Anthony Field's tips

We asked Anthony Field (the blue wiggle) for some words of encouragement or tips to help dads living with mental illness.

Anthony is a father of three children and has lived with depression for many years.

Anthony is fully aware of the importance fathers can have on their child's life. In his autobiography How I Got My Wiggle Back, he writes about the profound impact his father had upon him as a child; and into adulthood particularly when he experienced chronic depression.

Anthony says he learnt a lot from his father and although he lost his dad several years ago, he still looks to him for inspiration.

Now, if feeling troubled, Anthony thinks about how his father would handle a situation.

I'll ask myself, 'What would Dad have done?' Crack a few jokes probably, before taking responsibility for the situation. If something's wrong, fix it. If you need help, ask for it. Put one foot in front of the other, and repeat.

I've decided to shut the door on negativity. It pops open from time to time, but it's helpful if I close it quickly. Making that simple stand allows me to get on with what I have to do...I'm putting one foot in front of the other, like Dad.

Anthony’s dad led him towards treatment.

Ironically, I was laughing and smiling on stage, relishing bringing joy to preschool-age kids. But during my downtime, alone with my thoughts, I'd flit between feelings of inadequacy and disgust with myself for being selfish—letting my moods interfere with my otherwise charmed existence. I was so ashamed I couldn't bring myself to talk to anyone about it, which of course makes matters much worse. Fortunately, dad was watching. One day, quietly, deliberately, he took me aside. He didn't need specifics; he didn't need me to explain anything. He simply told me we would overcome whatever it was that was pinning me down.

It was a wonderful act of love and typical of my father. Dad found me professional assistance. It kept my head above water. Depression continues to be my unwanted companion from time to time, but it no longer holds me hostage ... We're winning Dad.

Anthony writes candidly about overcoming depression, life-threatening illness and chronic pain in ‘How I Got My Wiggle Back’, an autobiography referred to as part memoir, part fitness and health manual.

Dads - if you're living with mental illness (your own or a partner's) you can find more helpful information on our Dad's page.

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