Category Archives: Sleep

PPND. It’s more common than you think.

img_0228-2Postnatal Depression is only clinically defined for women

PPND or Paternal Postnatal Depression hits one in five men after they become fathers. It’s quite a startling statistic and one that could possibly be higher as men are less likely to be as open as women in sharing their feelings.

In terms of depression – in general – if you’re a man, you’re more likely than a woman to try to hide your depression or to withdraw from others. This only worsens your symptoms. As for PPND, some research suggests that it develops more gradually in men over the course of the child’s first year than postpartum depression develops in women.

Postnatal depression in men is more common among those who have been diagnosed with depression before, or whose partners are also suffering from postnatal depression. And it’s more common in first-time fathers.

Having a new baby is a huge change, involving physical exhaustion and extra worries. It can be particularly difficult to balance the demands of work and fatherhood, especially as you might feel under pressure to earn more while your partner is not able to work.

Researchers are also beginning to discover that men often experience depression in ways that are different from women. Men sometimes cope with their symptoms in different ways too. These findings might help explain why even trained mental health professionals frequently overlook or misdiagnose men’s depression.

To better understand men’s depression, it’s useful to look at both the classic symptoms of depression and symptoms that may be specific to men.
Classic Symptoms of Depression

  • Depressed, sad mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping or over-sleeping
  • Restless feelings and inability to sit still or slow down
  • Fatigue, loss of energy, or tired all the time
  • Worthless or guilty feelings
  • Impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

To be diagnosed with depression, a person must be experiencing five or more of these symptoms, including either depressed mood or loss of interest, over a two-week period. These symptoms must also be causing significant distress and interfering with the person’s social, work or academic functioning.

One of the problems with this classic diagnosis of depression is that researchers are beginning to recognize that men often don’t acknowledge feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or guilt. Researchers – and clinicians specializing in helping men – are also beginning to recognize symptoms of depression that seem to be unique to men.

Symptoms of Men’s Depression

  • Increased anger and conflict with others
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Violent behavior
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Being easily stressed
  • Impulsiveness and taking risks, like reckless driving and extramarital sex
  • Feeling discouraged
  • Increases in complaints about physical problems
  • Ongoing physical symptoms, like headaches, digestion problems or pain
  • Problems with concentration and motivation
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies and sex
  • Working constantly
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Misuse of prescription medication
  • Increased concerns about productivity and functioning at school or work
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing conflict between how you think you should be as a man and how you actually are
  • Thoughts of suicide

A man who’s depressed won’t experience all these symptoms. Some men experience only a few of them, while others experience many. And how bad these symptoms get also varies among men – and over time.

What Can You Do?

  • Don’t try to ignore these feelings and soldier on.
  • And don’t resort to drink, drugs or burying yourself in work in an attempt to cope – this is a short-term fix and will do more harm than good in the long run.
  • Remember that your health is important to your partner, to your baby, and for his/her development.
  • Seek help from the start: don’t wait to be asked by a health professional, such as your family health visitor or GP, about how well you’re feeling or coping.
  • You’re more likely to recover quickly if you can acknowledge the problem and actively seek a solution. Consider asking for support or practical help from family or friends or consulting your GP.

The important thing to know about these symptoms, and about men’s depression, is that they’re treatable. You don’t have to continue suffering from them. And although it’s a very serious – and sometimes life-threatening – condition, you can recover from depression.
You wouldn’t continue to walk on a broken ankle forever. Don’t continue to suffer from depression any longer. Get help now.

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Teething Troubles

teething troubles
1. Lit. pain and crying on the part of a baby whose teeth are growing in. Billy has been whining because of teething troubles.
2. Fig. difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project, activity, etc. There have been a lot of teething troubles with the new computer system. We have finally gotten over the teething troubles connected with the new building complex.

Last night at around midnight, as I sat on the edge of our bed, head in hands, looking bleary eyed at the night-vision images of our screaming daughter on the baby monitor, I had a sudden feeling of deja vu. 

For the last four months or so, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a baby sleeping from 7pm to 7am, who doesn’t cry and is generally a very happy little being. Much of this is thanks to the expert help and guidance we received from the Sleep Fairy, Dee Booth. However, to date we’ve also had a daughter that has so far produced only two teeth.  We both know that more teeth would inevitably come and with more teeth comes more teething. And more teething means more saliva production, more stomach acidity, more nappy filling poonamis and ultimately a generally unhappy little person that will sleep less and by default cause you to sleep less.

With the first two teeth, we seemed to manage things fairly well; the pain with Calpol and Baby Neurofen, instant soothing with Nelsons Teething Granules and Teething Gel along with chilled teething rings for her to chew the crap out of. Unfortunately, none of these remedies deal with the vast quantities of runny poo your beloved baby will produce at the most inconvenient of times. I can’t over emphasise just how much and how often. This also produces nappy rash to the point where your baby’s backside will resemble the flag of Japan.

“And it burns, burns, burns. The ring of fire. the ring of fire” – Johnny Cash

This time round though, the teething has come out of the blue. We had a lovely day yesterday at a 1st birthday party and our little Tinker was impeccably behaved enjoying all the soft play and toys that the parents had arranged. She was on top form and made us both feel like very proud parents. She even went to bed without any fuss whatsoever. And you see, this is what they do; they lull you into a false sense of security so that when you least expect it, whammy! The screaming horror is unleashed once more to remind you what your sole purpose in life is right now. Roughly two hours of crying later she finally succumbed to the pain relief and fell soundly asleep until just before 7am this morning. Mrs DADiator and I on the other hand, have had to put in a full day at work (her) and spend every minute of her waking hours feeding/entertaining/changing/sedating her (me). To say I’m tired is an understatement as it’s taken me the best part of three hours just to compose this post.

Anyway, to summarise and bring this post to an end; teething – it’s the shits.

Sleep

IMG_2328As a single man in my twenties and early thirties, I had no-one to answer to other than myself. Well, apart from my boss at the time. Oh, and possibly my parents. So when it came to my sleep routine (if you can call it that), bedtime was governed by whatever was worth staying up to watch on TV, and waking up was an hour which, at the time, seemed ridiculously early. This of course was completely different when it came to the weekend, when it was ‘normal’ to get home after a night of mild drunkenness at around 4am and then pass out, I mean sleep, until well after lunchtime. How I managed to do that week, in week out is beyond me, as most evenings nothing other than liquids entered my digestive system.

Now, as a married 40-something year old, my sleep routine is very much dictated by my 10-month old daughter. I realise now how valuable sleep really is. According to the National Sleep Foundation, for adults between 18 and 64 years of age, it is recommended to have between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Most of us look for that golden 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which allows for our bodies to regenerate and recover, ready for what the next day has in store. Sadly, the reality is that most of us get nowhere near as much sleep as we need. The modern lifestyle, increased commuter times, varying work shifts and generally trying to cram too much into a day, affect our natural body clock or circadian rhythm.

When my daughter was born, I was remotely aware that my sleep would be affected.IMG_2506 Moreover, my “…life will never be the same…” or words to that effect, gave me the impression that parenthood wasn’t something to be taken lightly. Now, I’m not prone to exaggerating, but the first eight weeks or so of being parents, almost broke us. One evening in particular, our daughter had been crying incessantly from 5pm until almost 11pm. I’m not talking a little bit of a wail every now and again. I’m talking full on, nuclear meltdown which measured over 100dB (thanks to an app I downloaded).

Physically, there was nothing wrong with her; she’d been bathed, fed, nappy changed, temperature in room perfect. She’d be put to sleep in her Moses basket and, just when we thought she’d fallen asleep, it would start. And it wouldn’t stop for hours. During this onslaught, we’d try to continue as normal with our evening routine; preparing dinner then eating it, discussing our day (mine at work and my wife’s at home), talking about what the following day had in store…It was impossible. We just couldn’t shut out the screaming coming from our baby’s room. It sounded like she was in pain. Terrible, terrible pain. The truth was, of course, there wasn’t really anything physically wrong with her. It just happens that some babies cry more than others. Thankfully, I found out about Purple Crying around this time which helped us cope and understand this was all a developmental phase and one she would grow out of fairly quickly. To our relief, that night was the turning point and our daughter soon started to settle and sleep a little better, although nowhere near the 14-17 hours recommended for a newborn up to 3 months.

Sleep deprivation is detrimental to ones wellbeing, particular to heart health,

Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

When you add parenting into the mix, you absolutely, positively, need all the rest you can get. Personally, I just can’t function if I haven’t had at least 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. A fog descends over me, rendering me incapable of giving anyone 100% of my attention. I get headaches, backache and am generally cranky. Mr Grump you might say. Mr Bloody Unbearable my wife might say.

Of course, sleep is just one factor in maintaining good health. A balanced diet, exercise, drinking plenty of water, all contribute to staying healthy and reducing the chances of infections and illness.

As I write this, my daughter is enjoying her post-breakfast morning nap from 9am-10am. When she wakes, it’s off for a brisk walk with the dog to breathe in some of that clean country air and make the most of the sunshine, as I fear it won’t be around for much longer.