A real tough cookie
So, my dad. A few years ago, he had a major breakdown. Something to know about my dad is that he's always been quite a stoic person, kind of old school, but overall a happy person. That's why when he had this breakdown, it was very jarring and alarming, and it really shook me up. Thankfully, he recovered, but not in the way hoped; he's never been the same. I'm still worried about him, but my impression is that, because of his old school personality, he is embarrassed about his breakdown, and therefore refuses to acknowledge it happened. Like I said, I'm still worried about him, and I'd like to be able to ask him if he's okay, but I feel he won't respond well to it.
Last night, I had a sudden panic attack. We were talking (about nothing in particular) when it happened, and so he asked if anything had upset me. I ended up saying something along the lines of, 'I'm just upset all the time', and he responded that he knew all about that. Now, I'm unsure whether he meant he knows all about my condition, or if he knows all about being upset all the time. I've been wondering now if I should have tried to push further to see if he wanted to talk about his own problems? Should I try to bring it up? I can't tell if this is him trying to reach out or if that's some wishful thinking on my part.
Regardless, I still really want to be able to talk to him about his breakdown, about his current mental health, etc. But I'm really just unsure how to approach it. It's real delicate. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (:
Now that the ice has been broken, what about inviting him out for a coffee and general chat, and while there, comment gently that you had the attack when he was there, and you feel he and you are on the same wavelength because of shared experiences. You might find he could become a really good ally to and for you and you for him. I feel really hopeful here for you. Let us know how it goes.
Hi Lady Stardust
My husband and sons are stoical types and the only way I can get them to open up a little to the point where they'll discuss something is to work side by side with them. Things like gardening or building a piece of furniture or painting, watching sport, seem to work and then stopping for a cup of tea and talking. It might take a couple of times to get the message across that I do want to listen and am concerned. As you said it's been a few years since your dad had the breakdown, but I'd still advise to go gently and slowly. Reaching out is hard for many people but it is worth you asking him how things are because you say that he has never been the same. I can hear that you care very much - I hope it goes well for you both.
Thank you for the advice. I think you're right the ice has been broken, or has at least been chipped at. It's going to be difficult, because I get anxious about what his reaction to questions regarding his own health will be, but yes, I'm really hoping that we can start to work together on this. We'll see how it goes. (:
Thank you, that's a good point: he does enjoy working (building and miscellaneous maintenance), so I think I will try and help him with whatever he's going to work on next and then try and gently bring things up. It's definitely about being gentle, but like I said, am anxious about his reaction. But I can only try. And thank you again, fingers crossed!