Thanks so much to everyone who sent in questions for my first Q&A. I thought it was a good opportunity to get to know each other better on the blog! I have picked a few to answer on here and hope they're useful in some way. I want to do these Q&A's every so often so make sure you comment below anything else you'd like answered.
How do you cope with down days when you're really not sure where your head is?
I talk to people. I know that can seem like a basic answer but I am pretty sure it's actually saved my life on multiple occasions. When you have depression, anxiety or suffer from addiction you see the world wrong. You have a distorted, negative, faulty perception of reality. You lose the ability to see truth and it's very hard to work yourself out of it. Speaking to another person does two things for me. Number one, it reduces the power of the thoughts in my head. When they're privately swirling around in my mind they are gaining momentum and importance. The moment I say them out loud they usually just sound a little silly. The second reason speaking to another human is so important is that they have the ability to give you another point of view. They give you the ability to see the situation in a different, more positive (and usually more truthful) way.
And if it's really bad? I just remember to take it easy on myself and realise that it will pass. Think about it. Nothing lasts forever even if it feels that way. Light always finds a way back in.
What is your greatest passion?
My family. They are everything to me.
Is being a Dad harder and more rewarding than you thought it would be?
Being a Dad is FAR harder but FAR more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. During the first six weeks I was probably having a mini breakdown every single day. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility and terrified by my own limitations. If I am totally honest I don't feel much different today. I am just getting used to it. On the other hand being a parent has validated my whole existence. It has changed the way I see the world and my place in it. Creating this little life with Ebony is, and will always be, the best thing I have ever done. She can change my whole world with a smile.
Do you feel too young or did you feel a sense of being ready before you tried for a baby?
It depends on what time in the day you ask me! At 10am I feel like i'm the perfect age and totally able to cope with parenthood. By 7pm I am craving sleep and daydreaming about the lack of responsibilities I had the previous year haha. I guess the truth is that none of us truly feel ready 100% percent of the time. I knew I wanted a baby before we started trying but I was still terrified about the reality of what that meant. That may still be the case now! In all seriousness though, I think becoming a Dad young (ish), is awesome.
How did you manage to separate anxiety from your life as I struggle badly with public speaking and socialising.
CBT. I have had to get help other places for different issues but in terms of socialising and public speaking I can not rate CBT highly enough. It helped me be able to speak to people again. It helped me be able to pick up the phone again. To be completely honest it changed my life back when I spent most of my time in the back room of my house watching movies and drinking. If you are from the UK you can get it on the NHS for free.
With reference to mental health...is being a Dad a welcome distraction or an additional stress trigger?
I think it's a welcome distraction. It definitely puts things into perspective. One of my main problems is I can be incredibly self centred and that behaviour can be massively damaging for me and my mental health. If i sit and think about myself for long enough it will not end well as my head will spiral into negativity. The amazing thing about having a baby is the time allocated in a day to thinking about yourself is VERY much reduced. You have a new focus and that is keeping this little bundle of joy alive. The answer to happiness for me is to think about myself less and others more. Becoming a Dad has made that happen regardless of whether I wanted it or not!
Hi David! I've seen you go to Church. Have you always been spiritual / religious? Did it help you with your sobriety?
Religion, spirituality and God carries a lot of baggage so it's a tricky question to answer. I always shudder slightly when I have to answer if i'm religious. When I think of religion I think of rules. I think of Sunday school and a old man in a cloud who judges us from far away. I think of being sat on uncomfortable seats wearing uncomfortable trousers at Christmas time. I think of limitation rather than possibility. Religion is a tricky concept and I'm really not sure if I am religious or not. I do believe in a God of my understanding though and I'm starting to think those two things can mean very different things. That hasn't always been the case though. Up until a few years ago I was a strict atheist and proud of it. It was actually getting sober that prompted this change and it's my relationship with God (as I understand it) that keeps me sober today. Of that I have no doubt.