Originally posted on Fatherly.com
By Mike Valliere, Children's Trust program participant
Through most of my twenties and thirties, I struggled with depression, anxiety, rage, and suicidal thoughts. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, major depression, and PTSD. Still, I wouldn’t get the help I needed. I just wanted the pain and my life to end.
That changed when I learned I was going to be a father. It’s not that I was able to fully let the past go, but I was forced to focus on the present and ensuring that my child would have a better outcome. I knew I couldn’t do that without help so I began taking my mental health seriously. I knew I had to for my daughter.
Not long after Hailey was born, her mother left, leaving me a single dad in a new town. I went to the local library looking for activities I could do with Hailey and learned about the family center, a program of the Children’s Trust.
I started attending family center playgroups with Hailey and learned of the free parent education programs that they offered. I took the Nurturing Father’s program, a 16-week parenting education series to learn new and effective parenting techniques. I found it so helpful that I took every other program available.