When did you start going to therapy? How did you feel about the idea of going when you started?
I first had therapy when I was 18 during my first year at University. And then had it again (after a long gap) about a year into being a parent.
How did fatherhood impact your mental health journey?*
Fatherhood certainly made me much more proactive about managing my mental health. As my time and energy was being pulled in so many different directions, I wanted to take proactive steps to be in front of any issues, so that matters did not escalate.
Do any of your mental health issues relate to your own relationship with your parents? With parenting your own child?
Yes. I have an excellent relationship with my parents. But, being a parent myself was very triggering and bought back patterns / memories that weren’t pleasant. As such I needed to process and deal with those. I was very keen to ensure that I was passing on the best of me to my daughter, and for me to do that I needed to work through matters which I had buried. I also had to develop the courage to confront issues more head on.
What advice do you have for other dads about going to therapy or asking for help?
I always thought of it as going to the gym. It was developing muscle that was only every going to serve my health for the better. (If you remember it)
Have you ever walked away from therapy with a big learning? Can you share it with us?
Once I told the therapist that when I was out running a thought occurred to me about how much better life has been since I met my wife. She asked me “did you tell your wife that?”. That got me thinking why didn’t I even think to tell her. So I did. And I’ve also become much better at expressing gratitude for others whom I’m grateful to know / have known.
Has therapy helped your parenting? Has therapy helped your relationships?
Yes! See answer above. And also by being better at emotional regulation myself, it means I’m not dealing with emotions in the wrong way (as much!).