Part of my goal with Dads With Depression is to encourage Dad’s (and anyone else affected) to write in with their experiences battling the fog and, with their permission, repost them here for others to read, share and comment on.
The following story is a message I received via the Contact page this week:
“I suffer from Bipolar and have had 2 severe manic episodes in the last 5 years. One where I have been as high as a kite and ended up in hospital and last year I had the opposite where I wanted to end it all.
Last year was the darkest place I have ever been in my mind and on both occasions I have had to haul myself up back to some kind or normal existence.
I have found solace in yoga, my psychologist and psychiatrist and music.
I have been on a journey of “discovery” trying to ensure I look after my health and well being for myself but also for my wife and my two young daughters who mean the world to me.
I’m still coming to terms with the passing of my mother just before xmas (70 years old). I also feel like I’m at a cross roads in life as I hit 40 next year. I feel very lost as I try to loose site of who I have defined myself as over the last 10 years work wise and be open to other pathways that are opening up.
Being a father and trying to be a provider I do feel like a failure in my efforts so far….although I do think I’m a good dad:-). I am always very open that I have Bi-Polar and don’t hide in shame and rather talk openly.I don’t actually regret the experiences I have gone through with my mental health as I now truly understand how I tick and who I am…that’s been a real journey and I’m wide open now in my life, more then I ever have to try and live the life as the real me.
Often mental health bouts that really knock you over seem to provide lessons to learn from and build on. I have had bouts of severe Anxiety which I went to the doctor about when I knew something wasn’t right. I have strategies that help me overcome a panic attack when it comes on.
Bipolar is a gift and a curse but it’s very miss understood… it’s the invisible disease. I’ll sometimes be shattered at the end of the day when times are rough due to the mental battles I’m often having to wrestle with my mind during my day.
My wife has been very supportive but to her own admission doesn’t understand mental health. I often find it very hard to explain to her what it’s like when you loose your mind and the fog comes over. You wake up and feel like crap for no reason what so ever.
We often hide (our emotions) and pretend everything is ok, but that’s when the danger strikes. It is clearly very hard to try and tell the difference to not being mentally well and the daily struggles/pressures of life where we can feel “down”.
You will know the difference, but how can that be explained so others can relate, I think this is so key to helping others.”