Stories From the DAD crew Our resident psychiatrist Doug on his love of cars We are proud to say that Dr. Doug Blomeley has joined the Drive Against Depression family, as the inaugural member of our Mental Wellness Network. Doug will be a regular attendee at our drive events, and has already spoken at our 2019 Winter Community Drive. Better yet – anyone that books a consultation with Doug and mentions they came across his work through Drive Against Depression will receive a substantial discount on his services. You can see more on Doug’s background by visiting his Bellarine Psychiatry website. Below, Doug shares his own relationship with cars and driving, and how both help him manage the daily grind. The flow of life For me, cars and driving are synonymous with the flow of life. Thinking back, some of my earliest memories are around watching guys like Peter Brock, John Bowe and Craig Lowndes racing supercars around Mount Panorama. As I got older and started driving myself, I very quickly realised that for me, driving was a way to reconnect, to lose that fog of stress, anxiety and depression that often creeps into everyday life. The more I started to drive to get this freedom, the more I started to love it. It wasn’t even about driving quickly; it was something about connecting with the car, even if it wasn’t a particularly nice car, connecting with the road, my surroundings, just enjoying the whole process. I think on reflection, I probably learned to (and still do) enjoy it so much as it helps me live in the present moment. Many of us live busy lives, and it can be so easy to get caught up in future worries, the ‘what ifs’, and the uncertainties that we know life is going to bring. This is probably partly due to having to concentrate intently on driving for reasons of safety, but also the grounding that it brings me. For a long time though, I certainly couldn’t afford anything apart from a car to purely get me from A to B. It wasn’t until finally finishing university that I started to save towards getting my first so-called performance car. I remember looking obsessively on car sales, online motoring reviews, and motoring magazines in order to make sure I was totally aware of every possible option for me to buy within my price bracket. The hunt begins I was after something kind of quick — not excessively — but primarily I wanted something that delivered a genuine, engaging driving experience. I was going for a swim down at Barwon Heads Beach, and I spotted a Renault Sport Clio 197 in the car park. I’d actually never seen a Renault Sport before, and I remember looking at this little car, and thinking, wow, that thing is really cool. I got home from the beach and jumped straight on the Internet, looking at Renault Sport cars. I had always enjoyed the sound and feel of a turbocharged car, so when I discovered the Renault Sport Megane I knew I had to test drive it! Safe to say, my initial interest skyrocketed as soon as I got in the driver’s seat. The car instantly provided me with a feeling of excitement, connection, and satisfaction that I had rarely experienced in other areas of my life. I bought this car brand-new, and still have it to this day. It’s my number one go-to when I need to get that feeling of grounding, connection, and engagement with my surroundings back. Every time I drive the car, I enjoy it more, and I’m so glad I have it. Throughout these years though, my interest in cars, motorsport, and driving has continued to grow. Pretty quickly I also wanted a high-powered rear wheel drive vehicle. I was also doing a fair bit of work on my house, and attending to my other big hobby, which was gardening at the time. From front to rear! I knew I needed something sporting, but also practical. This is when I acquired an Ford FG Falcon XR6 Turbo ute. I had originally bought this Ute with a plan to use it as my daily driver, but pretty quickly it was also on the chopping block, undergoing extensive modifications and upgrades. Whilst it still functions perfectly well as a practical daily driver, it has more than enough herbs to be a very fine one at that! I’ve been fortunate enough to take my Renault Sport on a number of driving trips of various lengths across various places in Australia. Whilst there are absolutely some wonderful roads in Victoria, and also southern New South Wales, Tasmania takes the cake for me. I could happily spend days on end just doing loops and circuits of the Tasmanian mountains… this takes me to an almost whole other universe. I think cars, and driving, particularly with mates is always going to be part of my life. I would get up at any hour of the day, in any conditions, to go for a drive with my mates, as I know it’s the best thing in the world for me!