Many of my friends will know that it’s been a tough year; from seeing my newborn head to NICU and my wife rushed off to surgery, to a cancer scare, to the last few months of back problems leading to a osteopenia diagnosis. Those friends however, are probably not aware that I have also been battling with depression.
I’ve been in and out of doctors and had numerous tests at the hospital, but somehow in my head, the taboo behind mental health stopped me expressing my concerns. Instead, the cave man gene took over and I struggled day to day keeping up an illusion for friends and family. I kept looking at my beautiful family and at my life, and just couldn’t understand why I felt like this.
Every morning, I’d battle with my mind trying to find the motivation to do even the most medial tasks such as getting washed and dressed. I cannot tell you the amount of times I got dressed for work but didn’t make it out of the door. I felt constantly tired, I couldn’t seem to turn my mind off and I simply couldn’t face people.
I thought that I was being strong, until one morning, my wife stopped me, cuddled me and said ‘I think you need to get some help’. On reflection, I now realise that I was being strong in admitting that I couldn’t keep it up and that I needed help to pull me out of the quicksand. So I rang the doctors made the appointment and sought help. The meeting with the doctor was a big release just hearing myself talk of how I was struggling and how overwhelmed I felt. I have to admit I was fighting back the tears and found myself choking up. I remember the doctor saying ‘you are broken mentally and physically, but the good news is we will fix you’. Hooray!
Being self-employed in a physical job with the pressures of existing work, tending for new work, financial commitments, constant back pain and lack of sleep, had left me broken. It’s heartbreaking not being able to fulfil your role properly, especially given the expectation of home life and how important it is to the children. I’m also a keen runner and enjoy the freedom and peace it brings. Being unable to do this has also been a contributing factor to my health.
Hopefully, I’m now on the road to recovery and I know with the love and support of those closest to me I will conquer the stumbling blocks in my life.
So finally, be brave, do not be ashamed, it is not a show of weakness to ask for and accept help, talk to those you love but equally sometimes it might be easier to talk to a complete stranger. To borrow what someone recently said to me, “Always look for the light on the dark days”.
I hope this helps even just one person. It’s certainly helped me.