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Don't give up on yourself, you are more resilient that you think — asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of."

About David:

I’m a father to a smart, energetic and curious 7-year-old boy. I work as a communications advisor and  enjoy spending time with my close network of friends, volunteering, being in the great outdoors, woodworking, and reading science-fiction novels.

I openly talk about mental health and port-natal depression to help reduce the stigma we so often encounter today.


I was going through a stressful period in my life, kept ruminating about a lot of different aspects including relationship issues, financial situation, stress from work and a new reality as a father.

People tend to romanticize many aspects of having a baby in their lives, including myself. But it is a challenge; especially the first few weeks and months, acclimating yourself to a new routine, lack of sleep, and balancing responsibilities with your partner. It’s truly a life-changing event, not only for mothers but for fathers too.

I kept worrying all the time and soon, I was unable to fall asleep – that was tough. Luckily I was able to take some time off from work, yet I didn’t realize I was experiencing a state of anxiety induced insomnia. I felt irritable, had stomach issues and tried to tire myself out by going for long walks.

I didn’t know what to do, I felt absent from my role as a father and husband, and started thinking horrible things, had suicidal thoughts and felt broken and alone. I stopped seeing my friends and gave up all the activities and hobbies I had always enjoyed.

The major turning point came, when a close friend noticed something was wrong. While walking side-by-side one morning together I explained to him how I was feeling and the dark thoughts that were running through my mind. 

Thankfully my friend, who himself had gone through a depressive period in his life, recognized that I was in distress and called my family to ask them to step in and help me.

We have a family history of anxiety and depression but I never expected to experience it myself. My family got involved and I realized I needed help. With their support I was finally able to seek out treatment, started taking medication, underwent therapy and gradually recovered.


Talking to someone

  • From a young age, men have been taught to be tough, and to hide their true feelings and emotions. So when men start feeling overwhelmed, worthless and depressed, they can isolate themselves and become susceptible to negative thinking and feelings, which can lead to severe depression and sadly, even suicide. 
  • When friends or family members ask you “How’s it going?” you might respond with “Everything is great, super, couldn’t be better…” and the conversation moves onto other topics. Don’t make fake talk! I know you might feel like you can handle it on your own, but honestly, talk to someone. People around you don’t always know what you might be going through and it’s ok to let them know.  
  • Be honest and speak to someone you trust when you start feeling down, alone or if you start losing hope. Your friends will be there to help you even during the tough times in life. You don’t have to feel alone and never think you are a burden. Everyone experiences difficulties.

Getting professional help

Find a counsellor or psychologist that you feel comfortable talking to. At first, it might feel strange to talk to someone you don’t know. During the first few sessions, they will ask questions about your past and what is happening in your life. 

When you are depressed, your mind will constantly cycle negative thought patterns, these are cognitive distortions or “thinking traps” that many people experience when going through a depression. For me these included:

  • Labelling: calling yourself names, “I’m useless, I’m stupid”. 
  • Fortune telling: trying to predict the future.
  • Catastrophizing: imagining worst-case scenarios. 
  • Overgeneralizing: believing when something didn’t work the first time, it will never work the next time. 
  • All-or-nothing thinking (“black and white thinking”): believing there are only one or two outcomes, good or bad, and nothing in between. 
  • Ignoring any positives: focusing purely on the negatives in any situation.
  • Personalizing: taking everything personally.
  • Always using ‘should’ and ‘must’: these deadlock people into thinking that everything must be done in a certain way and puts you in a constant pattern of living with regrets, which keeps you feeling down and depressed.


The key is to recognize the early signs and symptoms. If you are in a depressive state you will need professional help, period.

Make it a point to go see your family doctor, they are typically the “first responders” when it comes to their patients suffering from depression. Physicians might give you a depression screening questionnaire (like the Self Check here on HeadsUpGuys) to help gauge your mood, feelings. 

Listen to the advice of your doctor, your situation is unique but they’ve helped other patients who were depressed.e open to a combination of different treatment options. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was really helpful for me to get out of those “thinking traps”.

Finally, take the time to rest. Get yourself away from anything stressful, don’t skimp on healthy eating or activities, and maybe if you can, take up some mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness can help you appreciate and perceive living in the now and present moment, not dwelling on the past or worrying about future outcomes that you can’t predict or control.

Don’t give up on yourself, you are more resilient that you think — asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of.

David Daigle, Communications advisor and father

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