Being a Dad Living with Depression

By: Anthony Hayes

The word depressed or depression gets thrown around all to often. It’s true meaning gets lost in the stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds those unfortunate souls plagued with this dibilitating disease.

You can believe what you think you know about depression as it were. The fact of the matter is there is a distinct difference between being depressed or the blues, and having depression. Emotions can take many forms.

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Happiness
  • Shyness
  • ETC…

Some days I experience all of these, others I experience none whatsoever.

Being depressed is an emotion where as, clinical depression is lacking the ability to control ones emotional state. I learned the difference between the two in early 2004 when I began to experience some emotional flatteness, ADHD and Insomnia.

What Is Major or Clinical Depression?

Most people feel sad or low at some point in their lives. But clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships — symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-5 — a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions — you may have other symptoms with major depression. (source WebMD)

Those symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others)
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)

Major depression affects about 6.7% of the U.S. population over age 18, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The crippling grasp has had me in its clutches for over a decade.

Luckily for me, I have gained the upper hand and chose a life with hope instead of hopelessness. I’ve read countless publications on the human psyche, depression, and mental health. I did this to better understand what I was experiencing and how to combat it.

Over time, I have combined those teachings and knowledge with my own life experiences to be consumed by the masses. I’ve done this in a variety of different ways:

  1. The Science of Being: Me Myself and II take you on a journey of self discovery in my early to mid twenties as I document some of the darkness I experience with the onset of my depression (Due out later this year).
  2. Me Myself and I Radio Podcast – In order to complement the message of the book, and use my time learning a new endeavor the podcast was born. With a plethora of 5 star ratings and rave reviews, this is not your typical podcast. Now almost two years later and 25 episodes, whatever it ‘is’ it will be.
  3. The Blog(s) — Raising Violet – The Daddy Diaries and the Me Myself and I Radio #blog are where I go to express that which I cannot say. Words do not always come with ease for me. When I write they just “Keep on Flowing…”

Anthony Hayes and Daugther Violet

Fast forward to today. I am now 31 years old, a father, and seldom do I have days filled with “feelingless feelings.” An intricate part of my arsenal against this has been monthly therepy and medication. I am also a member in an online group with a great group of dads created my Larry Hagner.

While antidepressants are not a cure all magic pill, they do help to mask and pain I truly feel inside. A pain that exists for no rhyme or reason. With the right care and will power it is possible to get a little breathing room. After all we are living in a “Prozac Nation” aren’t we Lizzy?

Not having control over ones emotions renders you powerless. Due to the fact that the circuitry mind is ultimately malfunctioning, the body at times often becomes lethargic. So how does someone care for another life if they struggle so much to care for themselves?

Not with ease.

While I do not identify with my depression and use it as a handicap, it sure slows me down when it hits. Violet is a handful and the most important thing in my life. Violet pushes me to a better father, and more importantly a better human being.

I do not look to glorify this topic, I do not look for sympathy. What I do wish is that we all do our best not to be so quick to judge. You see we are all fighting a battle inside. The only difference is our circumstances. We all face obstacles. What sets us apart is the journey we take to get there.

For some a journey lasts till you get to your destination, for others the journey lasts forever.


Watching Cartoons with Violet

How can I get help for depression? Start Here

If you or you know someone who is Suicidal, help is available 24/7 at the Nation Suicide Prevention Hotline.

“Control the controllable, as for the rest Keep on flowing…Just be.”

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Author, Podcaster, Blogger, Dad, Mental Health Advocate.


  1. Francheska says:

    Awesome read!

    At some point in their lives people hit a low point and overcoming that is amazing.

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