Therapy Alternatives for Cancer Do More Harm than Good

“For many, receiving a cancer diagnosis can be as devastating to the psyche as the cancer itself is to the body. Given how many of our lives have been affected, it’s hard to imagine that cancer was once so shamed,” said Allison Abrams, LCSW-R. “Awareness and advocacy have played and continue to play essential roles in prevention, early detection, and treatment advances.”

Among these treatment options are therapy alternatives that are gaining popularity. However, these can do more harm than good. In fact, cancer therapy alternatives increase the risk of mortality instead of helping with the treatment of the illness.

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The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently published a study stating that patients who opt for alternative therapies to treat curable and common types of cancer rather than going for doctor-recommended medical treatments raise their risk of fatality. Some of the conventional forms of therapeutic regimens include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. On the other hand, alternative therapies are those unproven methods, usually executed by non-medical entities.

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Trauma-Informed Therapy: The Importance Of Knowing It

 

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We often think about people who experienced trauma, how broken they may feel losing someone they love. We pity them for experiencing such a terrible incident like a car crash, sports mishaps, or any other life-threatening events. There are also military men who suffer unmanageable effects of being on a battlefield. We see this kind of situations in movies, and these people typically prefer to be isolated – free from interaction with other people. They are worried that people might misunderstand or reject them because they may fail to act the way normal people do.

 

According to Barbara Markway, PhD, “The recognition of trauma as an important factor in psychological and physical symptoms is not new. During the American Civil War, combatants were described as suffering from “soldier’s heart” or “nostalgia.” The use of heavy artillery in World War I led to the idea of “shell shock.” More recently, the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has entered our lexicon, and specific treatment approaches have been developed.”

 

However, how many of us think of the people who are behind these individuals who are helping them cope? How do they manage to deal with the trauma of others? What are the challenges they need to face and endure to achieve the outcome they aim for PSTD clients?

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Medical practitioners including therapists are humans too. They can feel, therefore, can be affected by the negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions of people who seek their help, but how do they do cope after helping someone cope? What are the challenges they need to face in performing a trauma-informed therapy?

 

“A therapist who is trauma-informed knows that the mind and body of a person with unhealed trauma is functioning in an altered way. That person may be easily triggered to feel too much emotional intensity (hyperarousal), or shut down and unable to feel much at all (hypoarousal),” wrote Robyn E. Brickel, MA, LMFT. Medical staff, nurses, and therapists who deal with trauma patients hear unfortunate situations each day.

 

They witness the burden of these people first hand that’s why they tend to feel their pain. If one is not trauma-informed or is not knowledgeable in handling trauma cases, he may have the possibility to be too attached to the patients. Sometimes, the skepticism of other people which includes their pain, misery, anguish, injury, or anything they are suffering from are all absorbed by the person who conducts the treatment. If a patient who recently lost someone says, “The pain is too much to bear. I am lost, and I don’t know what to do,” and so forth, the therapist cannot refuse to listen. He should be all ears to what his patient is conveying, making him prone to feeling the pain as well.

 

The therapist is required to be tough emotionally,or else he can get caught up in the negativity of the patients, and that is where their years of study and pursuance of expertise shows. Being trauma-informed is useful for both the patient and the therapist as the knowledge of trauma for therapists helps them compose themselves in dealing with their patients. It allows them to familiarize with the reality of an impactful event, and it also sets their expectation preventing them from being overwhelmed and distressed by what they see or hear.

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This is beneficial to patients because it allows them to receive the appropriate treatment they need, especially when they are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or other conditions linked to impactful life events. All counseling services are beneficial as they all aim to better the mental health of a person, but trauma-informed therapy focuses on the cause of the problem which is the trauma experienced by the patient. Therefore, it is easier to plan an approach or technique for addressing the issue.

 

Mellissa Withers, PhD, MHS, emphasized the need for training in trauma-informed care among health-care providers and law enforcement. She wrote, “This training in trauma-informed care is necessary for health-care providers and law enforcement. This training is important to build the capacity among providers to deliver holistic patient care, being sensitive to how a range of experiences over the life course may relate to a person’s current health behaviors and health status.

 

Likewise, being trauma-informed makes a therapist prepared to aid patients without having to worry about being too attached and emotionally affected by the issues of the patients. It makes the therapist objective and focused on one goal, and that is to help the patient in achieving great mental health.

Family Therapy: What I Think My Children Should Do To Discuss Mental Health Issues

Depression is an already mentally and emotionally exhausting battle that everyone needs to deal with. It affects and changes lives in an instant. No one gets to be exempted from its negative impact. In some instances, daily chores are neglected, work and school become more of a struggle, and even getting out of bed needs so much energy. Depression can make everyone feel stuck despite knowing that the world still moves.

I somehow know how it feels in this state, but we can’t entirely get to the bottom of it. Luckily I know when to seek help whenever I couldn’t even understand where to begin. But as a parent, I worry about my children. I am not confident that they can do whatever I think I’m positively doing to help myself get rid of the mental health struggles. So as much as possible, here are the things I need my children to understand so we can all discuss their mental health issues.

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They Should Realize That There Is Nothing Wrong With Asking

I believe my kids are smart. I know they can easily understand the things around them since they are doing everything they could to adjust to every situation completely. But with mental health issues, I admit things can get complicated. As much as I want to know everything about their thoughts and feelings, I know I can only wait for my children to open up with their struggles.

I understand the stigma attached to depression, and I know my kids are embarrassed to tell me everything they are dealing with mentally and emotionally. I know the reason behind it is because they might think I don’t care, but I do. My kids should realize that there is nothing wrong with asking anything because, as a parent, I know I also need to exert any effort to meet them halfway. My kids are not alone in this battle, and I am more than willing to pay attention. I know my children need my support more than ever, so I want them to talk to me openly.

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They Should Understand That Their Depression Is Not Anyone’s Fault

Most times, I think my children do not want to talk to me because they do not want me to think they are blaming me for their mental health struggles. I somehow feel like they want to distance themselves because they do not want to be seen as failures. They are reluctant to approach me because they somehow believe I might take it the wrong way. But it would be an honor to contribute a part to my children’s overall mental and emotional recovery.

Honestly, all I want is for my children to see me as a friend. I might not be a better parent to them, but I am certain that I can provide my kids the emotional support they need, especially during their mental health struggles. Because the last thing I would never want to do is hurt my children’s feelings.

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They Should Be Calm And Prepare Themselves Before Starting A Conversation

My children must calm themselves before trying to make a conversation with me. I would suggest that they do not force themselves to open up if they feel uncomfortable discussing anything. I would rather not talk to them while they are struggling, even just forming a sentence. I prefer that they talk to me in a state where they are not scared of expressing themselves. I know this can be difficult, but I would never want to see my kids in a devastating, anxious state.

It is not an easy process, and I know my children would feel disheartened by this and make them think that I don’t care about what might happen to them. But as a parent, I would rather not take advantage of their weakness, especially when they are depressed. I want them to take all the time they need and give themselves space until they finally want to talk about their mental health issues.

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They Should Let Me Know What They Need

I understand that discussing mental health struggles is a complicated thing to do. And I also admit, I might have a hard time understanding what my children will say. But I would want them to let me know what they need to focus on working on it much better. I know that recovering from depression requires listening and talking. But I also know that it is more than that. I want my kids to tell me exactly what they want from me and what they think I can do to make things a lot easier for their healing process.

Communication is always the key. My children should realize that I can’t read minds. So all I could ask them is to inform me about what they are going through and let me help them. I may not understand where they might be coming from, but I can certainly try.

 

Parenting Struggle – Dads Need Therapy Too

There is always this stigma about men seeking professional advice. Many people believe that particular scenario is a once-in-a-lifetime thing because men are supposed to represent strength, masculinity, and total control. In situations where they can no longer handle their emotions, most people assume that the way men manage their issues is to fix them on their own. Therefore, everyone can crash out the idea of them talking about their problems since that’s the last option most men would consider.

About parenting, most men often do not want others to know their stressful struggle regarding handling their family and kids. That’s because they believe that talking about it would mean they are weak, so they would rather keep it to themselves. There’s this idea that they cannot openly discuss what they are emotionally and mentally going through because they don’t know how others would receive and react to what they say. Many of them are not brave enough to come forward to speak about anxiety, stress, and depression because of the scorn, ridicule, and shame they might have to deal with. With that particular self-inflicting perception, most therapists feel sorry for how these fathers view psychological assistance and emotional help. These experts know that many of them need readily accessible resources for their overall wellness but couldn’t go for it.

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The Element Of Mystery Of What Others Genuinely Think

Most dads are capable of faking it. They have specific patterns and traits that somehow divert people to think less about something wrong. These men are great pretenders who can almost hide all the flaws, pain, and worries concerning their families and children. And with all their effort, they can instantly manipulate others to believe that they are emotionally and mentally capable of doing anything. However, with the in-depth look at some of the worse struggles dads could have, many individuals know that most of these men are only trying to get by.

People understand that it is difficult to balance having children with their own needs. That explains why most dads, when frustrated, lash out and sometimes give in to the negative coping strategies that they shouldn’t suppose to perform. Most fathers are often drawn into the fear of not accomplishing their role in the family. That is why, when duty calls, they do not seem to care about themselves. They ignore their needs only to provide what’s best for their family and children.

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Dads Need To Talk About Mental Health Too

People usually discuss how motherhood can be challenging and life-changing. That is why all individuals are more concerned about listening to mothers’ mental and emotional health struggles. Everyone understands these women’s need for time adjustment because they are bound to experience the worse off, the worse. Unfortunately, most people do not see the psychological impact of parenthood on fathers. Many people are solely focused on the mothers’ perspective that they do not care about the fathers’ mental and emotional health.

The transition to fatherhood typically involves a series of very complicated psychological tasks. These include adjusting to a specific lifestyle, prioritizing financial needs, managing responsibilities, negotiating with emotional uncertainty, and learning to be self-dependent. These are not a one-time process, and men often struggle to deal with these instant changes as it leaves them feeling guilty, resentful, and confused about everything.

One sad truth about dads’ mental health issues is that nobody asks them if they are okay. Nobody sees the sacrifices and effort they put up only to provide everything for their family. No one considers their inability to cope with their anxieties, fears, and doubts. No one is kind enough to tell them that their emotions and struggles are valid and that it is okay to seek help.

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How Therapy Helps Fathers Deal With Their Mental And Emotional Issues

Like any other treatment, therapy provides men (dads) a new sense of meaning to their lives. It might not be a way for them to become more able to come up with fast solutions to their problems, but therapy can provide dads emotional comfort. Therapy can assist fathers in taking down some of their developing behavioral problems that affect their overall functioning. It can allow them to have a genuine connection to their inner-self.

Therapy may not be the first option that most dads would consider, but it is an excellent avenue for fathers to understand the importance of their vulnerability and emotions. Therapy can help them too. It is just a matter of pulling the guts and starting to express thoughts and feelings to someone who can professionally explain what these fathers are going through. That way, they would not have to suffer in silence anymore and can become more open to discussing the mental help they deserve.

 

 

Counseling Tips For Stressed Dads

Fatherhood has evolved dramatically over the past few decades because, as of today, fathers are now further involved in parenting and building a relationship with their kids. Fathers are now providing a significant and exceptional contribution to the children’s overall healthy development.

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However, fatherhood is not an easy task, and adjusting to it has its challenges too. Often, dads can be a little intimidated when it comes to their ability to provide and protect, especially in uncertain times. Fathers get mentally and emotionally unstable when their expectations are often not met. The reality can be harsh when they can no longer balance the demands of continued work performance, stable social interaction, and family needs and support. This particular issue is what leads fathers to become unwell with stress, depression, and anxiety.

Many dads find themselves in this situation where the stress builds up until they reach a breaking point. Thus, it is where they experience sudden meltdowns that usually take many forms. Some of which include sleeplessness, headaches, rage, gloominess, and discouragement. In some unfortunate times, they try and live with emotional pain.

But the good thing is that there are options to fight stress, and dads should take advantage of these tips. It might not eliminate their mental and emotional problem, but working on these guidelines can surely create a significant difference in how they handle work, social connection, family, and themselves.

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Make Time For Healthy Physical Activity

Most dads, when stressed, often forget the importance of well and healthy physical attributes. That explains why most of them are often seen eating junk food while holding a beer, sitting all day long before the TV or computer. People think that it is okay since there is this ideology that “they deserve” that alone time. However, little do they know that this habit tends to make dads more tired, stressed, and irritable.

To cut that habit, dads should consider eating healthy food and working on physical exercises daily. They should try their best to provide their body with proper nutrition to fuel to burn. It does not have to be an intense workout, though. As long as dads are constantly engaging in physical activities, that should be enough to keep them away from stress.

Engage In A Family Bonding Moments 

One thing that most fathers often lose touch with is their time spent with family. Usually, when they are stressed with work and dealing with other outside-life issues, fathers tend to set aside family needs. Sure, members of the unit understand the space needed to allow the head of the family to relax and relieve some stress. However, often when that happens, most dads find it difficult to return to their loved ones. And that builds a gap between family relationships.

Fathers must manage their time and engage with family bonding as often as they could. Because even though work and chores are important, family needs should be a priority. But of course, dads should not think of it as a necessary task, but rather they should have this willingness to be with their loved ones despite anything else.

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Work On Failed Communication

Stress buildup usually starts with the idea of not being able to solve things alone. Fathers are most likely to encounter that issue since they usually do not talk about what bothers them. As much as possible, they tend to ignore or hide their struggle for the sake of their family’s mental and emotional health. But by doing that, they forget to realize the danger it brings to their overall well-being.

Fathers must work on communication. It would be an excellent way to fight stress if they talk about the things that are emotionally weighing them down. Fathers should not take all negativity in and allow the unit members to help him get through whatever they are coping with.

Seek Help If Needed

Understandably, all dads believe that they are capable of handling things. They have enough self-confidence that somehow drives them towards success. However, situations can get a little nasty sometimes, and even if they already tried their best, most dads end up losing everything. They begin to lose control of the situation, become more emotionally sucked into the moment, and mentally exhausted from all the pressure life brings.

If that is the case, these fathers should learn to accept the need for help. They should not live in a world where they thought about situations getting better on their own. Dads must take care of their overall wellness for their sake and the whole family’s benefits that depend on them. They need to consider asking professional advice, especially when they know they are about to break down and cry.

 

My Anxiety Over My Wife’s Infertility Issue (Mental Health Counseling)

As a man, it is not easy for me to openly show my weakness, especially in front of my wife. I have always been the one who takes control of everything, and I have been good at doing that task for the past couple of years. But not until lately where I have been feeling a little strange. I am often anxious and irritated about small things, and that freaks me out. I was supposed to be a calm person, and I was sure to easily get rid of my negative feelings. But things are different now that my wife and I found out that her chances of getting pregnant are close to zero.

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What I Know Vs. How I Genuinely Feel

I love my wife, and I will promise to love her forever. As much as possible, I do not want this infertility issue to become something that will ruin our ten years of marriage. I know for sure that I will not forgive myself if I lose my wife over the idea of having a child. I would still pick her over some unnecessary argument about wanting a baby. That is the truth. That is what I know. However, that is not exactly what I feel right now. And that is what makes this whole emotional and mental health issue so complicated to handle.

Of course, I am a little heartbroken that our chance of having a baby is almost near impossible. When I heard the doctor said that my wife’s chance of getting pregnant is one over 100, I was shocked, thinking that we both are physically healthy. Ever since we got married, we committed ourselves to be happy and healthy living. So knowing that she will suffer from plenty of complications when she gets pregnant was devastating to hear.

But honestly, I would love to have a child. And even before we got married, my wife and I talked about it a hundred times that we want to have a family. Therefore, every time I told her that it will be okay and that I don’t care about having kids anymore, she never believes me because she knew how much I wanted to have kids. That makes me feel guilty because, at some point, it felt like I was the cause of her insecurities.

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The Basis Of Social Disconnection

Our most recent issue with this infertility problem is the detachment that we somehow unintentionally practice. It was not like we always wanted to isolate ourselves. We know there are other things out in the world that provide us with happiness. But my wife and I were so bound to this issue of “not having kids anymore” that we choose to shut down people. Honestly, I am fully aware of the damage this social disconnection can bring to our lives. But concerning my wife’s feelings, that is all I can do for now.

I went along with my wife’s idea to entirely keep other people away from us due to the toxicity they bring with their questions and all that. It is as if they were trying to flare up the pressure my wife and I had with this problem. This instance somehow led us to more trouble coping with infertility itself.

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The Struggle In The Relationship

But the whole negative experience is not revolving limitedly around knowing about the infertility issue, but rather the truth that we have to deal with. My wife’s mental health and I were so unstable that it made our relationship suffer up until now. The primary dilemma was that we could not find the right reasons to work together through this whole situation. We even have a hard time agreeing to seek medical help because we both felt like this was a dead end.

Sometimes my wife and I argued over whether to pursue treatments or not because that alone creates uncertainty. There was no assurance that she will bear a child in just a couple of treatments or medications. Thus, that whole option seemed like a total waste of effort and money. We also considered going straight to adoption. But the process alone is exhausting and too overwhelming to handle.

At some point, my wife lost all the courage and motivation to work through this infertility issue. And even if she tried and said that she was okay and that she already accepted the complication and impossibility of having a child, what she was showing was different. She was never a happy person anymore, and that makes me feel so anxious and depressed. It came to a point where both of us somehow feel the need to let go of each other because of the pressure buildup inside the house. Unfortunately, we are still holding on and trying to move on for good.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Male Postpartum Depression

I sincerely understand that having a newborn baby is not easy. My wife and I need to consider things, especially now that all our attention, energy, time, and effort tend to double. We both need to do our best to keep our newborn safe and sound all the time.

However, despite all the happiness I know I have to feel, I still have this weird feeling that things are not okay. No. It has nothing to do with my wife or my child because it is all about me. I get to feel this emotional roller coaster that I am not familiar with. All these emotions and thoughts keep bringing me to the brink of frustration, agitation, and confusion. And sometimes, I get distracted with my goal where I question myself what my goal is exactly.

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Change Of Heart Or Mental Illness?

I am aware that my wife and I now have a baby, which requires many responsibilities. But in all honesty, I somehow feel like I am not truly happy. You might say that I am the worst person you will ever meet, but I certainly do not feel like I am ready, capable, and confident of becoming a father. It is not that I don’t want to, but something at the back of my mind tells me I’m not worthy, incapable, unreliable, and all sorts of those negative stuff. Those things linger in my head, and I can’t seem to take them all away. What is happening to me? I don’t understand these negative thoughts and emotions, but I know I am not myself.

Certainly, this particular thing that is happening to me is not a change of heart. There is no way I cannot be happy with my wife and child. Luckily, I found out that all this emotional and mental torture is part of a mental illness known to women. Unfortunately, I never expected that men could also experience this so-called postpartum depression.

What are the causes of postpartum depression? 

Postpartum or also known as “baby blues,” is common to moms after childbirth. It commonly includes crying spells, mood swings, anxiety, and difficulty with concentration. Usually, it originates from a dramatic drop in the body’s level hormones, specifically progesterone and estrogen. Postpartum can leave sluggish and depressed feelings that are often irritably unexplainable.

Though that description only defines symptoms for women, I, unfortunately, am experiencing it right now. Therefore, I can say that postpartum is exclusive for my wife and affects me.

 How do new dads cope? 

Having a newborn baby, especially for the first time, can be entirely overwhelming for the mother and the father. A dad needs to understand lots of things and exert extra effort to keep things intact, especially when taking care of his newborn and wife. If there’s a chance, a nee dad should talk about how hid daily lives and relationship often. That way, he can encourage and prepare himself for the upcoming challenges of fatherhood.

 How can you prevent postpartum? 

Though many people get affected by postpartum, there are still so many ways to deal with it. First, you should educate yourself about what postpartum is all about and learn how it affects your life and everyone’s lives. It is entirely essential to avoid making major life changes during or right after childbirth. It is okay to vent out and express your pain, thoughts, and feelings during or right after the delivery. But it would help if you enlisted good support during birthing. You have to surround yourself with positive people that will care and stick with you during and after an amazing moment of your life.

 What is the difference between peripartum and postpartum depression? 

Peripartum depression applies to a significant mental health issue, particularly depression during pregnancy or within four weeks following the baby’s delivery. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, refers to the major depressive symptoms that occur in the first six weeks after giving birth. It is an intense and crucial moment that necessitates all sorts of care, focusing on the mother and the baby’s health and wellbeing.

 Can a woman go crazy after giving birth? 

Unfortunately, in some instances, the answer is yes. Postpartum psychosis, though a rare condition, tends to be a serious mental health illness that affects a woman soon after having a baby. But usually, the whole birth-giving scenario only brings mild mood changes or known as the baby blues. For some new moms, this is normal and usually lasts only for a couple of days.

 Is it normal to cry a lot after having a baby? 

There is a roller coaster of emotions right after giving birth, and that is entirely normal. Getting overwhelmed and crying a lot in the days after giving birth is what most moms usually do. However, if the overwhelming feelings tend to stay longer than expected and probably causing a toll on the mom’s life, it is vital to seek professional medical advice. That is because the feeling of unable to cope for more than ten days after giving birth might sign postpartum depression.

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 What causes postpartum psychosis? 

There is not enough proof that shows what commonly causes postpartum psychosis in women right after giving birth. However, a new mom is more at risk if she has a family history of mental health illness. These include diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and a negatively traumatic birth or pregnancy experience.

 How long does anxiety last after having a baby? 

Feelings of stress, sadness, and anxiety can escalate right after giving birth. These negative emotions are more persistent for some new moms than the joy and delight of holding their child. People consider it an experience as “baby blues” or the normal part of postpartum recovery. It usually goes away 1–2 weeks after the successful delivery.

 What is a postpartum woman? 

Postpartum’s terms of puerperium or puerperal period mean the time after childbirth. It is also recognized as “baby blues” and usually starts immediately after childbirth as the mother’s body, including uterus size and hormone levels, returns to a non-pregnant condition. For many new moms, the baby blues go away in about 3 to 5 days. However, if it does not, and the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness stay longer than two weeks, it tends to become postpartum depression.

 How do dads feel when the baby is born? 

New dads also experience overwhelming emotions when their child is born. But unlike new moms, they don’t exactly feel fuzzy and warm at first. Fathers often don’t have the same love-at-first-sight experience with their babies compared to the mothers. Perhaps that is because they do not share the same experience in pregnancy as women do.

 Do newborns know their mother? 

Yes. A baby can immediately recognize his or her mother’s face, smell, and voice right from birth. The babies respond to their instinct well. It is as if they already knew how their senses function even before they learn to use them. That explains why parents are highly recommended and advised to talk to their newborn.

 Do newborns know who their father is? 

Unfortunately, there are no studies and enough evidence that evaluate whether babies can recognize their fathers or not. Newborn babies have blurry vision, and by the moment they are a few weeks old, that is the only time they can recognize their parents’ faces. However, some claim that these babies can already identify their parents through their voices’ smell and sound.

 How long does it take to recover and feel normal after pregnancy?

A full recovery from pregnancy and childbirth is different from one person to another. Usually, it can take quite a few months. Some women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks. However, it may take longer to feel like they are back with themselves again when it comes to the mental and emotional part.

 How does pregnancy affect mental health?

Women may feel more stressed, anxious, and vulnerable during their pregnancy. Some may develop depression, injuries, diseases, and other physical problems that often contribute to poor mental health and sometimes mental disorders. Some physical causes, such as birth trauma, can directly affect brain chemistry, leading to mental dysfunction.

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Takeaway

Never assume that mental illness is gender-based because it is not. Postpartum depression, though most common in women, can also affect men. Thus, if you ever experience the symptoms, get help immediately.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Seasonal Depression For Dads

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I had always been the happiest and politest boy in the neighborhood. Whenever I went out of the house to walk the dog, get the morning paper, and do other chores, I often had a smile and a greeting ready for every person I would see around the house. Sometimes, even if the people were a few places away, I would run to them to say hi. Because of that, the elders treated me as their kid, and the other children wanted to befriend me.

At such a young age, I did not understand what’s so special about my habits and gestures. After all, that had always been the routine in our home. My mother and father would wake me up with kisses and tickles, and then we would all head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast together. I learned how to be polite, joyful, and helpful early, yes.

I only realized that not every kid acted like me when I entered primary school. I overheard a classmate arguing with her mother. It went like this:

“You did not take your lunch box to school again,” Mrs. Cooper said as soon as Jane came up to her.

“Your food sucks, Mom,” Jane retorted.

Mrs. Cooper looked hurt and shocked. “Excuse me, young lady?”

“Yeah, you heard me.” Then, Jane walked past her mother and stood beside their car. “Come on, Mom. I’m growing roots here!” she yelled, annoyed.

Although I did nothing back then, I promised myself that I would never be like Jane. Besides acting awful towards her mother, she did not know how to appreciate Mrs. Cooper’s efforts. Worse, Jane did not even greet her.

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Becoming An Adult

I carried my happy and polite disposition into my adulthood. In college, I had been known as that guy who would never turn a friend down and always had a helping hand ready for everyone. Of course, some people tried to take advantage of that, but I knew how to dodge them without acting rude.

After getting my college diploma, I began working at a construction firm as an architect. That’s where I met my wife, Sherra. We became friends quickly when we found out that we both loved the Star Trek franchise. Her easygoing attitude also meant that she was always smiling. However, what made me realize that Sherra was the one was when my parents dropped by the firm, and only Sherra was there to entertain them.

Mom called me that night and gushed over Sherra. She said, “Son, I met the loveliest girl at your workplace today. She had a massive pile of paperwork on her desk, but she left it to assist me even before knowing that I was your mother. I hope she’s still single – she’s a keeper.”

Having A Family

Twenty years after that conversation, Sherra and I had been happily married with two teenage boys. We had a short courtship as it turned out that Sherra liked me before I even courted her, and then we tied the knot and subsequently had twins.

Plenty of things have changed since then. For one, Sherra quit her job to become a hands-on mother. I supported her decision because looking after two energetic kids was a full-time job. The only consolation was that they inherited our happy disposition and rarely kept us up at night, even when they were still babies. I also stopped working at the firm to start my own when the children turned five years old to be with them more.

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Our routine became similar to what I had during my childhood days. My wife and I would wake up the boys early with kisses and cuddles. My sons were never fussy, so they would always jump off their beds and greet us happily and help us make food in the kitchen. They did not stop acting that way even when they went through puberty – the stage that most parents dreaded the most. Their voice merely grew deeper, and they had a growth spurt, but the twins were still as affectionate and happy as ever. Hence, our happiness continued.

Hitting A Snag

When my sons – yes, both of them – got accepted to Harvard, I was perhaps the proudest father on the planet. Their acceptance letters arrived a couple of months before their high school graduation, so I had enough time to share the fantastic news with my parents, friends, and even clients. My wife and I also accompanied them to Massachusetts early to find an apartment within biking distance to the campus. We were over the moon at the thought of having Harvard diplomas hanging in the house a few years later.

However, my happiness hit a snag on the first night that the boys were gone. It was already Fall, so the semester was about to start. I knew they were safe in their apartment, but I could not help but feel sad about the fact that I won’t see my kids every day anymore. My sadness turned into lethargy soon enough. When December came, and I still felt that way, Sherra finally put her foot down.

“I’m worried about you, honey,” she said one evening. “I set an appointment with a psychologist tomorrow. We will go there to sort out your prolonged sadness,” she added gently yet firmly.

As it turned out, I developed seasonal depression

What is the meaning of seasonal depression?

Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that an individual experiences due to the changing of seasons. Most people deal with it in the wintertime since that’s when we all get the least amount of sunlight. However, it is possible to experience seasonal depression during the summer, too.

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What is the saddest month?

January is technically the saddest month of the year. This is when the temperature is mostly low and the skies are gloomy. Even if you see the sun, it is not as hot as in other months. In truth, the third Monday of January is called Blue Monday.

How common is SAD?

Mild seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has been diagnosed in up to 20% of individuals in the United States. Approximately 6% of them have moderate or severe SAD. Gender-wise, SAD is more common in young female adults.

What is the best treatment for seasonal affective disorder?

Some psychiatrists may say that the best treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an antidepressant. Many individuals with this type of depression start taking the medication before they even get the depressive symptoms. However, for folks who do not want to take antidepressants, the best treatment is light therapy.

Which vitamin is good for seasonal affective disorder?

Vitamin D is an excellent vitamin to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), considering you get depressed in winter. The reason is that it is challenging to get this naturally during this particular season, no matter how much you stay outdoors. Nevertheless, you should ask a physician if you can take this vitamin with your other medication.

Final Thoughts

I did not take antidepressants to battle my seasonal depression, for the record. Instead, I forced myself to go out and get as much sun exposure as possible every day. My kids also came home for the holidays, and they livened up the house once more. My wife and I decided to get a house in Massachusetts to visit the boys whenever we wanted. Though the psychologist could not guarantee that my SAD won’t return, he said that I had high chances of not experiencing its symptoms if I continued doing things that made me happy.

And I could not agree more with that.

How A Father’s Mental Health Shapes One’s Mindset

My family had been described as “picture perfect” by friends and relatives one too many times. You see, my parents were not only lawyers who helped crime victims get justice; they often offered their services to less-fortunate individuals, too. My twin sister and I were in our second year of residency at a hospital, and we both wanted to open a clinic. Best of all, we never had ugly fights with each other because Mom and Dad taught us the value of family.

Despite that, it’s only the occurrence in our household. If you look at our extended family, you would see that we visited my father’s clan more than my mother’s. It’s not that Dad insisted on that – it was Mom’s decision, frankly speaking.

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Source: pexels.com

The reason was that my mother did not approve of a lot of things that Pops (my grandfather) did in life. She was incredibly close to her mother and siblings, but her father was a much different story. Every time Mom had to see or talk to him, it typically felt forced and was very awkward.

In truth, watching their interaction used to confuse me when I was a child. Because of my closeness to Dad, I assumed that all children and fathers had a close relationship. However, the more I got older, the more I realized what could strain people’s relationships: mental health.

Allow me to share a few examples below.

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A Person May Decide To Follow Dad’s Footsteps

My grandfather had always wanted to live an easy life. Whenever he got money, you could only find him in the casino, betting on every game that could double or triple the amount he came in with. Though it was – and still is – too shameful to admit, Pops would even resort to extortion to continue his gambling habits.

Now, some of my uncles thought that their father managed to unlock the quickest way to gain financial success. During get-togethers, they would play poker from dusk until dawn with real money at stake. They also preferred to take part-time jobs alone to ensure that they had free hours to stay at the casino anytime.

Was this mindset effective, though? Did my Pops and uncles become rich? Of course not. Whoever told you that you didn’t need to work hard to earn well was crazy. And if you believe in their words and follow their footsteps, you turn out to be crazier than them.

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Source: pexels.com

Someone May Do Everything To Avoid Taking The Same Path That Their Father Took

If there were folks like my uncles, there were also people like Mom, who tried everything to avoid getting likened to her dad. While Pops was technically the happy-go-lucky type, my mother said she knew the value of hard-earned money from childhood. After all, my grandmother had to pick up the slack and get two jobs when she was young as her father was too busy gambling. Living with such a reality made Mom determined to graduate, have a stable job, and marry a non-gambler.

In truth, my mother succeeded in avoiding the same life path that Pops took. The only significant failure that she could see was her inability to coax my grandfather to change or stop his gambling ways.

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Source: pexels.com

Dad’s Behavior Could Make Kids Resentful For Years

Mom had been going all out to pamper my grandmother for as long as I could remember. She opened a bank account just for Gran and gave her new bags and shoes every month. She also encouraged her to join community groups so that my grandmother could meet new people and enjoy her life.

As for Pops, my mother only gave him gifts during Christmases and birthdays. Its frequency could easily have been the same as Gran’s, but Mom could not forget when my grandfather turned down the expensive shoes that she bought for him. He went as far as saying, “I’d rather receive money than wear those shoes.” And, no, he never apologized for it.

While we all encouraged Mom to forgive and forget, we could not blame her for staying resentful for years. It wasn’t as if Pops made an effort to make it up to her. Thus, he could not ask my mother anymore to fund his gambling habits.

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Source: pexels.com

Final Thoughts

I know how some readers might ask, “Is this fiction? Can a father be THAT awful?”

Well, no, and yes. You should understand that not everyone can be blessed with a doting or responsible father. Some do not bother to know their kids’ favorite toys; others leave before the baby arrives. My mother technically got lucky because Pops was not an absentee father, but gambling had already affected his mental health. As a result, his behavior had various effects on his children’s mindsets.

In case you have similar issues with your father, try to be wise like Mom and don’t follow his footsteps. If you can pull them back on the right track, that’s great! But if your father cannot be redeemed, save yourself from the doom and live well.

The Importance Of A Dad’s Influence In The Family

 

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Has there been any concrete proof that fathers do have a significantly relevant impact in their children’s lives? Apparently, cultures seem to devalue the roles of father, and I see this everywhere, from media to government policies.

Let’s elaborately discuss this topic by citing a range of known studies and trials to prove it.

One of the reputable professors of Sociology at Rutgers University, Dr. David Popenoe, gives us an excellent synopsis of the topic. He states that dads are not only ‘second adults’ in the family. Active dads, particularly the biological ones, bring lasting positive benefits to their kids. They give security and financial support, as well as provide an example of good male role models. Their parenting technique is uniquely distinct from that of a mom, and that difference is relevant in strong and stable child development.

Another important aspect of a father’s influence on his children’s lives lies exactly in what Dr. Popenoe refers to as his ‘ominously different parenting style.’ Males and females are so different. Because of this, moms and dads raise their children in different ways. Dads, for example, love their kids more fiercely, perhaps because they play tougher and are more possibly going to inspire them to take risks. They offer their children a wider space for social involvement. They also encourage them to deal with life differently. They are inclined to emphasizing rules, fairness, and discipline, which is, in a way, advantageous to children because this helps instill impartiality and an understanding of right and wrong.

Dads also support competition, generating independence. While mothers foster a sense of security, fathers stress intangible ways of communicating, which helps children widen their vocabulary and logical skills. Mothers uphold care and compassion, thereby establishing the relevance of relationships. Fathers, on the other hand, often see their children as they are connected to the world – to the bigger picture. Moms tend to see the world and its connection to their children. As a whole, they work in equilibrium with each other and provide their children with a healthy and stable perspective of life.

 

Source: pixnio.com

Studies and Trials

Where is all the proof for these allegations? Clearly, the topic is so vast that we can’t delve too deep into it. However, we can provide several examples of some critical studies and research.

  • More than 80% of research regarding the relevance of a father’s influence and his children’s welfare published in the 1980s onward revealed substantial connections between positive father participation and children’s well-being.

 

  • In an evaluation of more than 100 trials on parent-child connections, it was shown that being raised by a loving and supportive father was as significant for a child’s well-being, comfort, academic and social achievement as having a protective and loving mother. Other studies even suggested that fatherly love was a more significant influencer to some vital positive child well-being results.

 

  • Psychiatrist Kyle Pruett states that a dad’s more active parenting style and his relatively denser reactions to a kid feeling frustrated serves to improve problem-solving capabilities and independence in children. He further stressed that a father’s positive influence is related to more pleasant and affirmative behavior in girls as well as boys. This study was performed at the University of Pennsylvania, which also revealed that kids who felt comfort and closeness with their dads were two times more likely to go to college, 75% less at risk for getting pregnant when their reach their teenage years, 80% less likely to commit crimes and go to jail, and 50% greater chance of not developing depression.

 

  • Researchers who participated in a 26-year clinical trial found that the primary factor in growing compassion and happiness in kids was father participation. Dads who spend quality time with their kids resulted in their kids becoming more loving and kindhearted adults.

Conclusion

The studies mentioned above are only the surface of a more profound and vast topic that we have only just scratched. However, all these have substantially provided us with sufficient evidence that proves our point. They validated beyond a shadow of a doubt that dads do play a vital and exceptional role in stable and strong child development. This implies that our guesses are correct and that the statements we are getting from the media, pop culture, and government policies are undoubtedly incorrect. Kids are better off when their bond with their father is secure, sympathetic, and nurturing.

 

Source: rawpixel.com

 

Ultimately, the insinuation is vivid. People like us who have already been aware of this fact should have to do what we can to disseminate these details out into the open as soon as possible. It is comforting to finally prove the fact that a father’s positive influence and involvement have a range of positive effects on children’s lives. It is only suitable that fathers are appreciated for their role in raising kind, loving, and headstrong children – children that are ready for the world.