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Thread: Post-Natal Depression

  1. #1
    Mostly Me Lucio's Avatar
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    Post-Natal Depression

    Wanted to share something that happened to me late last year, as it's not something a lot of dad's talk about, or at least not that I've really been able to find mentioned.

    Post-Natal Depression

    You might think that I'm going to talk about my partner's experiences with it, but this isn't the story, this is about what happened to me.

    When our little one was born, my partner and I wanted to try and do things right, split the child care duties so that whilst I was back at work, I'd come home, and give her a break and a chance for some me time. Seemed managable at first, we'd switch over around 1am, I'd sleep for about 5-6 hours and go to work. My partner would nap during the day when he slept, and also sleep from about 7pm till 1am, so we'd both be getting about the same amount of sleep.

    It worked pretty well to start with, helped by a child who fairly quickly got used to the idea of sleeping when the lights were out, and only asking for 2 feeds during the night.

    Then one evening, I don't quite know what happened, but he was crying and crying and I couldn't get him to stop and something snapped. I screamed, full volume at the poor little man, and for just a split second, thought about hurling him across the room. It was the most terrifying moment of my life.

    We all think that we're supposed to be able to cope with it all, the plan seemed logically solid after all, we'd both get sleep, and 6 hours a night isn't that different from what you get if you're up gaming or watching videos.

    What I hadn't realised is that I was actually starting to suffer from post-natal depression since he'd come home, that whilst my rational mind was all focused on the practical, I hadn't really processed that actually, I was a dad, this was my child, who lived and died by what I did for him.

    The first thing I did in the morning was went straight to the Dr's, talked to them and asked for help, which obviously meant anti-depressants and a referal to social services. I'll admit, that the mediciation did help, because it helped stabilise the turmoil I was feeling, how much I hated myself for feeling the way that I did, even though it was just that one moment. The worst part came though when I started to realise that I resented my little boy for existing, that every time he looked at me, I felt he was so sad for having such a waste of space for a father. Took me a while to realise that actually, he was mirroring my expressions, that I was sad, so he was copying me without really understanding what it meant.

    From there, I managed to eventually get help, though given the beleagued state of the mental health systems in this country, that took some fighting. Not helped by social services initially imposing a restriction that I shouldn't be left alone with him, which put a lot of pressure on my partner and her support network, and then them loosing the paperwork so that when I started to get over the initial black period, I still couldn't get back into a routine.


    I suppose the main reason for writing this all down, nearly 9 months after it happened, is so that other dads realise that, these things do happen, not everyone is a perfect parent no matter how much they look like they've got their rubbishrubbishrubbishrubbish together.

    Men in general, and Dad's in particular, need to remember that in the end, we have to accept that we feel things, and even if they're bad feelings, if we don't talk about them from time to time, then you explode.

    (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/)
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    This is bunny and friends. He is fed up waiting for everyone to help him out, and decided to help himself instead!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Thank you so much for sharing Lucio, it's hugely brave of you. I got so far as drafting my own mental health story.. but wasn't brave enough to hit 'post'. Kudos.

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    Old and VERY grumpy. g8ina's Avatar
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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Well said, and thank you for posting. I also had that feeling, just once, with our first son. That was 35+ years ago, and there was no support as such, just my missus, who was amazing (at that time).

    I just hope any other Dads out there who may have similar trouble will act as you did.

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Thanks for being brave enough to speak up. Mental health is something that a lot of people (I think particularly males, who tend to feel that they should just stiff upper lip their way through things) struggle to speak about.
    Quote Originally Posted by OilSheikh View Post
    You do realize that when I say things like that I don't mean it literally or what can be backed by stats.

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    I really don't care Dashers's Avatar
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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Being a parent is really, really tough. Even if you're lucky and have a good-as-gold baby, you still need a mountain of patience.

    I suspect my wife and I are regularly dipping in and out of depression at 6 months. I can't see how you cannot experience that.

    Babies can be infuriating - I don't think there is anything wrong with experiencing that emotion of anger. How you handle anger is important though, obviously you have to be able to restrain yourself from doing any damage.

    What I'm finding a real stuggle is switching worlds. I dread going home and having to deal with the intensity of being a dad. At the end of the weekend, I don't want to leave and go back to work. That said, I'm so grateful to be the working partner. I know I wouldn't be able to handle looking after a baby all day every day.

    I love my baby to bits, I do absolutely wonder if it was the right decision, and I do absolutely think about how easy life was before. I do absolutely get angry at the crying, and feel tearful at the umpteenth time I've had to walk around the house bouncing in the middle of the night whilst humming random TV themes in a desperate attempt to stop the screaming.

    There is also a monumental amount of social and peer-pressure to "do things right". You get publicly judged if you're not breast-feeding, or not following a certain style of parenting. What's even worse is, we know that actually we're following "the book" a lot more than most parents but we just have the audacity to admit it.

    I was amazed at how much "face" there is around parenting. It's tough, and it's ok to talk to each other about it and just despair at how impossible things can seem.

    Identifying depression can be tricky, it's great that you spotted it and dealt with it. Anti-depressants aren't great, nor a "fix" but they do give you a reprise and your mind a chance to heal itself.

    Really sucks about social services - you can understand why people don't approach them.

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Glad you are on the mend.

    Unfortunately depression is an 'unseen condition' that affects everyone to varying degrees, and tends to pass below the radar, until things go pear shape. I remember reading somewhere ago that we all suffer at least two mini breakdowns each year.

    More help, understanding and support is is still needed. I glad you realised it for what it was and was able to seek help, even if it was totally adequate.

    Wishing you and all your family more happy and stress free times ahead.
    Deo Adjuvante non Timendum

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    I would just chime in to advise that antidepressants do help, even if just short-mid term, and you can always try another one. Don't be afraid to approach your GP if you've been down for, like, a month or more. or less.
    : n(baby):n(lover):n(sky)|>P(Name)>>not quite

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Thinking about this further, I think you should report your doctor for referring you to social services. It seems in the context of what you have said it was an entirely inappropriate way to deal with mental health issues. You did not do anything bad, just had an urge which was controllable. I would consider having the doctor reported as that sort of attitude to mental health is one of the major problems we are facing as a society. Doctors must absolutely be at the forefront of a mature and understanding attitude towards mental health issues.

    You could say the social services overreacted too, but they seem to be largely risk adverse bureaucrats, which is more understandable given some of the situations they have to deal with.

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Dashers View Post
    Thinking about this further, I think you should report your doctor for referring you to social services.
    Child safe-guarding rules are incredibly clear, any time there's a *risk* to a child, it must be shared with the multi-disciplinary team. My GP wasn't to know that they'd lose the records twice before coming to a conclusion.

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    This is bunny and friends. He is fed up waiting for everyone to help him out, and decided to help himself instead!

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Still sounds like the ball was dropped somewhere, and should be investigated.

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Being a Dad is hard.... v v hard.

    good post Lucio, thank you

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    Re: Post-Natal Depression

    Thanks for sharing... I've been dealing with depression for 3 years now, 2 of which was unknowingly before things fell apart 3 times within 6 months.

    So yeah, stiff upper lip nonsense doesn't work and the UK is probably the toughest place to be when dealing with that because of the cultural preference for solitude and privacy.

    Would you be OK if we used this thread to talk about our experience with therapy and other methods of dealing with depression, along with sharing our stories as well?

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