I’ll admit, I’m finding it hard to motivate myself to blog at the moment. I’m still taking pills and trying to be positive about things but it’s hard work not slipping into a stupid self pitying slumber.
But less about that for now. At the weekend we had some friends come to stay with their two children – one starting nursery and one about to start primary school. The house was full of family noise and chaos – children running about screaming in excitement which soon turned to tears as inevitable accidents occurred. Me and wifey were a little apprehensive about having friends to stay, even though they were people we knew very well and hadn’t seen them for too long. After the drama of the week a quiet weekend would have been the easy option, but looking back it was a good thing over all – I could have spent the weekend wallowing on my own but instead had some good chats with my friends and enjoyed their company.
The house did feel pleasantly calm on their departure though, and after a house full of 4 adults and 3 little ones our little family of three seemed a lot more manageable.
I realised after my previous two posts and visit to my GP that reading the ramblings of a depressed new dad probably isn’t a lot of fun or good to anyone apart from me.
As part of trying to recognise and beat my depression I thought I’d write a little about what the signs were that made me finally take action.
- Being withdrawn – without realising I’ve retracted right into myself and been oblivious to the effect my actions or inactions are having in others.
- Forgetfulness – I’ve been forgetting a lot of thing, and needing constant reminders for the simplest things.
- Lack if confidence – I’ve been feeling like I’m not able to do simple straightforward things, or make the simplest decisions like what to have for dinner without upsetting or annoying someone.
- Motivation – I have terrible lethargy, if I haven’t forgotten to do something something would be holding me back.
- Unaware of consequences – I have been completely oblivious at times to the consequences of my actions, how these symptoms have made me a very difficult person to live with.
- Clouded thoughts – I can’t seem to follow the usual thought processes in my mind, to assess situations or make decisions – anything from what to eat to when to set an alarm. It feels like a part of my mind is missing.
- Self pity – Surrounding all these things is a deep sense of pity and guilt. I have a wonderful wife and daughter, I live in a great house in a beautiful part of the country and have a great relationship with my family. What right do I have to feel miserable?
- Miserable – last but not least I’ve been miserable. From the look on my face to the sound of my voice, my underlying mood is very sad.
A big part of the problem is that I’ve been genuinely unaware of most of these symptoms, it’s only through talking with Wifey about these things that I’ve been able to see them fully, and that was a very difficult conversation to have.
Wifey and baby have been the things that have kept me going. I don’t want to be like this, I don’t want wifey to have to live with a husband like this and want my daughter to grow up inspired and excited about the world.
I didn’t want to admit I was officially depressed. I saw it as a sign of failure on my part, that I was letting my family down. It was Wifey that pushed me to going to the GP, and after facing up to the effect my depression was actually having on her I could see that things needed to change and I needed help.
Talking to the GP was tough, and afterwards I felt a sense of relief from admitting my problems, but also a sense of sadness that I am officially depressed – that somehow I’d let depression get the better of me.
Today I took my second antidepressant, (I learnt my lesson from yesterday and took it with breakfast to keep stomach cramps at bay) and am taking it a day at a time. I’m due to see the doctor again in a few weeks to see how things are, but will keep things updated here.
As hard as writing yesterday’s post was, visiting a GP and discussing my mental health was a whole lot harder.
It was helped by an evening out on the coast with Wifey and baby last night, looking over the calm sea with some fish and chips. Baby was on fantastic form, smiling and gurgling and we got some excellent pictures of us all. For an hour or so everything else disappeared and we sat by the sea enjoying the moment, something which has been so rare recently.
Today it’s back to reality, talking about my problems, fears and worries with a stranger. The doctor listened and we talked, the way we discussed things made me feel more confident in myself and I was able to be open and honest and didn’t feel judged. We talked about a lot in only 15 minutes, about me and the options that were available.
We decided to put my name on a waiting list (3 – 4 months) for therapy, and take a prescription home and talk to Wifey about taking medication. I’ll have another appointment in two weeks to see how I’m doing.
I got home and there were a few tears from me, and I decided I should use the prescription and start the pills. Wifey is going to the pharmacy today for me.
I did not expect this blog to be about a depressed dad making a mess of things, but here we are. But maybe things would have been even worse if I wasn’t putting my thoughts here.
This is a hard one to write. Sometimes you think things are going ok, that you’re juggling the different parts of your life without dropping too many balls, and that they’re only small balls anyway, but then you get shown the reality of the situation and find in actual fact you’re being more and more withdrawn and the little balls you’ve dropped are actually quite heavy and are breaking things around you.
To put it simply, I’m actually in a bit of a bad state at the moment and am booked into see a doctor to talk about depression. I don’t know if I’m technically depressed, but I know I’m not well, and it’s getting well beyond my control and having a severe impact on those closest around me and that I need help.
It feels like I’m missing part of my mind, I’m aware that things aren’t right but the part missing is what would usually tell me what’s going on and how to manage it.
So I’m seeing a doctor after pleas from wifey as I don’t know what else to do, and it’s too much for wifey. Maybe I’ll get some pills, or see a councillor?
I started writing this on the way to work this morning and have since read this post from smilingandsparkling about a relapse into post natal depression. Seems it’s a tough time for a few us parental bloggers at the moment, hopefully sharing experiences online like this may make it easier for others to seek help.
Last night I made it to the gym.
I’d cobbled together a gym kit of sorts in the morning and went to the leisure centre on my route home.
I hadn’t been to the gym since wifey was pregnant, and it brought back memories of independent easier times. I found an empty cross trainer, set a gentle gradient and got to it. 40 minutes and 5.5Km later I staggered off. Legs wobbly, body sweaty and my heart beating like a fucked clock.
Through the pain there was a good feeling buried within, one I hadn’t felt for a long time. Proper physical exhaustion. Knackered from actually doing something instead of not sleeping.
I felt I’d achieved something for me for once, something again I hadn’t felt for a long time.
I staggered slowly home to meet wifey and daughter and was soon in the usual routine of helping feed, burp and comfort baby.
I found my usual burping technique of bouncing baby on my knee considerably harder and sat on the sofa feeling drained. The first few gym trips are always the hardest but I was wrecked. Like everything in the baby adventure, I’m sure it will get easier in time…
So yesterday was Friday the 13th. Wifey was tired and went to be at 9, I stayed up and watched a french film I’d recorded ages ago (District 13, a good action flic) and went to bed about 11.
Wifey slept until 9am the next day. TWELVE HOURS. She woke very briefly at 6 to ask me to do the first feed but went straight back off and got the longest nights sleep in about 6 months.
I wonder how long this will last?!
Time does fly past when you’re a new dad, I haven’t blogged for over a week and that won’t do.
This morning I was thinking about the little noises baby is making and it made me wonder what her voice will sound like? Something integral to who a person is, how they will be perceived and recognised is yet to develop. That’s a bit weird.
In other less random updates, things have been rather settled. baby is getting good amounts of sleep at night, and once put to bed at between 9:30 and 11 she usually sleeps until about three or four, then after a change and feed, again until seven or eight. Last night she went to bed at 10 and didn’t wake until 6 – amazing! Wifey was actually worried there was something wrong as she hadn’t been woken up earlier but baby fed well and Wifey was back in bed as I left for work – success!
The sleep has been good for me for a few weeks now, I rarely properly wake up when baby wakes at night, the only trouble I’ve had is getting to sleep (I’ve always struggled with insomnia). Work pressures have been building and I find it hard not having any evening downtime to clear my head. I had a chat with Wifey about this, (or rather she had a chat with me). Although I’m quite aware I’m not having a lot of fun yet, I thought I’d been managing OK but Wifey has been worried about my apparently quite obvious unhappiness.
I’m trying to make a few changes – making the most of time with baby when she’s in a cheerful mood after the evening feed, and I hope to start going to the gym again soon to get some downtime and also reverse the extra pounds I’ve been piling on since baby arrived (caffeine doesn’t agree with me so I had/have to rely on sugar to keep me going through the exhaustive days!). Problem is finding the energy after a day at work when you’re knackered and hugely out of shape!
But Wifey is right, I do need to take better care of myself so i just need to bite the bullet. The first few sessions are always the worst…
Apparently there’s a series of books by the same title as this post, but I don’t have a lot of time for books.
Instead, this post relates to a depressing realisation this morning of how many grey hairs I now have. I know the past two months have been tough, but it’s a depressing sight seeing my once brown mop of hair now littered with silver lines of age and exhaustion.