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Dealing with dad depression



Helpful hints for when dad-oriented depression arises

Dealing with dad depression


Although it is more common in women, postpartum depression isn’t just for moms. According to both
Colin Bowman at Direct Advice for Dads, and Psycom.net one in ten fathers will experience postpartum depression. Thankfully, it’s treatable. Bowman’s story is one of success. In a piece clearly designed to connect with men unaccustomed to dealing with mental health issues, he breaks his process down into five stages: acknowledgement, seeing a doctor, talking to your nearest/dearest, seeing a counselor, and exercise.

Bowman knew something was off when he noticed he was letting himself go physically, eating indiscriminately, and running afoul of friends. He writes: “For me it was a combination of factors that made me seek help eventually. I was hardly taking care of myself, was putting on weight, experiencing mood swings, falling out with friends, arguing, getting frustrated with my kid when it wasn’t even her fault, even some cases neglecting my daughter’s and wife’s needs. Dad of the year material I was not.”

He also notes a “constant fog” that made him miss milestones during his daughter’s first year. He even questioned if his daughter would be better off without him in her life. Red flags, all. But again, not unheard of.

READ MORE: The isolation of pandemic parenting is unprecedented

I can say I’ve personally dealt with depression, both before and since my now-adult son was born. Mine manifested as sleeplessness, hair-trigger anger, and terrible anxiety that something awful was going to happen to my son. (Something other than a depressed dad, which was actually happening to him.) It was not pretty, but I was proactive, and found help, both professional and otherwise, both self-administered, and at the hands of professionals.

I know other fathers who’ve struggled and sought help in various ways. Bowman’s advice is all spot-on, and I can speak from experience and say his tips are well worth taking. Even though the various manifestations of depression can make things seem quite dark, they need not be. The light is there to be found.



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