Most people do it tough at some stage or another. We in the West don’t really do suffering that well, nor are we that comfortable talking openly with each other about our difficulties and hardships. Frankly, a lot of people don’t really care enough anyway.
As a man you may be facing a tough patch right now. Be it in relationship issues, work problems, health problems or financial grief. Whatever you are facing, the loved ones in your life need to know how they can support you and how you can still be effective in their lives. The following piece by me will hopefully give you a little encouragement.
I felt the need to share why I have been absent for a year from blogging for my readers.
Many of you are aware that I have been a Leukaemia patient for eight years and that in itself poses a challenge as the medication can really mess with my head, body and lifestyle.
My last medication unfortunately caused my arteries to shrink and the circulation was so bad in my legs that I almost lost the ability to walk. To add insult to injury I was also diagnosed with 4 blocked arteries in my chest which is cardiovascular disease, for which I am now on heart medication. At one stage I was seeing the Cardiologist, the Vascular Surgeon, the Oncologist, my GP and a Chinese doctor for TCM treatment.
The stress and disappointment of this series of confronting health issues together with the concoction of countless drugs eventually contributed to me having a meltdown as a result of massive loss of sleep, anxiety and some depression. Additional medication and weekly Doctor visits and counselling have helped me get back on track. Countless people have been praying for me and my recovery.
I wondered if I would ever be better again. Well, I’m back and have fresh motivation and new insight to connect with you through this blog.
Writing a blog to inspire other dads took a back seat in my priority list. Sorry that I stopped providing the input into your fathering but I think you can appreciate my distraction.
My beautiful wife Karen has had to be a tower of strength for me throughout my hardship.
As a dad that wishes he was totally fit and healthy, I wanted to help my sons try and understand what I was going through. This was not always easy. Children, no matter what their age, like their dad to be strong, healthy and vibrant.
I had lost all my joy and felt completely washed up at one point.
You may have faced significant hardship yourself or you may be in a place of pain right now. As a dad your children need you to be there. They need to have some insight into your struggle. Firstly, so they can be sensitive to your needs. Secondly, so they can experience some of your vulnerability and thirdly, so they can love you and care for you. This will take various degrees of effectiveness as different children are wired differently. Some will be more caring and empathetic and some will not.
The reason I am open with you is because I want you to take courage and hope from my story and find personal application for your own life and journey as a dad.
5 Things I recommend you to do when you are facing a personal struggle.
1. Be authentic. Communicate with your family that you are going through a tough time and explain why. The level of detail is relative to the ages of your children and the level of empathy they have.
2. Be man enough to seek out professional help from a Doctor and counsellor. Don’t face this stuff on your own. You are ripping yourself off and also those around you if you don’t seek out professional help when you need it.
3. Eat healthily and exercise daily to boost your wellbeing.
4. Associate with positive people that genuinely care and can be an encouragement to you. I had two pastors regularly visiting me to help me through my battle. They modelled Christ’s love to me which I now deeply appreciate in a fresh way.
5. Pray (if you are a praying person), read helpful books to help you face your struggle,
and listen to uplifting music. Do things that you love to do even if you don’t feel like doing them.
I am now climbing out of a significant low time in my life. I am optimistic and hopeful.
These five things were key to helping me move forward.
May you be encouraged to push through your pain with help from others.
Once a dad always a dad. Remember that your children need you to be there for them in spite of what you are going through. It’s ok to go through tough times. We seem to grow deeper through the hardships but would never put our hand up to volunteer for them.