“I feel like becoming a dad kicked it off, but looking back in retrospect, I’d had it for a long time.”
Gold Coast dad Christo has revealed that becoming a father in his early 30s brought with it a new form of stress, leading to a depression diagnosis.
“I became a dad, but was also working incredibly long hours and felt like I was torn in all different directions,” Christo tells myGC.
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“I was guilty about not being there enough as a parent and husband, and also not being a good enough worker.”
Part of 102.9 Hot Tomato’s breakfast team on the Gold Coast, the 44-year-old is now the proud father of three beautiful kids with full-time working wife, Sarah.
“Sarah is like the UN in our house. She and I recognise the signs (of depression) now, so that when something happens, she just jumps on it and will say “I’ve got this. Go and do what you need”.”
In a world where there is a lot of chatter about how to support working mums, little is spoken about how to support working dads.
Their role within the family unit has also changed. There is an increasing expectation on fathers to spend more time with their children and be more hands-on in the household.
“The depression tells you, you’re not doing enough. You’re not being there for your wife or children as well as you should be,” Christo reveals.
It’s this growing pressure, along with an outpouring of support following an on-air confession one morning, that prompted Christo to create an online platform for men to share their feelings.
“I mentioned it once on air, that I was taking medication. And there was such a level of people who reached out to me after that, that made me realise I should do something more.
“I’ve got this platform where I can connect with people, and I feel I need to use it, not just to connect with men and dads, but also women.
“A lot of wives have contacted me, describing how their husbands have gone, “I’ve heard him talk about it, I think I have the same thing”, that’s what has compelled me to do more.”
Christo recently established the website Dads with Depression, along with a closed Facebook page where men can either chat with him privately or within an open forum discussion.
“A lot of the dads have said, they’re not feeling they’re being a good enough dad. So I’m trying to find articles and stories to show they’re not the only ones. And it’s only their brain talking.
“Guys can jump on and talk about things that are going on in their lives and I’ve already heard such incredible stories that they just had to get out and share.”
Christo explains that he’s not giving advice that should be sought through a medical professional, but acting as a sounding board.
“I don’t give advice, but I share what I’ve gone through and how I’ve managed it.
“A lot of the time, people just need to share what they’re feeling and know they’re not alone,” he explains.
“I have been contacted by a psychologist who wants to start writing articles about ways to handle depression.
“And other dads have told me they want to share their own stories, which is really encouraging.”
Sarah, a freelance writer and author, is also going to publish articles on the site to give a wife’s perspective.
If you would like to be part of the conversation, go to dadswithdepression.com or visit the Facebook page for access to the private Facebook group.
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 13 11 14 | visit website
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 | visit website
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 | visit website
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 | visit website