I suppose my story is a lucky one in some ways. I am a relatively successful and fit 36 year old who has a great circle of friends and family. I work in financial services and am very active with sport, particularly cricket.
My beautiful baby girl was born 3 and a half years ago and I suppose that's when things really changed for me. I may have suffered with depression before then. As with many people there had been a few ups and downs in childhood and growing up but nothing to out of the ordinary and nothing that I did not feel I had not coped with. In fact I did and still do consider myself to be a relatively strong person.
Having previously suffered a miscarriage with a previous partner I reserved a lot of the normal pre baby excitement that many new expecting parents would feel. But as is the case with hindsight it is easy to see that things were not right.
I felt very little emotion when my little girl arrived
I felt very little emotion when my little girl arrived and my only real feeling was that work and income now took on a different meaning. Over the following year and a half I increasingly focused on work whilst not actually achieving anything above normal. I hid behind work instead of being involved with parenting and I became increasingly less supportive of my partner and increasingly more distant. On occasions I looked for other escape routes from the pain I was starting to find myself in.
My partner, no surprise, upped and left with my daughter. I basically encouraged her to leave almost as if to protect them from the person I had become and was relieved when this eventually happened. Although all the time I knew this was the last thing I wanted. I had no energy to prevent this or support her and started to feel increasingly bad.
I was lucky enough to see a councillor within a few days
Eventually after a few months of being free I realised that things were actually worse. Although it had been suggested to me to do this before it was only at the final ultimatum that I actually looked for help. Via work I had access to counselling and it took two minutes to sort. I was lucky enough to see a councillor within a few days and within ten minutes of speaking to the councillor she suggested I get some medical help.
I was able to see a doctor very quickly and was on meds within a day. The meds were difficult for a few days but as they began to work. With continuing upport from my partner and friends I soon began to find myself and to start to enjoy the simple things in life and even found myself laughing out loud again.
if I had not been so determined to be a man and be strong I may of been able to help my family sooner
The key element of my experience is that if I had not been so determined to be a man and be strong I may of been able to help my family sooner. And that would have been a much stronger thing to have done.
I knew I was not right but would only listen to a women I knew for ten minutes and not my partner and best friend who I had known for a lot longer and who knew me best. Some friends find it very difficult to understand what depression means and someone at work said we all have things to deal with!
So what is the difference? Work have been very understanding and I am now able to manage myself to stay well. I know my limits and although it is hard sometimes to say ‘no’, protecting myself helps the people I love a lot more.
I wish I had listened to the people around me sooner and not tried to ‘man up’
I wish I had listened to the people around me sooner and not tried to ‘man up’. There is a stigma attached to male depression especially male post natal depression but it is real and there is help available.
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