I am also starting to find my peace.
"For me it was to find peace, the ability to have one thought without it cascading into a trail of destructive thoughts.

Thoughts about my lack of worth and taking my life to prevent the crippling trauma." 
Matt Young

The Paddler Team
  1. Liam Delaney
    Vigor Events, Multisport Coach, Naturopath and Remedial Therapist. I approached Liam to be my kayaking coach. Liam has been working with me, providing advice about my paddling technique. He has also been on hand to advise me on how to avoid falling into the water or at least how to get back in the kayak.
  2. Matt Young
    The anxious paddler. I'm the one with the illness. Or in other words I'm the "consumer". With the support of my mental health and paddler team I'm seeking recovery from my "thought addiction".
  3. Brett Jarosz
    Sports Chiropractor Brett has a strong practice interest in athletic and sporting injuries, and corrective exercise therapy. He also has a strong interest in neuro-orthopaedic rehabilitation which has been key to my physical recovery. Brett started me on a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that took account of my mental and physical challenges.