googlea875c0213e6e807d.html] Fandads: The Letter, The Brotherhood and The Journey

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Letter, The Brotherhood and The Journey

This is a post that has been gestating in me for a long time. I have often started writing it, but would go back and delete it for fear of scaring off readers. I also did not know if I was ready to open a door to my world that might make people look at me in a different light.  After seeing some of the dadbloggers I know open up, I decided I have to put this out there because it might open much needed conversations and maybe it will help someone one day.

As some of you might be aware, I used to be a teacher for the Chicago Public School system. I was released from my position in 2014 and spent my summer applying and interviewing to multiple schools. As the summer was coming to a close, it seemed that there would be no positions for me in the 2014-15 school year and I had to look at my options.

I relished in the fact that I would be able to take my daughter to her first day of kindergarten and be able to help out in her school and pick her up every day. I was doing odd jobs here and there to help us out financially, but little by little our savings were dwindling.

Things were good, but not being able to provide like I use to began to get the best of me. My mood began shifting and I noticed that I started to keep a lot of things to myself and was just going into a deep funk that I thought I had a handle on. Depression never really leaves you, you just get good at hiding it from others or at least I did.

I feel like I've been suffering from depression since junior year in high school. I didn't know it was depression back then, I thought I was just moody. As I got older and started reading more about it, I realized that I was depressed but felt ashamed about feeling this way. I hid it from my family and friends and just tried my best to not let it get the best of me. Even as an adult, I have been hiding it but I think being unemployed just brought it on even more.

As the next summer came, I again was on the job hunt. My wife was the only one working and my daughter would always cry when we had to drop off her mom in the morning. It would become a normal routine: She would cry on the ride to her mom's work and on the ride back, and once we got home she would return to normal.

There was one morning that was different. I was already depressed about facing another year of unemployment and the constant calls from debt collectors was just taking a toll on me. That morning my daughter's cries were too much for me to handle. The entire ride home she screamed and yelled that she wanted her mother and I tried soothing her, like I did in the past, by telling her "mom will be home soon" and "she will call you when she gets a break at work."

It seemed like everything I was telling her was being drowned out by her cries. I knew that once we got home she would relax and play with her toys like nothing was wrong, but like I said, that morning was different. She kept crying and said she wanted to go to her grandparents' house (my in-laws). As much as I tried soothing her, nothing worked. I caved in and called my in-laws and the crying stopped as soon as she was picked up.

THE LETTER

What kind of father was I if I could not take care of his own daughter? What did it say to my in-laws that my daughter did not want to spend the day at home with her dad because she missed her mom? That moment pushed me over the edge and I decided that if I could not contribute to my family like I wanted to then I should not be here anymore.  I grabbed my notebook and pen and started writing a letter to my wife and children.

As I started the letter the tears began flowing from my eyes. My son was laying down quietly on the sofa and I could not look at him. I started feeling ashamed about having these thoughts, but I felt that it was the best thing to do. I got as far as writing down my wife's name and I couldn't write anymore.

The one thing about being a stay-at-home dad is that a lot of the people you would normally reach out to for help are at their jobs. I sat near my laptop sobbing and decided to reach out to my fellow dad bloggers just to talk to someone. I needed to get these thoughts out of my head and I knew that these guys would help me out, at least virtually.

As soon as I hit post, they started messaging me and trying to help me out. I was given the suicide hotline number from a few of them and I went to that website to "talk" to someone.  It was strange how I did not want to personally talk to one of these counselors, but I was able to reach out to my brothers and let them know what was troubling me.

The funny thing about the virtual suicide chat was that it would take 4-5 minutes for the person to respond to my answers whenever I typed them.  Whereas, the dad bloggers were instantly talking to me and giving me feedback or advice about what to do.

THE BROTHERHOOD

I called these guys my brothers and that is exactly what they are. I grew up with two older sisters and all my cousins were female. Being a part of the dad bloggers community creates bonds that are kind of hard to describe, but when I finally met some of these guys in person last February there was no awkwardness there.

We all know about each others families, job, blogs and we were all connected. From guys who just started their blog to those that have thousands of followers, we are all striving for the same thing: To change the world's perceptions of dads. I am extremely thankful for these guys and wish there was a way I could repay all of them for helping me out through this really bad moment in my life.

THE JOURNEY

I talked to my wife about what happened later that night and threw out the letter because I did not want that reminder in my life. I decided that I need to seek some sort of help, but the thought of seeing a psychologist scares me but it is something that I must do to get better.

I still have my dark days, I don't think they will go away, but I try to not show it in front of my kids. I used to hide my depression from 8-4 when I was at work. It's a little different when you are home all day with your children and have to put it aside until they go to sleep.

I have been fortunate to start getting a few paid posts for the blog that helps out a little, but we still have our days when things get tough. I am now working two jobs that I enjoy, but I would love to be in front a classroom again or have a regular 9-5.

Lately, the song "1 of 4" by Aesop Rock has been playing on repeat in my head and this song talks about his battle with depression. As an avid music fan, this song encapsulates what I have been going through. As I previously stated I can not thank my brothers enough for what they did for me but these words are just the beginning.

"I guess it is kind of funny when you look at it from a step back,
How one man can literally buckle under the same pressures
Other men operate normally under
I have scoped this out from all angles multiple times
I have been over everything in my head, still I can't think anymore
But I guess sometimes, when you can't breathe,
there are people there to breathe for you
I am lucky enough to have those people around me
Thank you for helping me to not die
Thank you for helping me to not die"
                                Aesop Rock


Thank you for reading and please if you ever have suicidal thoughts or are battling with depression seek out help and remember that your life has a meaning in this world.

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
1 (800) 273-8255