A lot of people ask me if I could give dads out there some advice what would I say? What advice would I give? Well what if I could talk to all dads at once. So here goes.
Dear suffering Dad,
First of all I would like to say well done for coming this far to even have found my blog. You have made the first few steps. The first few steps are hardest, trust me I’ve been there.
I can’t tell you how you are feeling now, to sit here and say I know how you are feeling would be wrong and I don’t want to assume I know you. I do however believe I may know some of how you may feel.
Right now things might seem tough, you may feel no good, worthless or useless, you may be struggling to bond with your child, you may feel like you shouldn’t feel like this, you might be thinking “I’m the dad, dads don’t struggle. It’s the mum who should be struggling not me” or you could be at that point were your ready to end it all thinking “the world is better off with out me, they don’t need me”
If I’m honest as I write this I don’t know how you are feeling, what I do know is they were all the things I felt as I considered taking my life on that cold winters day all those years ago. As I stood there walking what I hoped would be my last walk along those train tracks, hoping a train would hit me and take away. I fell all those things and more. Most of all I felt alone, I couldn’t tell my wife I was the man I was the strong one, I was the one who was meant to protect my family, I was meant to hold the family together and here I was numb no feeling hating the fact I had no love for my daughter, feeling like a failure unable to tell anyone. The man with everything yet nothing the man with so many people who cared about him yet alone unwilling or unable to tell anyone how he felt, the man who would rather be dead than show weakness and admit they were struggling. Afraid of being judged. Afraid to be a Dad, scratch that unable to be a dad I felt nothing for my daughter no love nothing I was numb. My daughter would be better off with a dad who was dead.
If you can even relate to a tiny bit of that then this message is for you.
Things can and do get better, there are people out there who can help, I am proof that things do get better I got better, right now you may feel like it’s impossible but I promise you it’s not. I’m not saying it’s easy or that you will never struggle but you can get better.
Here is my advice to you. Talk to somebody, anybody your partner would be a good person to talk to you will be surprised how understanding they will be. If you can’t talk to your partner just yet talk to sombody you trust a friend, a work mate, a brother, a sister, a mother or father, it can be anybody if you really can’t find anybody talk to a stranger if you want talk to me I won’t give you medical advice but I will listen [a list of people you could talk to is at the end of this letter].
I beg you please go to see your doctor, talk to them tell them how you are feeling and follow their medical advice. Tell your health visitor how you are feeling you may think they’re not there for you but they are there for all the family and you never know they may even know of groups or activities that can help you.
Get on the net find the community of us fighting our demons together, you will find so many like you dads who have struggled and dads who are still struggling, I have only just done this step and I can say i wish I did it sooner the community is amazing and made me realise how I felt wasn’t unusual or unheard of there are many dads who have fought the black dog and won. No one in this community will judge.
On judging I have to be honest, you will tell people and they will tell you you can’t be feeling how you feel, you can’t be struggling and will try to make light of how your feeling and will make you feel worse about yourself. I’m not going to lie those people still say it to me and it hurts. But haters going to hate. Feel sorry for them they don’t understand. Don’t let it get you down they have never been where you are they have never faught the fight. So could never understand. Cast them aside and focus on those who want to help.
I have to be honest all of this isn’t easy, there is no easy way out, you need to want this, you need to want to get better, you need to work at getting better and some days will be harder than others. But I promise you getting better is the greatest thing you will ever do and things will get better, fighting this dog is worth it. You will look back on this fight and be so thankful you chose to take the steps to get better, you will hold you children and be thankful you got better. You have to get better for yourself but have them in your mind, getting better will give them their dad back will let you be the dad you want to be.
I thank you for taking the time to read this, admitting you need help is the first step getting the help is the next one.
God bless and much love
Tony – The PND Daddy
Where can you get help?
Your first step should be your GP or local medical professionals. Others organisations who can help are below
You can contact Mind’s Infoline 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393.
Text them on 86463, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offer support to any man who is down or in crisis online, over the phone on 0800 58 58 58, or on webchat.
PANDAS Dads have a private Facebook support group to help dads going through anxiety and/or those who are supporting their partner with prenatal mental illness.
I runs a Twitter chat for dads who suffer with PND and need support. Join in on Mondays 8-9pm. Just use the #PNDDaddies to join you will be surprised how many of us dads who suffered are here to help
Day or night, Samaritans are there if you need to talk. Call them on 116 123.
You may think Tommy’s is just for mums but their midwives are on twitter most days and are always happy to answer questions even from dads.