Posted by Benjamin J, 31/05/2012, 11:12 AM
Reading through a blog entry made a year and a half ago about this topic got me thinking about how much water had flowed under the bridge since then. Through encouragement of a dear friend I sought professional advice on depression and found it had been around a lot longer than I was maybe aware of. Since telling a very-very small group of friends & my wife’s parents about my depression I don’t feel as alone in the whole thing, it not being a secret anymore somehow makes me feel healthier.
I used to feel depression was all over me like thick black oil, oozing through my skin like it was part of me. In the last year and a half I had in fact tried to take my own life on more than one occasion and thank the heavens failed every time. During these attempts there was never a thought or feeling about anyone or anything around me. Simply feeling an overwhelming need to remove one’s self from that head-space, that physical sensation of that blackness which no matter what you do doesn't leave. Hence taking ones life feels like in all honesty the only option left.
When telling the Psychologist I have been seeing on and off for 2 1/2 years now how I tried again and it didn't work, something was different about the last time. I really wanted out, there is no need for details but what I will say is the adrenaline kicked in and I got myself out of the situation I was in. I have never felt so afraid of death before. Something in me changed, I remember lying on the shed floor weeping like I never done before, my whole body felt really hot. I fell asleep on the shed floor for a while eventually waking up shivering, went inside and to bed. When I had an appointment with the Psychologist that week I reluctantly told him what happened through the tears saying my wife wasn't aware, he rang her advising of what had happened to bring her on recent events.
Since that time something has changed in me which is a feeling/recurring thought that I want to beat this, I want to be a better me. Instead of working towards just living/coping with depression BEAT IT! The things that have changed is that I used to feel depression was all over me that I couldn't remove myself in any way to now it sits beside me at times and other times it’s in the corner.
My beautiful wife who for some time has felt powerless to help now feels she is able to assist me more in life, I think this is because I feel I am able to stand on my own two feet and facing in the right direction. I can’t explain how she is able to help me more, maybe I am now able to be helped?
My Wife’s parents who now know have given love and support and really have taken the place as my "Mum & Dad". It is wonderful to reach a point where I feel cared for, loved and not alone. It took a drastic circumstance but I feel a corner has been turned and I along with my beautiful wife are the better for it. I can start to use what energies I have into stepping forward instead of backwards.
Please if you know someone with depression, especially a new Dad let them know you love and care for them. DO NOT be embarrassed or concerned you might putting your nose where it doesn’t belong, I don’t believe depression is something that can be worked through successfully on one’s own.
Much love and care
Entries in September 2011
Posted by Benjamin J, 05/09/2011, 01:37 PM
Late yesterday afternoon, Fathers Day, the penny dropped for myself on my understanding of Fathers day. Obviously it means something different for each person however when growing up Fathers & Mothers day was painful experience year after year to the point I despised it. Before becoming a Father myself last year early August I told my wife who knew my stance on the day; I didn't want anything & to please treat it as any old day. This year however my wife came to me with little Oscar waddling in front of her with an envelope. With his extremely cute smile and him chewing on the envelope and card his Mum had to help him handing over the present. I had to do a double take in my mind to think why would I be getting a gift and such an odd time. Upon reading the card I then realised what this was for.
Later that day after deciding not to do anything around the house but fall asleep in the sun, play with Oscar, have a lovely lunch. Spend some time with friends, go out for a casual hit of tennis, I realised Fathers, for me, isn’t about what others do for you but a day to stop, take a breath and see what I have in front of me. The joy of a wonderful family who love and adore me and want to show their appreciation for me being a father and husband by giving me a gift, dedicating the day to doing things in simple terms I like doing.
Growing up even to this day my mother and father are expectant that they will be contacted and shown, in their words "demanded respect". Although I respect them as a person their views on free-will giving of time and effort is skewed. I won’t live life where everything is a trade off. If I don’t contact them first at Christmas... well you guessed it. I won’t get contacted. Aside from family most people don’t have time for people like this. That’s why I feel it is healthy to not break the relationship but not give it the exhaustive weight I have in the past.
I am so glad that this weekend I found a joy in Fathers day, coming to a healthy understanding it’s about me appreciating what is around me not to live with the horrible memory of being forced to show appreciation when it was the last thing you actually meant in the card you wrote while Mum or Dad watched over you saying. Colour in the bloody balloons Ben, make an effort you twit.
Posted by Benjamin J, 19/04/2011, 01:45 PM
My goodness me! A few years ago when we purchased the house we are in now it was more than large enough, nice entertaining area, more than big enough rooms. All the attributes for a working couple who live for the weekends to entertain. Little Oscar has his own room which was the storage room... or technically speaking the "junk room".
With talk of number two we find ourselves caught short as we also have one of the current rooms as an office for my wife. The lounge room has play mats, toy bins, jolly jumper (to tell you a secret, as a grown man I wouldn't mind an adult size one of those)
As my wife is able to work from home the office room really needs to stay, hence the looking around for a new house. We both instantly went for what we want. Needless to say we realised that had to be adjusted to what we need not want!
Having looked around for 15 months now at what is on the housing market, what selling where, $ that need to be put up for the 'family home'. Although yes our current home fits all 3 of us when it comes to number two we would be looking eventually. We figure while Oscar is very transportable and is the kind of little boy that seems to not mind being passed around from pillar to post now is a good a time as any to be active in looking a the 'family home'.
Last night whilst going through the shed I found so much "stuff" that can be thrown out. Fortunately my beautiful wife is good at such things and was super helpful in being ruthless.
Here's for the house hunt! Woo Hoo!
Posted by Benjamin J, 29/03/2011, 12:04 PM
Well... I have found myself saying something my father said, his father before said. "Back in my day". Simply back in my day I didn't have the diversity of foods or even the understanding of foods to eat let alone have fed to me as a baby/child/teenager. I feel quite lucky to live in an age where diversity of culture has brought in a wonderful selection of foods which have been incorporated into our daily diet.
Growing up eating a stir fry was something fancy you got at an Asian restaurant. Now it’s a rather simply whip up meal and the list goes on. I am very grateful little Oscar will be eating such a diversity of foods I simply didn't get the chance to try. My wife and I love getting him to try new foods as much as possible and have found just because he didn't like it one day doesn't mean he won’t like it a few days later.
It’s such a super time being a Dad with Oscar now 7 1/2 months. Such a personality and identifies with so many people. Oh and when he laughs! I mean gets up a real giggle my heart melts. Singing the alphabet, juggling, playing peek-a-boo with the mirror. (The little boy on the other side has been named Boscar)
What a joy!
Posted by Benjamin J, 08/03/2011, 11:57 AM
Growing up being told world records are made to be broken, ohhh you came 2nd, only 1 goal today Benjamin. Growing up my sense of worth and how it was measured was less than ideal. The feeling of its OK to just be me was non existent. Praised for sucess not for just having a go. My father a very promising sportsman but squashed by his parents as it wasn't what they wanted him to do. My mother who had me very young was always told she was a failure for not making anything of herself. Unfortunately as my parents lived their lives as feeling there was so much more out there, so much more could have been achieved. Logically I would have thought my father would have been very keen try to allow myself who was also a very promising sportsman to excel in my abilities however he followed in the same path as his parents but not showing any keenness in this area and letting me know there are better things for him to do that trance around the country side taking me to sporting events, this didn't help with my mother who hates anything sporting. My Mother I would have guessed wanted me to explore the world around me, get out there, travel, have fun. She ended up being a house wife who never showed much drive, had a very clean house but never saw any worth in getting a job, doing something for herself.
I have spoken to my parents together and individually who both severely deny and were extremely disappointed I would raise with them my struggles of feeling like I wasn't alright with just being myself. Reponses of, "excuse me we knew what was best for you and I wasn't interested in driving around the country side taking you to ridiculous sporting events, I instilled a sense of competition, you just didn't listen and try your hardest, you were lazy". I once raised with my parents how they felt about there form of discipline. What a failure that was, being told that they again don’t appreciate me asking such questions, it isn't my place, who am I to judge, just wait till you have your own kids...
I suppose all I wanted was an understanding to their thoughts and explanations to why some actions were taken. What I have realised if they seem blind to their actions and decisions good or bad. I was wanting them to understand what implications their decisions had on me but to no avail. I realised I was the one who had to move on as their position wasn't going to budge.
All this has resulted in my a burning desire to let Oscar know he is alright just being himself. Coming 2nd is wonderful because he simply had a go. Instil a healthy sense of competition knowing giving it your best is enough. Telling him all the time he is loved, lots of cuddle and kisses. I have such a strong desire to break the cycle of doing the same as ones parents did to them. I am not aiming to be a better parent to spite my own but I want Oscar to know he is loved no matter what. No grow up feeling useless and having to wait till he is near 30 to find out why he struggles so much with his sense of worth in the world.
There's always tomorrow and surely that will be a better day than today.
Posted by Benjamin J, 29/12/2010, 01:41 PM
I have felt strongly for some time now to write about depression in Dads. I raised the question to a bunch of fellow employees around the lunch table. (I work at hospitals and laboratories) The most common response was, that doesn't happen in men they weren't the ones having the baby; to men at the end of the day have it easy etc. What was putting myself out there turned out to get a stereo typical response to depression in males post natal.
A point was reached the middle of 2009 a good friend who is a mental health nurse and a bit older asked me a few questions about what I thought of depression. I had the typical responses of, "oh I'm an emo I want to slash my wrist, goodbye cruel world, uncontrolled crying for no reason". At the time I wasn't aware of what this friend was trying to do or get me to think about. He followed up and caught up with myself more than usual in concern for.
To cut a long story short my wife and I spent hours talking about specifics of emotions expanding of events how I felt and after some protest from myself I went to saw my GP with my friend. I did a DAS score (I think that’s what it was). I then find myself a few weeks later seeing a psychologist. We talked about how my wife and I were talking about having kids attached my fears of that. My upbringing with how I was raised and concerns difficulties with my parents. My inability to settle down 5 out of 7 nights of the week, continuous over processing and fears. My struggle with feeling useless, imparting my fears and failures into my child if we were to have children. An overwhelming sense of the world is a better place without me.
The only way I found myself being able to settle down of a night was picture darkness like space with no stars. A place of no pleasure or pain, simply void of everything. This over time took me to a place of becoming void of most things which concern emotion. I simply shut myself down; removing me from the ability to feel emotion made life easier. This became a coping mechanism which was not just hurting myself but those around me especially my beautiful wife who felt clueless on how to help.
Through seeing the psychologist it was identified I was using cognitive behavior which caused a vicious cycle, a monster that was feeding off itself. Seeing the psychologist brought to my attention how common depression is and its origin of being recognized as melancholy goes back a long way. I started taking medication which at first was horrible as it didn’t sleep for nearly 3 days then after that things started to settle down. Over time with the medication I felt leveled.
Some months go by and my wife and I are expecting late July 2010 I was in a much better place with the ability to identify behaviors and tweak some areas of my life, thought processes for the better. My course of medication finished a month after Oscar was born, I went to my GP who felt it a good idea to try being off the meds, use what knowledge I have of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Oscar is almost 5 months old, he is beautiful happy and healthy. When he smiles the way his whole face lights up is a joy to see. The last 4 months have been a trying time in wanting to use CBT but falling back into space with no stars. The struggle with feeling like Oscar is half of me therefore half of him will feel all struggles and failures amplified to the point of crippling him mentally. I was feeling lost again in thought. The black monster was back in my head and I’m struggling to process effectively. The fear of failing Oscar as a Dad was ever preset. He became a constant reminder of all the good things in life plus all the bad things in me. My internal struggles had become bigger than ever before pulling me to a place of again what am I doing here. Times during the day there would be a running dialogue in me of good VS evil. Evil kept on winning.
Two weeks ago I burst like I had never done before I even felt capable of; emotionally I exploded. On one hand it felt good to be able to let out the black monster and talk about it and on the other bad because I felt like a failure for doing so. ‘Unable to have it all together’.
It was realised at that point I had gone to the psychologist leading up to the birth of Oscar but nothing afterwards leaving the sense of unfinished business. A light bulb moment some would say. I rang the psychologist office and got the Dr who remembered me well asking how life was as a new Dad. We spoke for sometime which was lovely and I’ll be going in to see him in late January again.
In moments of clarity I know I want to be the best person I can be, process the most efficient and effective way possible. I’ll notice if someone has had a haircut, new earings, weather those shoes go with that jacket but my wife was more that correct I need to notice in myself where I am good, where I am worthwhile. She says to me how much of a wonderful father I am, how good I am to our friends but I may hear it but don’t let it sink in, that my job to allow it to get past the black monster leaving no room for it to exist anymore.
I hope that new Dads get a chance to read this, hear that give fatherhood everything you’ve got giving all of yourself to your child/children is the best thing you can do. Be happy in yourself and hopefully you have someone with you to let you know when you’ve done a good job at being yourself.
Posted by Benjamin J, 20/12/2010, 01:05 PM
Christmas is a busy time of the year which in the new year when there seems time to reflect I again like most find myself complaining about difficult family, annoying relatives and some sections of family doing the same old thing year and after year, stubborn and not willing to budge from what was being done 30 years ago.
But 2010 will be quite different with the introduction of the fist grandchild on both sides of the family. It’s my first year as a Dad, my parents 4 days after Christmas are going overseas for 6 + months, I've just applied for a new job, all on the back of a trip to the hospital as my wife had terrible pains a few days after getting a marina.
Once again I find my head space full to brim leading into Christmas, hopefully Oscar can help drain the weight I give the family issues and struggles and focus on family for the love they bring. Christmas becoming simple.... hopefully.
Posted by Benjamin J, 29/11/2010, 03:32 PM
I'm not talking about my wife but myself!
We are both surprised my wife lost the baby weight really quickly. However since life has been swell with a beautiful little boy Oscar now 4 months old and super wife life has become somewhat comfortable. In the past 6 months I have put on a whopping 10 kilograms.
My lovely wife mentioned to me last night in a very loving way, "sweets your very cuddley". I haven't been aware of it and continued to have that extra sweet here or have gone the large late a few times a week at the cafe next to work.
Now I am aware of it I feel the extra 10 kg's heavier. Being quite broad I have been able to get away with it....I think.
Posted by Benjamin J, 05/10/2010, 02:05 PM
I now know what is means when new parents say they are running on their 5,6,7 wind as currently I am on about my 10th wind. Honenstly if I was to be any more that on a 45 degree slant I will fall asleep. I expected the sleep deprivation, tiredness during the day that you apparently power through but when your at that point its harder than I imagined. I have a few times for my lunch break hopped in the car and set the alarm on my mobile to give me 25 minutes sleep. Its amazing how much better I feel after a small snooze. Gee the Mexicans are onto something. It is lovely when people at work can see I am feeling and looking shot they are encouraging, occasionally walk into my office with a large skinny late - extra shot.
Hope everyone is well.
Entries in September 2010
Posted by Benjamin J, 24/09/2010, 01:56 PM
Oscar is now almost 7 weeks old. It is amazing how much personallity he has at such a younge age and how much more defined he looks. It has been a laugh watching him after 4 weeks trying to suck on his hand but doing it too sucessfully, now he can shove it in straight away. I love sometimes when he has fed he's wide awake. I'll sit him up with him bottom on my lap and his body along my legs. He makes these adorable noises when we talk to him. I really love when his whole face lights up with a smile.
Being a father is the best thing that has ever happened. My wife and I love more than we ever knew possible. I get a sence now of how you can have 2, 3 maybe more kids. Although I dont think that is too likely.
We are heading to the in-laws over the weekend who have fallen in love with little Oscar who has brightened them up. Almost a lease on life. Being a Nanna and Poppa seems to have given them a purpose in life. Simply beautiful.
However my own parents are nothing more than a nusense. As they had me really very young and are more friends than parents the relationship with them has become very odd. It feels we are there for them rather than them for us. As if we have now become interesting. Having a child should be a loving caring thing, not why aren't you home we have come to see Oscar, we drove 1 1/2 hours to see my grandson where are you.
It makes me appreciate the in-laws more than ever. I suppose we all have the "days of our lives" section of our families. Well mine is my own folks.
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