Feeling bad as a new dad: Louis’ story | BBC Tomorrow’s World

I became ill when my son
was about 3 months old. I began to have intrusive thoughts. And the more I wanted them to go away the more they’d get bigger and bigger
and bigger and more frightening. I’d have a thought that would pop into my head
about having an act of violence on him. The most frightening was in
the middle of the night hearing him cry and then having the trigger of
I was going to go in there and strangle him. That thought would make me so anxious that
I got up in the middle of the night and left and was walking around Bristol kind of
thinking ‘What am I going to do?’ I took myself into hospital
feeling very overwhelmed and they actually explained to me that I was
having what I now know is intrusive thoughts and I have now been diagnosed with OCD. I remember going into hospital thinking
‘I don’t mind being locked away, I don’t mind being sectioned, I just want to make sure my son is safe.’ That was the priority. Being anxious really affects your
relationship with your child because you feel unable to
carry out the day-to-day tasks without these nagging
thoughts in your head, so it can be very difficult to just even
change their nappy or put them to bed. It really does put a strain on your
relationship with your partner as well because at the time they most need you,
you’re the most unavailable. The most important help that I got was
somebody just going, ‘You know what? I get it.’ I was actually supported by a dad’s worker who
just really empathised with me and understood. What was really important in my
recovery was understanding the illness and the right talking therapies,
so Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you manage the thoughts that
you’re feeling to make them less powerful. When I recovered, a job opportunity came up
at Bluebell Care for a dad’s support worker. I did an interview and eventually got the job. We came up with a new brand,
which is ‘ Dads in Mind’ and we did a focus group with dads
and we’ve moved those forward into now offering one-to-one support. Looking back, I kind of realise that I
did have difficulties throughout my life and being diagnosed has made me
realise that it’s OK not to be OK and to accept that I’ve got an illness and
learn to manage it, rather than fight it.

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