Depression? Or just annoyed?

It has been suggested by a few of my family and friends that I am clearly having a much harder time of fatherhood than they expected, again I wonder if they ever listened to a word I said, and maybe it is time to get some professional help.

It has also been pointed out to me that men also suffer from post natal depression and after researching it it seems that is true and the stats are quite high with one in ten men suffering as a result of a new born entering their life.

I’m only presuming that as I am in the minority of people that didn’t want kids in their life that a lot of these PND sufferers chose the life, they wanted to bring babies into their life and are still finding it difficult! So, as I didn’t chose it, then it stands to reason that I am even more likely to get it, doesn’t it?

I have bowed to peer pressure, something I seem to be doing a lot of recently, and have booked an appointment to see my doctor, I am sure I will let you know how this goes in another post, but, for now I wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out on why I am sceptical of the outcome of the doctors visit and any subsequent medication or counselling that he prescribes.

I do believe we live in a society that too readily labels mental health issues and depression can be heard so much more frequently than I had ever noticed before. It seems that you only have to step foot into a doctors surgery, tell him you are a bit low and bang, you are diagnosed as depressed. Before I get lynched I am not saying that depression doesn’t exist, if you have suffered from it then I feel for you, you have my upmost sympathy because from what I have read on the subject it is a living hell and I would never want to go through this. It does worry me that when so many people are diagnosed with anything that the genuine cases become diluted, almost as if it becomes the norm.

But isn’t there a difference between being depressed and just being unhappy?

From my previous posts you will know a few things about me by now:

A) I never wanted children but it had happened due to my partner not informing me of the full risk we were taking that night.

B) The decision to keep the child was made with very little input from me.

C) Since the baby was born I have only worked or helped with the baby except for one night which ended in disaster, so I am more tired than I have ever been.

The biggest factor here is that I have no control over any of it anymore. I have no control that I now have only one salary in the house and have to provide everything for my partner as well as my baby whilst she is at home or visiting friends and family. I have no control over the sleep I get or when it happens. I have no control over the amount of times the two families give us advice on what we are doing right or wrong or how jealous they get over the time they both spend with our new arrival.

I only have two options, I can stay with my partner and bring up our little boy to the best of my ability, this isn’t the life I wanted and I’m finding it hard to adjust, that was to be expected, but I do resent the fact that everything was changed without my knowledge so of course I’m going to get a bit upset when I have a screaming child when trying to get round the supermarket or trying to get him to sleep at night, or he is kicking off when I’m trying to talk to a cashier about a new account in the bank.

My second option is that I leave, walk away, but is that really an option? No, of course it’s not. If I do that then I am no longer with the woman I love, I don’t get to see my boy grow up, my family would probably disown me plus I would have no where to live! Not much of an option. It’s these lack of options that start the frustration.

I know I am ranting here and I apologise, I just want to get down in writing what goes through my head each day and why I do find it so hard.

People tell me daily it will get better, I am sure they are right, in fact i know they are, but I also know it will take time and just as one issue is sorted it there will be another and all of these issues are exactly why I chose not have have kids in the first place and therefore I get resentful for them.

So in summary, yes I am feeling down, yes I find it hard to adjust that my life was changed so drastically by someone else’s action but isn’t that to be expected? If someone changed your life so drastically when you had no knowledge of what they were doing wouldn’t it take a little bit of time for you to adjust? Wouldn’t you be a little angry and need space to sort things out in your head? I know that we have to work on getting out, spending time together and getting a break from time to time but that’s not as easy as it sounds as my previous posts show.

What I do know is that I love my boy so much, he is hard work but we are already seeing the rewards and this is where the confusion sets in, I love him so much but don’t, at the moment, love the life that comes with him, however I do know that it will get better and we are making plans to do that.

So am I depressed or just pissed off with the situation and need time to adjust? I would have thought that if I was depressed I wouldn’t have been able to see my way out of this but hey, what do I know? Let’s see what the doctor says! Will keep you informed!

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11 thoughts on “Depression? Or just annoyed?

  1. There are so many things in here I completely relate to. There are two big differences in our situations:

    – For a long time I didn’t want children either. Several years ago we were going through a rough patch and I decided that I would rather stay with my wife (who wanted children) than divorce in order to remain child-free. I committed to trying to have a child and to being a father even though part of me was happy if we were unsuccessful.

    – I am a stay-at-home dad. My career is as a freelance composer (with not a lot of financial success) so this was an obvious choice for us. Mostly I enjoy it, but you’re statement that you “love him so much but don’t, at the moment, love the life that comes with him” is very true for me too.

    I too dealt with depression. I never ended up going to a doctor, so it wasn’t terribly severe. For me it was feelings of frustration and apathy. I couldn’t bring myself to care about things that used to be important to me. This frustration and apathy led to a lack of motivation. Having had friends go through depressions I recognized these as early signs of a problem.

    One day I mentioned this to my wife and said that I needed to find a doctor. That same weekend we were visiting my parents and I had basically the same conversation with my mother. Both were supportive. I don’t have a regular doctor, so I began looking through our insurance rolls for a a therapist. I never did find one that I was comfortable visiting, so I never saw anyone and was never properly diagnosed.

    The act of verbalizing the problem was enough to help me develop new routines around the house so I could break out of the patterns that were becoming an issue.

    Today everything feels better and brighter (even with the gray stretch of weather here.)

    Hang in there.

  2. Hiya, having read this two things struck me straight away. The first is that you are resentful of your partner for putting you in this situation. Now, I can understand this, but this is an issue you need to work on because if you don’t it will eat at you continually and you will blame her forever for forcing this on you. Secondly, you mentioned getting upset when you are trying to do various things and your little man is kicking off. Unfortunately this is something that children do! They don’t want to do what we want to do. I have been in lots of situations where one of my children, usually Ben, has had some type of meltdown and lay screaming on the floor. As a parent you just have to deal with it. That child on the floor in Tesco? Probably mine! And one day will be yours too. You can’t get upset over it, ultimately it isn’t their fault, it is what children do. You can’t always expect your plans to go just the way you want. Sorry, I feel like I have really gone on tonight 🙂

    • Thanks as always for your feedback Emma. The two points are connected, I am aware that I need to sort out the issue of resentment, I do labour the point in my blog to get across why I feel the way I do but I know it was an accident and when I am on top of things, like today, I don’t even think about it. But when everything comes on top, like him kicking off, I aim my resentment at her but this is getting less and less, time is a great healer.
      Don’t worry about going on, I appreciate every comment that anyone puts on here.

  3. What you’re going sounds similar to how i felt when my eldest was born. Difference between you and me was that i really wanted Children… until it was born.

    I make no bones about it, i remember standing in the kitchen with the baby crying thinking “i’ve made the biggest mistake of my life… i don’t want this.” everyone told me it would be an amazing experience, that it was magical, and how lucky i was. Bollocks! i absolutely hated every single second of it. i was surrounded by other dads talking about what their baby was doing how they loved it, i thought it was just me, there must be something wrong.

    The baby would not stop crying, it wouldn’t sleep, it was always angry, you hear stories of a parent just losing their temper and committing infanticide, while i never entertained those thoughts i could totally understand it. I didn’t bond with the child, i was disinterested… i wanted my old life back. My wife was moody & depressed, i had to put on a brave face for her even though i was feeling exactly the same. After all my wife had 9 months of change to her life for men it’s like switching a light on and my own mother tells me i was no good with ‘change’ as a child.

    As my daughter she grew up things gradually changed, as she grew from baby to little person the bond started to happen. Interest in world around her meant all of a sudden i was of use, the fact she was sleeping and could start to communicate through some baby signing helped. Things are different now,

    However one thing i always make a point of openly telling new dads that i meet was how much i hated the first year of fatherhood. My wife will often tell me off saying i sound like i hate my daughters, that isn’t the case, i grew to love them. It’s a taboo that new dads never mention or too afraid to mention, you’ll be surprised how many others out of earshot of their other halves or over a beer say the same. What you’re doing with this blog is great it means that the many others who also feel like you can see they’re are not alone.

    • Thank you for being so candid with your reply, it helps so much. One of the things that goes through my head all the time is that I must be strange in some way for not finding every moment some sort of living fairy tale! I have had a few people now that have given, maybe not identical stories, but the despair and frustration is there in the contents. When I started this blog I said that there didn’t seem to be anyone that could relate and now I have found a handful of people that can, if I can just make one other person feel less isolated along the way then it’s all worth it.
      Thanks again for your refreshingly honest reply.

  4. I think it’s really good you can VENT. I see that at the time you are writing what you are maybe feeling at the time… But it almost levels out. I know my ex always thought he’d make a great dad. But in reality he was/is on of the worst. Again because his outlet was self distructive and distroyed our little family. I applaud you to vent. It can help sort out things. I can only tell you that even moms go nuts when kids wig out! But if you stay calm they will learn that they can trust that in you and your kid will be calmer around you. If they sence you are frustrated and/or stressed they will heighten their efforts because they think is their fault. Even if it is their fault they will run to you when they really need your help. IE: my Colt would freak out around his dad out of fear of getting hurt. In turn he’d get hurt because his dad would get so annoyed he’d punch the kid. Your think he would learn. I trained the other men in my sons life to stay calm when he goes crazy and after time he’d be much calmer around them and they enjoyed him more. The DAD never figured that out dispite me telling him. Now who does my son trust? My dad, my brother, my uncles and several friends. It does take time! I hope your days off help and you get some free time!

  5. It sounds like you are harboring a lot of resentment. Yes, your partner may not have told you of the risk of her birth control not being effective, and that’s a valid point to be upset about. Yes, you had every right to state your desires regarding keeping the child, but ultimately, as the mother, it was her choice. Now your child is here, and you need decide if you want to stay with your partner, and raise him together, or leave and raise him separately. You may need the help of a doctor or therapist in making that decision, but for your child’s sake, you need to sort it out.

    The last thing you want to do is raise a child that you wish you did not have. Because once that child gets a bit older, he will be able to sense that resentment, and he will respond to it. It sounds like you desperately want your old life back, and you admit to laying the blame on your partner. I’m no doctor, but it sounds like this goes deeper than just unexpected parenthood. In more than one post, you talk about no longer being in control of your life, and that you are angry for having that control taken from you. As a parent, I can tell you that the lack of control only gets worse. Eventually the child reaches school age, so now you must get them to and from school each day. Then the extra school activities, homework to help with, sickness, doctor visits, ER visits, taking time off from work to deal with the above things. As a parent, you have to accept that fact that your needs are now second in line to those of your child.

    I am not judging you, not in the least bit. My first child was not planned, and it took some adjusting on my part, I readily admit that. I am just being as honest with you, as you are in writing this blog.

    I know the first few months are not at all easy. Hell, the first year is not easy. I too have been on the receiving end of the mood swings, the shifting hormones, and sleepless nights with a crying child, while working a very stressful full time job. Nobody enjoys that, but it is a part of it, sometimes keeping a cool head is a task of Herculean proportions. As your child gets older, he will develop a sleeping and eating pattern, and you will (hopefully) get some rest. Best of luck!

    • Thank you for your feedback. I think there may be a couple of points they weren’t clear, firstly not being with the mum is not an option, I do hold resentment over the lack of choices I had but that is getting better daily. I love my boy and he will never know how I felt, the main reason I right this blog is so that I can get my thoughts out of my head and stop them spilling over into real life. I probably laboured the resentment a bit too much in the post but my aim was to show why I was annoyed and that time would heal this rather than needing to be diagnosed with depression

  6. Hi. Firstly, thx 4 following me. Secondly I read this and it struck such a chord. My posts ‘down to earth with a bump’ relay a difficult time accepting pregnancy then what I went thru when babe arrived. 4yrs on I’ve just been thru PND. I wrote my way thru it. With the help of an amazing cranial osteo. See post Magic Man. Get help, feel happier. Keep writing. Ur honesty will see u thru. Very brave post. Thank you. Emma

  7. So moved by this post, that I blubbed!
    I think all parents suffer from some form of resentment and days of despair. And those that say they dont are probably in denial!
    Having a baby that is planned is a challenge and a half, so having a baby that was not planned is bound to mess with your head. We planned our second child, and I love him desperately, but I still have days where I long for my own space, to feel like me again and not have so many responsibilities. I don’t feel guilty for saying that because I know that deep down, the majority of parents have felt the same at some point.
    I have to say that I totally agree that the health profession chuck the diagnosis “depression” around willy nilly these days. I suffered depression (real depression) when I was in my late teens (which I wish I could say was a few years ago!) It was awful, debilitating and not an experience I would wish upon anyone, but due to my age, they were reluctant to medicate me for it (thank goodness!!) and I was given counselling. This helped loads, I’ve not had a relapse since and feel completely in control. However, during and after giving birth to my first and second, I was almost treated like a risk to children because of this small period of my life where I had suffered depression. I understand the health professionals need to risk assess, recognise and treat post natal depression, but if I even said I’d cried or had a bad day, their faces screwed up and they were recommending anti-depressants. I was just having a bad day or two, I didn’t need the men in white coats calling!!
    You’re only human for feeling the way you do, but I have to say, from what I’ve read and from conversations, you’re what I call “good people”! You are a great dad and a great partner. You’re also an incredibly inspiring person for writing a blog with such heart felt honesty on what could be considered a taboo subject, but which so many dads, mums and parents will be able to relate to.
    Don’t beat yourself up Daddio. You’re alright 🙂

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