Worst month of my Life

So there is something I haven’t written about, that is part of my PND Journey but if I am honest I haven’t wanted to write about for fear of being judged by people and if I am honest I was a little ashamed that my mental health and lack of self respect or self worth led to this situation.

Just over a year ago Elizabeth had an accident that start a chain of events that would lead to the worst month of mine and Mel’s life.

We had had a good day playing and spent the day out we decided that for tea we would do something easy and make some home made tomato soup we had a big lunch so thought something quick and cheerful would fill the hole and do us just fine for our tea so I got out all my ingredients and made my world famous homemade soup, a little while later everything was ready and it was time for us to eat..

Our house was small and cluttered so the house was very cluttered to say the very least and the table we had was covered in rubbish so we didn’t use it very often today like most days we would be eating on the living room. Elizabeth had asked if she could sit on the floor with a tray on her lap we didn’t see a problem with this so we said that was ok and brought her food in on a tray so she could eat. We had asked her to wait for her soup to cool down before she began to eat. Elizabeth was in no mood for waiting before we had a chance to do anything she took the tray and moved it quickly on to her lap not looking at what she was doing. The next minute she was screaming in pain she had moved the tray so quick that the soup had go all over her foot burning her ankle, I grabbed her striped her off very quickly and got her in the bath and used the shower head to try and cool her leg down nothing was working Elizabeth was getting louder and louder even when we took her out the bath she would not settle the burn looked horrible. We made the decision to keep cooling her leg in the bath using the shower head and called an ambulance, the ambulance came and took Elizabeth to hospital with me, Mel followed a little while later with Andrew. We had the usual hospital showing concern and quizzing us on what happened, we even had someone from the police come and see us. The paramedics had raised concern that the way it had happened looked/sounded suspicious so the police just had to come and check everything was ok, they were satisfied it was an accident and didn’t want to follow it up, Elizabeth was patched up and we went home thinking the whole ordeal was over. Turned out it was to last the next month.

The next day I arrived home to find someone from social services sitting in my living room talking to Mel. He Explained to us that it is normal that after an accident like this that a report be sent and he was following up on that report. He was very kind and honest with us he listened to what had happened and what I have been through in the past few year. He explained he could see we were struggling slightly, with both working as well as look after the kids and find that balance. He explained that he would be putting us on a 28 day review were his colleague would come out to do a full assessment and give us any help possible.

His colleague came out a few days later and could see we needed some help, she could see we loved our kids and would do anything for them but we were struggling to keep the house safe for 2 young kids, she had a few things that we had to do straight away and things that needed to be done as soon as possible, looking back it was fair to say the house was messy, un-kept and dangerous at times.

At the time it felt like I was being attacked left right and centre and I am sure Mel felt the same, someone who doesn’t know us or how hard we had worked to get to the point were we at then kept telling us we need to do more. We had meeting after meeting and it felt like we were being told we were unfit as parents, was fair to say my mental health wasn’t 100% so that didn’t help, I had to leave a few of the meetings as at times it did feel like we were being attacked or that they never understood what we were going through.

After a few appointments though We began to see they had a point we had let things get the better of us and the house was untidy and we could see how they could be worried. We began to work with them and they were very helpful, they organised a skip to help de-clutter the house. They helped us to start to see things differently and see that they were there to help, we were supported through the whole thing and they helped us in anyway we needed it. They made us take a step back and see re-evaluate what we did and how we lived.

At the time I have to admit my mental health took a back step for a few weeks it felt like everyone was against us, that we were useless parents and that someone thought we were doing a piss poor job at keeping them safe, we were worried that one day someone was going to take our kids away from us, It felt like no one was on outside well almost no one, Elizabeth’s nursery were very supportive and were in our corner all the way.

Well anyway after a month of working with social services, many arguments with them and each other and a lot of stress. we were told they were happy with our progress and that they  would be leaving us alone and said they no longer feel they need to be involved.

It is Fair to say thought this was the worst month of our life, I had gone through all my issues with PND, had finally started to work my way through it and bond with my kids and someone was telling me I was doing it all wrong and was an unfit dad. Or at least it that’s how it felt.

Looking back now I see it wasn’t, that it was them looking at our kids and us and making sure we all had a safe place to live, that our kids were safe and importantly that we were happy as a family.

It has made us take a look at how we live to make sure everything is safe and even made us sit back and make sure we keep the new house we have safe and tidy for the kids. We said when we moved back to Liverpool that we would care more about ourselves and that we would make sure we never let the new house get like the old one and so far we have kept that promise. But most of all it made me realise how much I need my kids, even the fear of losing them made panic and feel sick.

I will finish this blog with some advice, if you ever find yourself in a situation like we did please work with those who are trying to help you, social services are there to help and will only take your kids as a last resort. Let them see how happy you are as a family and take any support that you may be offered.

The PND Daddy

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And now we are having 3

The shock moment when I realised I hadn’t had a period for nearly 6 weeks and I was feeling tired and exhausted all the time. I was taking contraception and I was taking it regularly every day. I told Tony and he wasn’t sure but I said I wanted to take a test to rule it out so I could then investigate why I hadn’t had a period and why I was so tired. I sent Tony out to get a test then when he got home I went and peed on the stick. I set the timer on my phone for 3 mins and went downstairs to try and distract me. When the timer was done I had to then go back up and look at the stick but I was so scared that I didn’t actually want to look. At this point I didn’t know what was going through my mind. I would love it to be positive as I also wanted to have 3 children but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was ready to have another baby just yet as Andrew was still very much attached to me and doesn’t like being too far from me. I took a deep breath and went and looked at the stick.

2 LINES!! 2 bright red lines was staring right at me. I was pregnant.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, how could this happen? Well I know how it happens but how? I was on the pill. I was taking contraception to stop myself from falling pregnant. I just looked and then I started to cry. I poured my heart out. These ended up being tears of joy. I was happy that it was positive. I went downstairs and told Tony and watched him become in total shock. 

Well that was that then. We were going to have another little monkey running around the place. Once the shock had sunk in I was relieved and very excited. We then went and told family and close friends who were all very pleased for us. 
The next thing to happen was my appointment with the doctor. It started off by being asked if it was planned. When I said I was on contraception she said that I wasn’t able to go back on it after I gave birth. Well to me that was obvious. She then asked the question. And with that question I gave the look. “Because this pregnancy wasn’t planned, would you like to consider a termination? It can be very difficult to enjoy a pregnancy when it wasn’t planned”. Would I? Now please give me a minute while consider my answer. No! I’m very sure thank you, I want to keep this baby. It may not have been planned by myself or Tony but it was planned by someone else and that is enough for me. 

When the appointment was finished I got given 2 numbers for the 2 local hospitals that I could go through and I was told to ring them myself and do a self referral. I phoned them on the way home from the doctors and kinda wished I hadn’t. Trying to work out and answer the man on the other end of the phone was very funny. He asked me for the first date of my last period and I thought to myself, well this is very personal and I don’t want to share it with you. Now this could have been because I never had a man ask these questions before so I felt very much out of my comfort zone. I answered his questions then carried on home. 
I had a very successful first midwife appointment. The midwife was very lovely and explained everything as she did the paperwork. Tony came with me for the appointment and I’m glad he did. I love him being involved in the pregnancy and asking questions too. She had asked me if myself or anyone else in my family suffer from any form of mental health and I said no, which is true. Tony then said to the midwife that he suffered with PND after our first baby was born. She was very polite and said that for the purposes of her paperwork it is only interested in the maternal side of things but she herself would very much like to hear what happened. So then the next 20 mins were spent with me just sitting in my chair and Tony and my midwife were discussing PND in males and how many more men are actually stepping out and asking for help. So that was appointment over and I finally think it has settled down into my mind now that our family is indeed going to grow.

Is kids TV damaging our kids

Hi guys before I get on to the topic I want to blog about I want to say I am sorry I haven’t blogged in a long time, I have been quite on social media too. There is a very simple reason why pure and simple it’s been the summer holidays and I wanted to spend time with my kids not looking at a screen. It’s been nice to stay off for a while and spend some time with my kids. I have done so much with the kids as well as with Mel and I have so much to tell you but I will get on to that in another blog.

So to the topic I want to blog about is this is 24 hour kids tv as well as all this tech damaging our kids?

I know this might sound like a daft thing to say but I really think we are paying our kids a disservice by constantly entertaining them, we don’t let our kids get bored. There is a constant form of entertainment for our children right at our finger tips, Live TV, on demand TV, iPads, youtube, apps, games consoles, 21st century kids have never had it so good.

I am not saying any of this is a bad thing but I know this we have never had so many ways to elevate child boredom in our lives and I personally think a bit of boredom is an amazing thing it develops imagination and help our children grow.

I am no play therapist and I am by no means guilt free when it comes to looking for the easy way out. I will admit when elizabeth wakes up at 6am and I want to stay sleeping it a case of here is your iPad go and watch some American video of a woman opening the latest gadget and let me sleep in a little longer. Even now as a write this I know tomorrow morning elizabeth will be Likely to get her iPad tomorrow morning. And even when we are up it is quite likely she will spend the morning watching CBeebies or Nick Jr until I turn over or just get bored of watching kids tv, however last week I was forced to really think, is tv and all this on-demand tech damaging my child’s ability to learn?

Now I am no expert I don’t have the facts and figures and I won’t pretend i do but I will tell you about my experience that led to me feeling that our quickness to turn in our TVS, pass our kids iPads or find a quick fix for boredom can be damaging for our kids. The guys at world economics forum have made this video.

I started to think about this a few weeks ago whilst I was camping in north wales with Elizabeth, we had no tech (except my phone to call my dad to get us next day), not toys and basic equipment.. we found our own fun on the first day, played set up camp and went for a walk were Elizabeth even made a nice story that Captain Hook lived on his ship in lake ogwin (that beat my story that it was the lake queen gwenavier the wife of king athour through the great sword Excalibur into after the death of athour) she also told me that she had borrowed moana’s necklace and was taking it back to her. Our 5 mile walk became a game. The next day she woke and wanted her iPad we had a bit of a row because she forgot it but soon woke up tried to cook breakfast and got about our next adventure, climbing up a massive mountain (yay) I wasn’t sure she would get anywhere near the top but it was about the finding fun so we set about past captains hook ship and up the mountain to the other lake were pan and tinkerbell lived with all the Disney princesses, we stoped for lunch and I calculated we never had time to get all the way up so she said it’s ok and made a story about it and told me on the way Down.

Now back at home she tells me all about mr invisible and all the trouble he cause I think it’s her drop dead Fred.

But this lack of tech whilst out got me thinking, I like to limit the tech time be it tv or iPad but so many parents don’t, is this going to be harmful for our kids?

When I was a kid especially early 90’s we never had IPad or phones, kids tv was limited to a few hours a day no 24 hours of full on tv. We never had games consoles or PC games and if we did the only games were mine sweeper and solitaire and consoles were in there early stages. If your reading this as a child of before the early 90s you will get this, if you are a child of anything from 95 to now you might be reading this thinking life must have been boring.

The strange thing is it wasn’t we used the greates computer in the world our brain to keep us entertained being bored forced us to use our imagination and make our own fun. It made us look around see what we hard that we could make fun with.

A football had so many games we could play, Kirby, dodge ball 2 touch football with goalie in and out, get enough of us together and we could play man hunt, a box of lego could make for hours of entertainment developing our building and engineering skills, we went along to groups like scouts and learned how to make fires, the girls got a bottle of water and put roses in it to make perfume. If we were short of money a bucket and a sponge And we could car wash 3 quid a car, door to door until we had enough cash for our cinema stuff, a bed sheet makes a den the possibilities are endless.

I’m not saying TVs, iPads or any other entertainment is bad in fact some of it is brilliant, what I am saying is our quickness to relieve our child boredom robs our children of the fun that come with using your imagination to relieve your boredom. Being bored also makes them think for them self. These skills help them in there future life, being able to solve problems and think for themselves could help them in the work place and those moments of taking objects and using the imagination who knows might make them the inventors of the future.

I don’t know, what I do know is these are the future of our human race, these moments of boredom using there imagination might help them shape the world of the future, we owe it to them to stop trying to entertain them every now and Again and let them entertain themselves one day they might thank you..

And If you don’t believe the guys at lego have made this amazing video from lego duplo.

The PND Daddy

Wow what a summer it has been.

As some of you have noticed I have been away for a lot of the summer and boy has a lot happened, things have been moving on nicely and I have Much to tell you about. And yes I am ready for kids to go back to school I love them but having to plan every day for 7 weeks is draining.

I decided to leave you all for the summer holidays as I thought my wife and kids deserved as much of my time as possible and doing what I do can be very time consuming, I have the blog, #PNDdaddies, thinking of setting up a charity, setting up support networks and generally working on raising awareness of PND and depression in dads on top of that I still need to work. So I decided to take some time away from social media and all my work, to have some family time. My old job ended in June and the new job starts in September so I even had the whole summer off, money has been tight but we have had fun. I took the whole of July off social media no Facebook, limited twitter and only 5 mins a day of emails. Doing that made me realise how much I missed just because I was looking at a screen. I missed all fun things the kids did on a bus journey or the sights I missed and even the games I miss at home because I was glued to tech. I am back on now but not as much I try to do most of my stuff if kids are playing upstairs or in bed.

We have been on big walks doing things that are free or don’t cost very much basically we have had loads of fun being a family we spend two weeks in Scotland enjoying everything it has to offer and even went back in time to see how the earth was made in dynamic world. Me and Elizabeth even went back to nature and spent a few days camping and hill walking, We have done so much its hard to mention everything we did. And we still have one more week planed before I head to my new job.

I have done one thing PND Related this week I took part in a BBC mini documentary for BBC Stories me and two other blokes Brad and John (the husband of lotus petal) meet up at Johns house to have a BBQ and talk about mental health in Dads and men in general and be interviewed about our very different stories. I won’t go into what we said or our stories, they will be available on the BBC after editing and we will link you all to it when it is finished. I will say we had fun it wasn’t like we had only just met it was like we were a group of mates just talking through our stories and I made two new friends that day. And I got to go lego shop London and spent to much money.

This summer I have only had one negative a family member who isn’t even a family member attacked our little family and had a massive kick of but that’s not even worth the word it would take you to tell you about it so I will move on with another fun thing one of the joys of Liverpool is Hollyoaks is filmed here and our local bar is where all the stars drink so when we went for a meal I joked we should go there as there might be some stars and there was we met Amrit Maghera who plays Neeta and Krupa Pattani who plays Farrah.

I realise I haven’t talked bout new baby yet so here is a small update mel is now 23 weeks pregnant and things are going well although she is emotional as anything.. well more emotional even as I type she crying at ed Sheehan, we have had our mid-term scan in fact we had two the baby was in the wrong position to see everything in the first one so we had to go again a week later. Baby is healthy and developing well. We are unsure what we are having as the same guy told us differently at each scan and the first baby was a girl we went back a week later and then we were told he has changed his mind it’s a boy but he’s not 100% so we are confused now. We’re waiting till our 3D scan until we say for sure, this means we have had to put all our buying on hold, and I can’t paint the cot I restoring. Lucky the one thing we bought, the pram is neutral.

Usually At this point of pregnancy I would be deep in anxiety and struggling Day to day, worrying that every twinge that mel had was something bad or asking mel every hour if she has felt baby, worrying that we would lose this baby. Now don’t get me wrong I get anxious before appointments but no where near as bad I don’t have sleepless nights, Of corse there is a worry about my PND resurfacing with baby number 3 and that was part of the reason I was reserved at first about the thought of having another baby, I even told mel the week before we find out she was pregnant I didn’t want another baby as I was happy and didn’t want to develop PND for a third time. Yes it wasn’t as bad with Andrew and I developed ways of helping if it got bad but it was always a worry that I might relapse, but really for now I couldn’t be happier and my mental health is dramatically improved might change but right now things are brilliant I am looking forward to the new baby, I have an amazing wife and two amazing kids that keep me on my toes, I am even looking at reducing or coming off my meds I have to wait and see what the doctor says when I see the specialist. And I know if I do develop PND with baby number three I know what to look for and techniques to help me. I have my family close who know what to look out for will be looking out for early warning signs so what ever happens I will be ok.

So all in all it’s been a good summer and we have so much to look forward I am back blogging so look out for more blogs to come.

Stay safe and god bless

The PND Daddy.

It’s ok not to be ok. It’s common sense.

Disclaimer: First off, I just want to start off by saying I don’t have experience with PND but I do have a lot of experience with Depression. And I know it’s different (in fact all depression is different with its multitude of factors and triggers). However:

Dads with depression, (whenever and however that may manifest itself), I say this to you.

There’s no shame admitting to struggling with depression and asking for help. I won’t lie. Some people don’t ‘get it’ but lazy stereotypes and stigma will only persist if we stay hidden. Our depression will continue to cause problems while we hide it. It won’t be easy, but it’s not easy now is it? Get help, you’ll find a world of support out there. I know you’re scared about people who will be cruel, but f@CK ‘EM’ !!

When it comes to PND, for far too long men have been stuck in a gender stereotype that they have to suck up any changes in their lives that may be concerning them (no matter how welcome). We’ve been told that PND can only affect women since it is a hormonal change that causes it. While I’ve no doubt that this plays a large part for women, it’s only common sense that life experience and rapid changes to lifestyle can also cause depression or anxiety and that will of course impact on both men and women.

New parents are facing a massive change to change to their lifestyle, not to mention the awesome and new responsibility of caring for a new life, juggling new work routines, while not eating properly, suddenly not getting any sleep and so on.  Where you could deal with a few of those things, as a total sum it’s a shock to the system. Add to that a loss of community help, where we are so busy to relax or take time to process and unwind, have little job security etc, no wonder some people ( men and women) can’t cope. It’s common bloody sense that people can break in these circumstances, so why is it seen as shameful or hidden? Everybody EVERYBODY will go through a period of mental distress whether they acknowledge it or not. No man is an island and yet there are times in life when we feel like we are carrying an unmanageable burden alone. To ME, that is the crux of depression.

Help, support and acknowledgement is crucial to lifting the fears, negative thoughts and genuine struggle. It doesn’t mean you are putting your feelings above others or that you need help at the expense of your partner or child. Or that women’s struggles aren’t as equal to or even at times worse. It’s not a competition. We need to get out of that mentality. We all need to help each other.

You can still help and care for others while seeking help for yourself !

So how do I deal with my own depression?

Sometimes not at all. However, I’ve had to come to terms that in my life there will always be people who will be unhelpful, mean, false and contribute to your depression. You can’t avoid it, but they are part of the problem and not the solution. Put those people to one side and look to those who help you. It’s unfair but ultimately their issue if they want to be like that. You can’t change them. Don’t let them make your life worse.

I’ve also had to realise that you have to take time to help yourself, no matter how small those steps may be.

Sleep is important.

Experts will always tell you to get a good night’s sleep without realising that is the problem and it’s not always in your control (especially with kids). You need to come to an agreement with your partner on how to deal with this. A rota? If it’s your day off the next day, then maybe that’s your turn to do the night runs? Likewise if you are working and your partner is at home, maybe you need the sleep and they can nap during the day or vice versa.

Alone time versus company.

You really do need both but not so much of one that it negatively impacts on the other.

Write it down.

Blogging or journaling really does work. Also from a practical point of view. My wife doesn’t like to discuss emotional things so I find it really hard to discuss my feelings with her as she’s too practically minded. She finds it hard to deal or give time to emotions that she doesn’t understand from her own logical point of view. I’m the opposite and when feeling overwhelmed  this can really hurt. Therefore to beat the frustration I’ve started writing things down. It’s cathartic for me but also, sooner or later she will read it and mull it over. It may not feel like it at the time but I see her taking it on board. If you have somebody you’re struggling to communicate  your depression to, then I highly recommend this.

Exercise:

Like with sleep, exercise is important but I’m not going to be one of those people who tells you how much to do or what type. It really is down to the individual. It’s proven to be mentally and physically helpful. Do what you can, even if it’s just sitting in the garden and going to the shop.

Set goals:

Not massive goals but small improvement goals and then build upon them with another small goal. It helps to look back and see improvement. It gives you strength to go forward. An example? Sometimes I just can’t even do the dishes due to exhaustion and brain fog. I know this is unfair on both myself (since clutter makes me anxious and it adds to it) and my wife who already does a lot. Instead of beating myself up, or being unrealistic and telling myself I’ll do all the dishes, I set a small goal, maybe to just do some of them before needing to sit down and then a few days later I may do all the dishes and then I’ll challenge myself to do all of them two days running. THESE AREN’T MASSIVE GOALS and may be scoffed at by people who don’t understand but they are achievable to YOU.

If you NEED to step out, then step out for a moment (and allow your partner to do the same).

 

So that’s my thoughts on depression as it’s impacted me over the past 20 years. I hope it’s been of some slim help. If you want to chat, come see me at askyerfather.com. My door is always open. Above all, I just want to say, don’t suffer in silence. It’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.

My Open Letter To All Dads Who Are Suffering. 

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

Mind

You can contact Mind’s Infoline 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393.

Text them on 86463, or email info@mind.org.uk.

CALM

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

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.

#PNDDaddies

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

Samaritans

Day or night, Samaritans are there if you need to talk. Call them on 116 123.

Tommy’s midwives

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.

7 ways to help your partner struggling with PND

Emily, my wife, was an energetic, optimistic, successful woman. She loved meeting new people, taking on new challenges, and helping others.But that all changed a few months after the birth of our son. Unfortunately she was the 1 in 5 that struggled with Post-Natal Depression. In her case it also came with anxiety. It was a tough time for her, but it was also a tough time for me.

Luckily she is now recovered, but it got me thinking – what would I have wanted to know at the start of our PND journey to make it better. Obviously everyone’s experience is different, but for me I’d love to have known the following:

1) Don’t take it personally – sometimes it was difficult to hear that “life isn’t worth it” or “I just want to run away”. It feels like a personal attack on your – that you’re no longer good enough, you’re doing a bad job. But you are doing great. It’s the depression talking. Try to remain calm and don’t let it affect you.

2) Give her some “me” time – take the baby out so she can paint her nails, suggest she goes for a run (careful with that one 😉 but exercise is great to lift the mood!), buy her favourite magazine and giver her time to read it etc.

3) Encourage her to meet new mums for support during the day. If your partner is anything like Emily was, she will have reduced her life to a select friend or two, or will just live life at home. But it’s important to get out and about – for fresh air – and to talk to adults. www.mummylinks.com is a great way of doing this as it enables mums to create local, ad-hoc play dates securely (it’s invite/approval only) Being ad-hoc is great for mums suffering with PND as they can create something last minute when they know they are feeling up for popping out, or if they want to meet up quickly.

4) Do date nights – it’s important to keep your relationship going and to try and have a life away from baby. Yes this won’t be as often as before baby – but try to schedule something in at least once a month. If you can get out of the house that’s ideal, but if not – order your favourite take away, chat about life, and watch her favourite film.

5) Help with practical things – washing up, cooking, washing clothes etc. PND can make everything seem overwhelming, so taking a few “to-dos” off the list helps.

6) Do some research – PND and other mental health issues are still not well understood by most people. So do some research to find out more. This video has three women talking with brutal honesty about PND. It may well be how your partner feels, and she may not feel comfortable even telling you this. It also shows just how common it is.

7) Find someone to talk to – 50% of men whose partners are suffering with PND also suffer. So it’s important you find someone you can offload on as – for the timebeing your partner won’t be able to cope with this. As men this can be tricky, but it’s really important that you keep yourself well to look after your family. Speak to a trusted friend, family member, or even your GP.

“If your a dad with a partner with PND and need other dads to talk to or maybe you are suffering to please Join the PND daddies hour Monday 8-9pm use the #PNDdaddies to join on – The PND daddy”

Dan – Partner of Emily