[Solved] Fatherhood Depression
I have never used a forum before or even thought of it as a medium for support but lately I feel that I need something more than "just get on with it" as my behaviour is clearly having an effect on myself, my wife and if not changed could have an effect on my kids.
I have two children, one at 2 years old and the other less than 1 year old, both children fit and healthy, the older is what I think is quite smart for his age, well behaved... For the most part apart from the outbursts, has manners and is over all a normal boy. My youngest is going through teething and quite content. My wife is loving, understanding and patient, alot more patient than I am and loves our children. I have a good job even through the pandemic which has not had an effect on income so.... Why do I feel so trapped, lost, angry, stressed and just overall depressed?
I would never hit my wife or kids NEVER! bit there are times when I feel like screaming (not at anyone, just screaming for release). It can be something simple like a small outburst which which may last 10 minutes whish is of course expected from children (I would tell someone who is telling me what I am typing "what do expect? It is a child" but it is more than that.
Today I left the house, just to get a break and in the car I felt like crying, I could feel myself well up and I havent felt like that since my father passed away and felt stupid. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and feel that I can't keep going on.
My wife and I don't have "our" time anymore and I'm not even just meaning sexual because we do occasionally but just as in time to ourselves. We are always taking turns on who does the feeding, the changing, the naps, the cooking, the cleaning.... Its a never ending cycle of tasks and we have what would appear to be a very good routine. My wife, I feel she should feel worse as she does most if not all the nighttime wakings, I am consciously aware she should feel worse with a lack of sleep than I do but it doesn't seem to affect her as much as me.
I feel more and more that I just wish I didn't exist, it's not even that I would like the freedom to enjoy myself, just simply to not exist. Has anyone else ever felt like this?
It would be easy for me to go into a lot of detail to respond, however in a nutshell I think we have all been there in some way.
However, whilst I'm no expert, what you are describing are some of the examples of the impact of Covid. The lack of child care means you do not get time to talk to your partner. The lack of physical contact with other people means you are unable to explain and express what is going on in your head and how you are feeling.. But also others cannot pick up on the cues from you thst something is wrong and offer support. This leads to bottling up etc.
It can get overwhelming hence feeling like screaming and crying.
The best advice I can give is to talk to someone about it. Ideally your partner would be a good first step. Your GP will also be a good place but again the Covid impact there is that GPs are busy with the vaccine roll out. However, do make contact with them.
Alternatively, there are a lot more mens support groups now available which are very open, welcoming and a place to talk.
Lastly, are you looking after your health? Physical fitness? Daily exercise? Mindfulness? Diet? All of which help with your mental health too..
Feel free to engage on this forum, everyone is very supportive and has helped me massively.
Sounds like you have a good family and you've done well to take the 1st step to seek support and reach out.
All the best.
I would recommend some breathing exercises. should help get rid of built-up tension or frustrations. look up wim hof breathing on youtube. great stuff.
I think we have all been there. Even my ex has. I remember times when she has come to me to say she is struggling and just needs to get out of the house and have some alone time. It can be hard when there are two kids so young too.
If you haven't already, explain how you feel to your wife and if things seem to be getting on top of you, just go out for a walk or run to let off some steam. I know due to covid it is tough for you and your wife to get alone time or go out together. In time, things should improve when the kids are a little older.
Thank you for being open and honest about how you are feeling. It is not an easy thing to admit. I want to encourage you, that being a married partner of nearly 24 years, I have seen the effect that depression has had on my significant other, and I would really encourage you to get in contact with your GP and talk about some counselling and possibly anti depressants until you are feeling like your old self. My partner takes a very small dose each day and it keeps the chemicals in their brain balanced. It helps with your thinking and keeps you able to communicate with those closest to you. From reading your post, I can feel the respect and love that you have for your wife and children, it's tough being a parent sometimes to very young children, especially at the moment, ours are now 15 and 20! BUT there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please please talk with your wife, tell her how you are feeling, reassure her that it's not because of anything she has said etc, or that it's anything to do with the kids, but it's just where you are in your life at the moment. I would say that feeling upset, crying etc, is definitely not silly, it's normal when you are feeling like this. Did you receive any counselling when your dad died? It maybe that becoming a dad yourself and all the emotions that that entails has perhaps made you think of him more?
I would suggest that you sit down with your lovely wife when the little ones are asleep and get a piece of paper and a pen and try to write down how you are feeling. Perhaps also make a plan about making time - even if its only half an hour to begin with - of an activity you can both do together, like making a meal, watching a film, listening to music, etc, something that will relax you both and help you to connect.
It's about taking small steps, taking one day at a time, crying when you need to and showing your emotions where you feel safe and talking to someone you can trust. My partner has had a year of counselling and come through the other side. I now know what signs to look out for and what not to say! They have done so well and I am very thankful for the support they received from GP and a counsellor.
I hope this has encouraged you, sorry it's so long, but I believe with the correct support, and your amazing wife you will be able to enjoy your family again and life too. Take care, Kind regards, Fegans PSV