Sleep deprivation – it’s all a part of the job

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. The victim is forced to stay awake. And without sleep, the victim’s mind slowly snaps.

Welcome to parenting guys!

One of my biggest concerns about the babies coming home was sleep deprivation. I don’t do tired well – at all! I can’t meditate properly, I become restless, irritable, and grouchy. I’m no fun to be around. And I hate feeling that way.

Our trio were born at 33w 3d. So, for a short while, they just fed and slept. I remember smugly reporting to a workmate how cruisy the baby deal may be. Then, around the 40w mark, they realised they were out. They woke up and found their lungs. And sweet Jesus, could they make some noise!

Then, with my wife breastfeeding, I was able to get some sleep in the early evening. But it didn’t last long. I was needed. Then, one night, my wife fell asleep feeding a baby. It’s dangerous to do so. So, from then on, I had to keep my wife awake while she fed. That’s every three hours. Roughly half an hour per baby. That’s an hour and a half sleep between feeds. Trying to get back to sleep once I was awake wasn’t easy. Especially with hoover noises playing on YouTube to settle them back down.

I became a zombie. I went past the stage of being agitated. I was in a state of slow meltdown. My head hummed with a low-level vibration. I had to work full time as a welder in a physical job. I honestly didn’t think I was going to survive my family. I used to sit in my car crying when I got home from work. Knowing that when I walked through the door, it was my turn to take over. It was tough beyond anything I had ever experienced.

Before the storm

But I had to remind myself of the bigger picture. I had become a father. And rule one, as I realised, was that there were going to be sacrifices. Okay, temporarily losing my mind was a shock to the system, but my wife needed me. She was dealing with them all day whilst I was at work.

So I tried to make the most of my situation. And I did that by bonding with my girls. I used to wear earplugs so I could stay calm on my shifts. This, in turn, calmed them down. I took over doing the baths and played them my favourite music. I sang to them and talked to them because they had become my world. And the more I bonded, the more I accepted the insane cards I had been dealt.

I had to let go of the resentment that I was feeling. It would have only damaged my relationship with them.

It did get easier once they dropped their feeds. And I got my mind back. Life just changed, but it was one hell of an experience. One that I look back on with a sense of achievement. I overcame the pressures I faced and did what I had to do for my daughters. And it’s an experience all dad’s must go through.

As was said to me by a fellow triplet dad when I aired my early concerns on a Facebook group, “You’ll sleep when you’re dead.”

Here’s a link to the meditation that helped me deal with the pressures of new fatherhood.

https://theseeapp.com/

The ‘See’ meditation app is available

As you know, I write a lot about my experience with non contemplative meditation. It has been a staple in my life for the last 10 years.

It is now available to download to your device for free. There will be a subscription once it’s been fully developed later in the year, but the YouTube version and full exercise on Danny’s website will always be free and always be available.

This is an incredible practice. The app has a 15, 10, and 5 minute guided exercise. It is simple to use and is a way to build resilience to stress from an awakened state; a state of conscious awareness. This really is a life changing practice, unlike anything else available.

So get started and begin a new journey. You won’t regret it.

https://theseeapp.com/

Breaking the cycle of generational anger

Most of us are born into some sort of dysfunction. Stress is a given after we arrive. And as we grow, the imperfections we see in the people around us and the injustices of the world get into us. Resentment – a force as real as gravity or light pierces us and starts feeding something dark within. Children born into instability, addiction, or abuse are especially affected in this way.

This metaphysical phenomenon creates a deep conflict in us. Where we should be experiencing love and forgiveness, it becomes impossible to do so. We become driven by emotions as the pressures of life tip us off balance. We become anxious, judgmental, and self-absorbed. And life is no longer laid out as an adventure that we are built up to deal with. Instead, it becomes a painful trudge. Seeking relief from an itch, we can not scratch.

It’s impossible not to harbour resentment and not suffer. My mental health problems, destructive lifestyle, and alcoholism were direct results of the resentment and anger that bubbled under the surface from childhood. And it’s not just mental health that takes a hit from anger. Stress eats away at the immune system, and anger is the direct cause of health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s a killer. Litteraraly.

So, the question is, what to do about this spiritual dysfunction that creates so much emotional instability in your life. No one can overcome it through self will. You can not force it out of yourself as much as you can manage it. It’s bigger than you and beyond your control. Suppressing it further is a very, very bad idea.

As the saying goes, ‘A spiritual problem requires a spiritual solution’.

Breaking the cycle of generational anger and resentment isn’t as difficult as you may think. Ending the line of spiritual dna that has brought pain and suffering to those who came before you can be done. But it takes a commitment to a simple daily practice. We’re talking 20 minutes out of your day. Specifically on awakening and before bedtime.

You no longer have to be bonded to a spirit of judgment and hate, and your children can walk a different path. A spiritual liberation from anger is an incredible experience. It is then just a case of remaining awake – conscious. In doing so, we build resilience to stress with spiritual protection against the force of resentment. It no longer affects us as it once did. Mental and physical health naturally regulates, and we become neutral to the pull of emotions. We become human once more.

Non contemplative meditation is a way to connect to a supernatural force of light. It fills the body expelling darkness and awakens the practitioner to a state of God-consciousnes; and it happens fast. I know, this all sounds a little wild. But I can tell you now. Beginning and continuing this meditation for the last ten years has been the start of a new generational story for myself and my family. There is only a spirit of patience, tolerance, and love in my life. Grounded by the highest principle.

Here’s a link to the free, non religious meditation exercise. Just 10 minutes twice a day is enough. If you do choose to begin this path. Buckle up.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

To give is real love

After I finally recovered from alcoholism and met Stacey and Frankie, I had a real conscious sense of purpose. Looking back at a life of drink, drugs, failed relationships, and absolute carnage, I knew my future had to look very different.

The purpose I felt was a responsibility to others.

Back in New Zealand, when I hit my first rock bottom and struggled to stay sober, being mentally and spiritually crushed by a self-imposed crisis. I one day met a woman in recovery who offered to show me a way out of alcoholism and insanity.

She took me into her home with her family and gave me every ounce of time because she didn’t want me to die an alcoholic death. She knew the solution and knew there was hope for me. She helped me recover over the following weeks and asked for nothing in return.

That woman showed me what unconditional love was for another human being – no matter how far they had fallen. She stressed the importance of putting others before myself in order to live well going forward. If I were to survive, I had to live with an altruistic spirit, loving others without expectation: simply because it was right to do so.

I never forgot the patience and love she offered to a broken, anger driven alcoholic. She saved my life through her own sacrifice. That was real love, I understood at depth the importance of the lesson I learned from her.

Years later, when I met my future wife. I knew the principles I had to take into that relationship. I had to be willing to give of myself. To put hers and Frankie’s needs before my own. By doing so, I discovered my purpose in life. To love others without conditions or expectations.

Being a father, first to Frankie, then the triplets, has become the most important role I will ever have in this lifetime. Being a support for my wife and leading my family with love patience and tolerance is my job now. It doesn’t mean I disregard myself. My well-being and growth are vital to being a strong, reliable, stable presence in their lives.

My sense of purpose is clear. And cemented further with each day as my children grow and our lives change with the seasons. And I will never forget the lesson I learned from that kind woman in Christchurch – New Zealand. In putting others first , we discover the true meaning of life.

No easy ride

Let’s face it, parenting multiples never gets any easier. There are constant challenges as they grow and develop.

My wife found the baby phase relatively easy and enjoyable. She was breastfeeding, and although absolutely exhausted, she was in her element of new motherhood; not phased by the stress we were under. Whereas I, on the other hand, struggled, especially in the first six months. I was overwhelmed at times with sheer exhaustion from home life and a full-time physical job as a welder. I was a first-time Dad and drowning in the deep end.

But it wasn’t without sublime moments of absolute love and bliss. I eventually found my groove, and we became a solid team. I  was hands-on from day one and did everything I could to support my family through a traumatic time of adjustment and stress.

But it soon became apparent that being parents of triplets took every ounce of focus and time. There was no more free time in our marriage. We lived in a bubble of structure and routine. We worked together, and any free time was split by giving each other time out alone – just to get a break. It was tough going, and it took commitment and dedication to the cause.

It took time and work to reconnect as a couple again. To be in a marriage and not just being co-workers for a bunch of demanding, fighting, tyrannical toddlers. But through discipline, patience, and love, they have grown, for the most part, into good girls. They are kind (sometimes), caring (occasionally), and fun to be around.

My wife and I tend to take it in turns to hit walls as life goes on as parents. My wife is finding this stage more challenging, whereas I’m enjoying it more. They’re not always naughty at the moment, but they are relentless in their energy, their questions, and their wanting horsey rides and attention. They take a great amount of patience. I love their conversations, stories, and tales.

My wife and I bring different strengths to the table with each new stage. My patience is helping at the moment, and my wife’s organisational skills are nothing short of miraculous. We are working with a small house. It takes planning to adapt it as the girls get bigger. I would struggle to imagine what she does to make it work.

I often wondered during the tough times when it would get easier. I’ve since given up that fantasising. Because I live in the reality of our situation. And in the stress and pressure I have realised that there are going to be no breaks. No days off. I have been given the path of fatherhood, and in that responsibility, I have been set on a path of sacrifice, personal development, and growth. It’s my job to strengthen from stress. To improve as a man with the greatest job a man could ever have. And my attitude means everything.

No meddles for fatherhood

Most men work hard for their families. At least the majority of men I have known and worked with. They are not living the life they desire or putting their wants and needs first. They are physically giving it their all, day after day without complaint, to provide a comfortable life for those under their roof.

New dads especially feel the weight of the responsibility on them while adapting to a new life. Yet, most are left to struggle without support or advice. My own experience mirrored this as a new dad to three babies. It’s why I began writing this blog. I thought that by sharing my experience, it could at least start the conversation  with others in the same boat. And raise some awareness about the reality of what men go through. Because even if women are not that interested, our sacrifices and pressures are very real. And knowing we are not alone is important. Certainly, when we can feel so  apart from the experience.

All eyes are on Mum from day one. Throughout the pregnancy and from the birth. They are supported firstly by the hospitals and sometimes womens groups, then by health visitors and usually other women, friends, and family. And rightly so. They experience massive trauma, physically and mentally, as they go through the wringer from bringing a child into this world.

Feeling the love

Sadly, a lot of men lack the same support. For the most, we are left to figure it out for ourselves. From the day of the scan when three heartbeats were first discovered. It became apparent quickly that I was on my own to deal with the situation. At the following appointments, all questions were aimed at my wife. I wasn’t spoken to or asked any questions. As much as I wanted to be involved, I felt very much pushed to the sidelines and ignored. It was a lot to deal with mentally, but I did the best I could without complaining to remain calm and stable for my wife.

It wasn’t until the girls were born and I was sitting in the NICU one morning that a nurse came and sat next to me and asked me how I was doing. I immediately bagan to tell her about how Stacey was coping. The nurse cut me off mid sentence and asked again, “No,” she said, “How are you managing?”. It was the first and only time I was asked that question by a professional. And I poured my heart out to her. She listened intently and absolutely understood my concerns and pressures, from dealing with a high-risk pregnancy to becoming a biological father for the first time. And I remember the release I felt. No one needed that conversation more than me at that moment. That little bit of understanding meant a lot to me during such a turbulent time.

It’s tragic that men come to resent the situation of new fatherhood, but understandable in the context of how separated we can feel from our own families. We get little or no time off after the birth to bond with the newborns. We are for the most already mentally on edge after dealing with the pregnancy. Then again, after babies come home and we have to deal with the pressures of sleep deprivation and work.

Under pressure

If you are in this situation right now, I want you to know that you are not alone. And that you will pull through despite the weight you are under. You may not get any credit for the job you are doing, and don’t expect to get any. It’s just the way it is.  But don’t let this discourage you. Keep your head up for your kids and support your partner with what she is going through. Put their needs first and take time for yourself when you can. Even if it’s just to take the dog for a walk to clear your head. Watch for resentment and self-pity. These are traps that will just amplify problems that you are already dealing with.

Online dads groups are a great place to open up and find support whatever your situation. I found strength, laughter, and friendship in some of those groups. As much as women stick together, we men must do the same. We take the brunt of the stresses at home and must stay strong. And keep in mind the bigger picture. We are fathers, and a part of that role is to bring stability during times when there is chaos. Carry your suffering with purpose and with patience and love, which as men, we all must do. Join an online fathers group where you can vent and be understood. There is a higher principle in this universe, and your works are not going unnoticed.

If you are stressed to the point that it is affecting your family and your mental health. I will leave the link to a free meditation exercise that will give you all you need to deal with the pressures you are facing. This simple observation practice got me through the first five years of dealing with life with triplets. Just 10 minutes twice a day is enough.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

A mans sacrifice

As men, we are living to constant expectations. And it takes a certain attitude to maintain what is expected of us. In fact, we need to work hard to constantly improve ourselves for the sake of our partners and children. We are relied upon in order to fulfil our roles. And there is little gratitude or acknowledgement for the work we put in. We simply have to earn our place in the world or become obsolete. This is a Mans sacrifice.

So what happens if life throws something at us that is too big to handle. Maybe a chronic health condition knocks us off the path we are expected to walk. We may lose our ability to support our families the way we were able to. Situations like this can crush a man. It can leave us feeling less than. And worse of all, we can lose the respect of those who rely on us. Because we are expected to provide. And when we lose our ability to do that. What is left?

I’ve been through this myself over the last five years. And didn’t fully realise the extent of how much it had affected me until recently. Having come out of the other side of depression and frustration at the forced changes I and my family have had to go through.

I am the main provider in my family. From getting sober and meeting Stacey, I went at life with a new attitude and purpose. Because I believe that it was my job to take the weight and responsibility of being a provider. I worked hard as a structural welder. A physical job job that I worked bloody hard at. I knew what was expected of me to give my wife and daughters a good life.

So, after the car accident in 2018, the rug was ripped out from under me. Within months of developing Central Pain Syndrome and Occipital Neuralgia, I lost my position at home. I could no longer provide or even be fully present in the lives of my family. Chronic, around the clock nerve pain consumed me. I couldn’t even walk my dog around the block.

I had to give up my job as a welder, and full-time employment was no longer a possibility for me. My wife no longer had the man she married, and the pressures on me became immense. My condition was incurable.

Accepting charity to feed my children in the beginning absolutely destroyed me. I felt nothing but guilt and shame. I hated myself. Because the one thing I had to do as a man with a family I could no longer achieve. I had let them down. There were times they had to step past me whilst i was curled up on the floor in pain flare ups. How could they still respect me?

The depression I sank into only fuelled the feelings of separation I felt with my wife. She needed me to find a way out. But the more I learned about the condition, the more I had to accept it was permanent. It was tough for both of us. But I had to fight. I couldn’t give up. Because If I did, it would have been the end of my marriage.

So, I began to work to the best of my ability. My boss gave me a new part-time roll that I could manage. I accepted that I needed medications and began working with a pain clinic. Most importantly, I gave up my anger and resentment and dropped the self-pity. I slowly adapted to life with chronic pain and found my purpose again. My focus was aimed once again at fatherhood and being present in the lives of my family. If only a day at a time.

Now, I’m back to living up to what is expected of me as a husband and father. I feel respected once more because I fought to overcome the challenges in front of me and continue to do so. And it feels good to have a life of purpose again. Because as a man, I need to earn my place in the world. And that’s just how it is.

Why family?

Children need stability in order to thrive. And nothing has given our children a better chance in life than a loving family unit. Sadly, the institution of marriage is seen as unimportant to a large percentage of a new generation, where being whatever you want to be and acting how you want to act is now seen as the cheif goal in life.

Personal happiness is now the aim of the game. But with mental health and suicide rates among youths at an all-time high, it would suggest that egoism isn’t working out for them too well. And it’s tragic. It was my life for many destructive years until fatherhood laid out my true purpose in life

So why is a traditional family unit so important? Isn’t marriage just an old-fashioned institution with values that no longer have a place in a modern world of gender studies and self styling. Where modern feminism is out to disenfranchise all men as being power-hungry, misogynistic has beens that no longer have any rights in society. “We are no longer needed and must be put in our place!”. Sounds a bit tyrannical, doesn’t it? It seems everything is under attack, fuelled by nothing more than a collective spirit of resentment.

Everything has ramifications. And the failing of our children due to the dissolving of traditional values based on truth, experience and understanding is going to have terrible consequences on a generation that charges ahead with a newer – more liberating ideal, that subsequently we must all now conform to. The destructive nature of this dismantling is already glaringly evident. Ask any school Councillor.

A family unit consisting of two people growing together on a spiritual path. Working together through sickness and health. Binded by vows under the highest principle are what gives children the greatest opportunity it life. Both stepping up to the responsibility of parenting to raise children that deserve nothing less than unconditional love. Both with roles to play – neither more important than the other – offer stability like nothing else. Men have their unique individual qualities, as do women. And that should be celebrated.

So as it continues to come crumbling down, and more and more youngsters suffer, would not a basic understanding of truth, and the principles that have worked to give children, and men and women the greatest purpose in life be more important than teaching our children that none of that really matters anymore?

My responsibilities as a father

Lately, I have been thinking about my role as a father going forward. Perhaps it’s because my daughters are growing up so fast. Especially the big one

What I know on a deep personal level is that life is not easy. I knew this from an early age. I was plummeted into the real world at 15 years old and had to learn to survive among sharks and angels in turn.

And it was stressful. It was too much to mentally deal with because I was completely unprepared for the world. It crushed me to the point of psychosis. My brain litteraraly created an alternative reality because I couldn’t deal with the real one.

I had no skills for a start. Other than how to appease an unhinge drug addicted father and the bullies i encountered at the many schools i went to, It wasn’t an ideal skill, but it was a means for survival. And it got me out of some scary jams as a kid thrown into the snake pit of life.

But what I really lacked was the understanding that life was going to be so tough, and I had no way to face and deal with stress. To cope with disappointment and to manage my emotions from the negative events and situations I would encounter.

It’s this total lack of experience, and the hard road I travelled that has brought me to more of an understanding of what I must do with my own children. I have to gently prepare them for a life beyond the comfort of home. I can not keep them wrapped in cotton wool forever. Because they are inevitably going to have to face hardships, trauma, and loss. It’s just a fact of life. But I also now know it is possible to deal with those events with courage and grace.

They are going to have to learn from their own mistakes and take responsibility for themselves when they mess up. It’s through failures that we grow. The more prepared they are, the easier life will be to navigate.

I don’t dwell on the negative side of things, but I do have a responsibility to be honest about the journey that will lie ahead of them. As much as life is filled with joy and love, there is much more to it than that.

The healing path

About six weeks ago, I began councilling for adults who are affected by a certain type of childhood abuse. I’ve avoided discussing it in detail my entire life, but it got to the point that it needed to be processed and dealt with with someone impartial. Although I’m 46 years old and i no longer harbour any resentment, it still affects me.

It can be challenging enough to live with the memories. But in discussing it, I have now bust open a can of worms. It has affected me on pretty much every level. Especially the way I cope in relationships. It’s hard to sink in that in some ways, I haven’t emotionally moved on from it.

It was easy to see and understandable that I suffered poor mental health as a result. The labels of borderline personality disorder to psychosis seemed a natural progression for someone who had no real stability growing up and abused alcohol the way I did. We were dragged from town to town in the wake of my dad’s ever deteriorating mental state before I finally left home age 15. His addiction problems only grew over time, and his threats of suicide became normal to us. He became dangerously unhinged.

I grew up up without any healthy mental coping strategies. I didn’t know how to deal with stress. My ADHD was simply my way of managing the pressures I felt. It seemed normal that I would seek out ways to quieten my mind. Alcohol became my escape, and I latched on to its mind altering effects from my early teens. And abused it into chronic alcoholism. Self harming was just another way to deal with my over emotional state. I was damaged goods, with no solid understanding of how to get by in life.

All this personal experience has been the driving force to becoming a better father, and it has become useful in that sense. Because I understand and know what a child can suffer from the absence of that love, my daughters deserve a loving dad who is stable and present. As much as I have changed and grown in sobriety for the better over the last decade, it seems I still have work to do to iron out some of the creases. And to finally discuss what needs to be talked about. To put it to bed once and for all.

So if you are a man grappling with a past that is affecting your present. Never feel ashamed to reach out and begin the unravelling process. It will be painful but also enlightening. Change and growth can be made from what is uncovered and let go of. The strongest thing a man can do is face his own demons.

Below is a link to the free meditation exercise I practice that led me to become free from the anger and also allowed me to strengthen from stress.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/