Looking after your family when you are struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health problems can be an absolute nightmare and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.
Can it be done? This is a question I often asked myself during my times of struggle and honestly there were many times I said “No, it’s not possible” or “I can’t cope anymore” and this was because I wasn’t taking care of myself which was ultimately my downfall.
At MINT we are huge advocates of self worth and self love, something that most men find impossible to do. Luckily for me my partner is one of the best mothers I have ever seen and she does absolutely everything for/with my two little girls but when I went through my real dark times I found it super difficult to juggle work, family and everything swirling around my head. Working 12 hour days coming home to my family felt like a chore, it felt like I had a second job which ultimately being a parent is but I was getting angry with the things they were doing more than I should have been and trying to hide away from day to day dad jobs.
Once they were in bed I would resent myself for not being nicer and giving more cuddles and I would promise myself that tomorrow would be different. But low and behold each day was the same. This would then take its toll on my partner who picked up the slack and compensated for my lack of love so to speak. This then inevitably caused problems in our relationship as it was only a matter of time until she burnt out. Don’t get me wrong, my love for these three girls is unquestionable but it was myself and how I was being that was the issue.
As men we don’t speak about our struggles and I myself couldn’t speak to anyone close to me out of shame and embarrassment, out of fear that if I told my parents or partner that all they would do is constantly worry about me and where I was and what I was doing. But after years and years of feeling alone I eventually spoke out and told my partner and although she didn’t understand what I was going through she was there for me and that’s all I could ask of her, it’s all I could ask of anyone. This was a break through for me and I know it’s rather cliche but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was no longer in a hole on my own as I now had someone there with me helping me fight for my freedom and it felt amazing I felt weightless.
Eventually after beating my demons, losing friends, starting MINT and chatting with my team I found that my problem wasn’t that I was a bad dad or that I was unable to grasp parenting and my problems but it was in fact because I couldn’t administer the correct self care and instead allowed everything to build up until I crumbled. Like an old table, although we look like we can cope with day to day jobs we can only carry so much weight until we break and cannot perform as we are supposed to.
To enable us to look after those around us we need to ensure that we ourselves are working at 100% otherwise although you try there is only one ending to this story.
So take a break, love yourself and everything will fall into place because if you can’t do this for yourself how can we expect anyone else to?
#mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #DontManUpSpeakUp #ItsNotWeakToSpeak