It was a very difficult year in terms of my fight with depression and anxiety. I went through some changes, I also grew a lot in terms of my relationships, understanding my depression and living with it. I can recognise when lows are approaching and when I need to stay away from everyone. To leave everything. This year I had Christmas away from everything and everyone except nature and my partner.
Work-wise this year was awesome. I love my organisation and I love what we do. We developed Father and Child Wellbeing Worker to an amazing scale, I’m looking forward to 2020.
Just before Christmas, I felt that I’m running out of batteries, I was simply running on empty. On top of that, this year my children were spending Christmas away with their mum, as last two years, I had them with me. I wanted just skip this time of the year, fall asleep and wake up after boxing day. I felt really low coming my way and I wanted to do something about it. Depression is a bitch.
My last day of work was on December the 23rd, a few days prior I was constantly trying to figure out how I can just skip this time of the year as I needed to do so. Inside I just felt it, urge to not be present at home this Christmas. We didn’t have much money left due to upcoming trip to Marocco in February 2020 and prices of hotels were unbelievable during this time of a year. I felt like I’m running out of the oxygen, the world was getting smaller and I was hour by hour getting squashed and felt my anxiety rising. I needed a getaway, I had a need of spending Christmas away from everyone.
I made a decision – I will go away into the Scottish Highlands and I will sleep in the car. I asked my partner if she wants to join me, as I was expecting very unpleasant sleeping conditions, cold weather and close to freezing to the bone experience. After few hours of thinking she agreed. It was decided, we will go away this Christmas.
We packed some duvets, sleeping bags, some food, water and camping burner to heat some water for morning coffee and noodles.
We left around noon and drove for a few good hours stopping to enjoy views, we ate some lunch and travelled more. From Edinburgh through Firkin Point, Rest and Be Thankful View Point, Inveraray, we stopped for late dinner at Creagan Inn in Appin and later we drove in the dark to Three Sisters viewpoint, Ballachulish. We arrived there somewhere around 7: 30 PM. We couldn’t see anything, it was dark, foggy and visibility of a few meters only. We got into our sleeping bags and tried to sleep in very uncomfortable positions. Two people in space of 1,45m x 1m. Insane but doable.
We set our alarm to get ready for Christmas Day sunrise and went to sleep. Amazing experience and to be honest, not only us were doing this. I could see a few cars in nearby viewing spots, arriving and sleeping overnight in the cars.
Dawn was incredible, we had our wee burner and made coffee enjoying our view, I can honestly say it. Best Christmas morning ever.
Thanks to the possibility to spend Christmas away from home, I felt that all stress and low is going away. I could just stand there and breath in, enjoy this moment of being away from all of everyday madness and Christmas time pressure. No family, no need for discussions about politics, life, do’s and don’ts of men of my age. I just managed to run away from it all and do Christmas my way, as I want and as I need it to have to be mentally ok.
Nature’s got amazing healing powers and I really felt it. This time away, road trip, driving through amazing landscapes, leaving everything behind has a very profound impact on me. After our breakfast and wee walk around the valley, we drove more to explore other amazing places, We stopped as often we could and made lots of photos. I also was offline since the start of our trip. Delated Facebook app and Messenger too. I just wanted to be connected to my partner and myself. Made just two phone calls to my children, other than that I kept disconnected from the virtual world. This huge weight of depression on my shoulders stopped bothering me, nature cleansed me and I felt great peace.
Amazing feeling, amazing two nights and three days of travelling across the Scottish Highlands to get connected with myself and to take the best antidepressants – nature. I would love to do that more often and I will do. Later I spent time with my kids and my partner. We went to the cinema, played some games and hugged a lot. Being present instead of giving presents. We just bought few gifts for kids and spent time talking and being with each others.
Christmas – a special time of the year, spend it as you feel it, the best for your mental health, not on fulfilling expectations of others.