Talking to Ross McLaren one half of the popular 'Outdoors Ross & Rachel' persona on Instagram and Facebook.

Over a brew we chat about working for the BBC on 'The Social' and how Scuba Diving effects his Mental Health.

Grab yourself a brew and listen to this interesting story. 

🔴 His Biography:
Me and my partner Rachel are both full-time teachers and while we love to climb mountains and go on trips of a lifetime, the reality for us is that just getting outside in any way possible has a massive benefit to our mental wellbeing. 

Both of us have suffered from mental health issues over the past three years. For Rach this has meant she’s had to take time off work, and I have had to do something I’ve always said I would never do... take antidepressants. 

Rachel’s dad passed away and naturally Rachel struggled. I tried to support her and say all the right things, but in my head, I’m embarrassed to admit, I was thinking “it’s time to suck it up and get on with it”. That was how I’d always thought. I just didn’t get it. 

For myself, I don’t know what triggered it. I still don’t. I’m not exactly a happy-go-lucky type of guy at the best of times. I’m grumpy. I can be sullen. I always look on the negative side of a situation and always expect the worst. Everyone has always just accepted that as Ross being Ross. It finally came to a head though in February 2019. 

I had a constant feeling of a lump in my throat, and I convinced myself I had oesophageal cancer (the same Rachel’s dad had). The doctors (four of them) kept telling me “you are fine”. Eventually, the last GP sent me to see a consultant – not because he thought I had cancer, but the anxiety had got so bad I couldn’t stop fixating on it. I had convinced myself they had missed something. I had an appointment to have a camera put down my throat to check. I was told there were absolutely no signs of cancer or any other issue. 

When I walked out of the hospital, I knew how I wanted to feel. Happy, relieved, overjoyed. Instead I felt worse! A family member asked if I actually wanted to have cancer and I said something that will stay with me forever. I said “Yes!” I mean, who in their right mind WANTS cancer? It was then I realised I really wasn’t in my ‘right mind’! Of course I didn’t want to have cancer, but at the time it was the only way I could process it. I had a physical sensation, so I must have a physical condition. It was then I had to admit I had mental health issues and I was embarrassed.

Even when I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, that only lead to more anxiety. I had everything a 28-year-old could want. I felt I had no right to struggle when there are people out there so much worse off.

Why am I writing all this? What’s it got to do with getting outside? Well it’s simple. The drugs work, to an extent. Counselling works, to an extent. But on the hardest days, the only time I felt truly at peace was when I was outside! I didn’t have to be up a mountain every day, a lot of the time just spending time outside after work was all I needed to get everything straight in my head again. 

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Olympus OMD EM-1 Mk2
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The music I used in my video:
'Outside In'
Written By S.L.J. Kalmeijer
Performed & Produced By Sounds Like Sander

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