Dan’s Story

Dan’s Story

I’m writing this having spent the weekend with my 4 year old son, Charlie. Our weekend included films, a working farm, dinosaurs, superheroes, building dens and reading the same book 100 times. It sounds like a normal weekend and it was a lot of fun but my relationship hasn’t always been like that with him.

My son had a tough start to life, he spent his first week in Intensive Care and was then diagnosed with what we were told was a genetic condition that could affect his vital organs. Thankfully, after six months of tests he was given the all clear and continues to develop into a healthy, happy, cheeky little boy.

Those first six months were extremely difficult, but it would be another 12 months before the real impact would take hold of my life.

As a man, I understood my role perfectly when Charlie was rushed to Intensive Care at just an hour old. I was to support his mum while also spending long periods talking to him while he was hooked up to all those machines. I also knew that I needed to keep both families and close friends updated to coordinate who visited when. That first week was a bit of a blur, I was on auto pilot and that is how I felt about the first 6 months.

The impact was not just confined to my home life. I was in a job role in which I normally thrived, but my performance began to suffer. Normal tasks became a real challenge because I didn’t understand how I felt, or where I could talk to someone. The work environment I was in was male dominated and full of bravado, you couldn’t show any weakness and that included talking about mental health.

So why am I telling my story?

I didn’t seek help initially, even when I knew something was wrong and this led to me making a number of attempts on my own life.

Post-natal depression is a topic that I feel is only associated with mums. However, I really suffered with this and feel that if there was more awareness around it then the affects on me would have been reduced.

My help came by the way of an incredible charity called Andy’s Man Club. By being in an environment where it is encouraged to talk about how you are feeling I quickly learnt about the power of talking and the importance of getting feeling out in a positive manor.

I strongly believe that this should be the case in every organisation. My personal performance is directly affected by the organisational culture and I am lucky to have found a business where talking is actively encouraged.

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