Near enough exactly to the day, my world was shattered. Relationship in tatters, zero money in the bank and left without my home. To top all this off the GP believed that I was, and had been suffering from depression for a number of years and needed time off work in order to manage the ongoing onslaught. So that and a bunch of tablets, which initially made me feel worse, was all I thought I had.
Depression is often an isolating condition and, to me anyhow, a selfish one (and in my particular case especially). What I’ve neglected to tell you, you see, is that I’m a dad to a beautiful two year old boy as well as a step dad to his 6 year old brother.
all the hurt we were feeling could only be amplified tenfold on the children’s part
Throughout that most torrid of times, and despite what was ultimately a horrific separation cocktailed with my irrational, erratic thought process at the time I completely disregarded the boys. This was a realisation that I was quick to be pulled up on and even quicker to rectify after feeling utterly selfish and ashamed.
Of course those were all wasted judgements. But I had. I had forgotten that amongst all the hurt that we adults were feeling could only be amplified tenfold on the children’s part.
At the time my patterns, emotions and pretty much everything else was up in the air and all over the place. Although I don’t believe whatsoever in children being used as an emotional crutch, mine provided me with exactly what I needed at the time. Hope.
as long as we’re alright, then that’s all that matters
Whenever I was with them, in their company, the play came out in spades, and as had always been the case, was totally carefree. When I had my son the structure and routine he required at the time, ensured stability and structure for me. Whenever I found myself lowering in mood I would remind myself of the funny face pulled or nuanced behaviour that was their beautiful characters developing.
The times when they are poorly / not sleeping / being little monkeys made me reflect on accepting that there are things out of my control and as long as we’re alright, then that’s all that matters. Those times of need also allowed me and the children’s tireless mum to co-parent and heal many rifts.
But I think the greatest lesson and reward to come out of this situation was the absolute gift that I was able have them as my single sole priority, no other relationship, no other one person encroached on that and never would again.
A year on, things are good. I am off the pills, confident and as happy as I can be. All thanks to my two little beacons of hope.
By Andy Gammon
Photo credit: Andy Gammon