With ongoing public awareness of the increase in mental health problems in the U.K, and with frightening numbers of men committing suicide and growing campaigns for screening new dads. There is clearly a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
But what lies ahead in terms of help for those going into fatherhood who do choose to seek help for their problems? With little funding available for support groups the first port of call with depression is usually suggested to be the local GP. With a minimum waiting time of six months to speak to a professional, if you are suffering with depression or anxiety around the arrival of your child there will probably be little offer of anything more than drugs that can cause more problems in the long run.
Ironically there was a study funded by the pharmaceutical companies last year that concluded that more people who feel they may have depression should take antidepressants. But are medications that influence different chemicals in the brain to create a false sense of wellbeing really the only solution on offer? Sadly it seems that way.
You may be open enough to finding online support groups but then be overwhelmed in finding the experience of others walking the road you are facing as an expectant dad. The weight of the job ahead, and seeing that every parents situation is different, because every baby is not the same, can bring only more anxiety and fear. Many new dad’s feel alone with the pressures they face as all the focus is on mum, as it should be. Never the less, we face our own stresses and concerns. We can be closed books at the best of times, it can be difficult enough to reach out for help.
Men more than ever need to be present in the lives of their pregnant partners and newborn babies. Becoming overwhelmed by fears and anxieties during the pregnancy only adds extra pressure on a pregnant woman. An unstable emotional state in dad can bring problems and complications to mum’s health and that of the baby she is carrying. awareness of what is in front of us as new fathers is vital to the health of our families.
The solution to depression in expectant fathers needs to be solved – fast. Women cannot be left to face the pressures of early motherhood alone. We fathers need to be emotionally present for the event. Not disconnected and lost in thoughts and fears.
Depression is simply a symptom of suppressed fear and resentment. We have emotionally reacted to events in the stream of life and stuffed down the negativity we experience. Like our fears and concerns around parenthood. This negativity culminates and creates and internal conflict. Big events or small events it makes little difference. They both have the same ability to disrupt something within us. suppression then creates the feelings you cannot shake under the surface and the thoughts you struggle with.
When these conflicts take hold we lose consciousness. It’s as if we fall asleep to the world around us as our awareness becomes shadowed by negative thoughts and worries. Self pity and doubt takes the place of a natural intuition. The more we suppress our problems, the more disconnect we feel to the people and situations in front of us. The less we are able to face life with courage. There has to be a way to safely face the trials life. And there is.
Recovering from depression, wether lost in the fears around becoming a dad for the first time, or going into fatherhood already suffering years of conflict within yourself is not the arduous mountain climb you would expect it to be. All it takes is a return to consciousness. Back to a place of neutrality where you are able to be present, free from negative thoughts and emotions. To reawaken to the now. Where life is happening and you are needed more than ever.
Now this isn’t a sales pitch. The solution I point to is completely free and available to anyone. No matter how much you may be suffering
Non contemplative meditation is like no other exercise out there. Through a simple practice we can observe thoughts and emotions. In the meditative state, there comes the natural ability to observe negativity without becoming overwhelmed. As suppressed negative emotions are expelled, suddenly meeting stress is no longer the cause of suffering. Because without hanging on, and being affected by the emotional pull of the events we have to face each day, we begin to build resilience.
Courage replaces fear and we are free to become the men of support our partners need, and the fathers our children deserve to have as they begin their own journeys into this turbulent world.
Life is never going to be easy, but neither should it break us from the inside out. If you are in desperate need of help, here it is. You don’t need to suffer in silence.
You really don’t need to suffer at all.