Smoking Dads’ Frequently Asked Questions About Nicotine And Depression

I grew up seeing my father with a lit cigarette between his fingers or in his mouth almost every hour. He told me that he had been smoking since he was 15 years old. Back then, he did it as a dare, but he tried it again and eventually got hooked. Dad said that he spent his allowance on cigarettes and would sneak food from home not to need to spend a dime for lunch at school. 

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In reality, I was not against my father’s smoking in the beginning. He was always “surrounded by clouds” and could make different shapes with them, so I thought it was fantastic. Truth be told, whenever my friends and I would do pretend play, I would often hold a pen or crayon between my fingers and pretend to take a puff. 

However, when I was in third grade, I got diagnosed with asthma. My parents were surprised about it because I did not show symptoms until I was nine years old. Still, it was what it was, so all I could do was nebulize and stay away from exhausting activities and fumes. This diagnosis meant that Dad would need to be a few meters away from me if he wanted to smoke, and then he would have to shower before coming close to me so that I wouldn’t get a whiff of the cigarette.

Despite that, my father was fine with the new arrangement. He would do anything to make me safe – that’s how much he loved me. But deep inside, I knew that he was glad that we found a way for him to continue smoking. He would have stopped in a heartbeat if that’s necessary for my well-being, but I was also sure that he did not want to do that.

Then, The Inevitable Happened

When my asthma became controllable after a couple of years through exercise and moderation, my parents decided that we were all prepared for another baby in the family. They got pregnant quickly, and my little sister, Samantha, arrived in no time.

Unfortunately, Samantha came as a premature baby with congenital heart disease. Her condition made her so fragile that my mother had to wear a sterilized gown that doctors wear during surgeries, as well as gloves, a mask, and a hair cap, before holding Samantha. As for my father, since the doctor found out that he was smoking, they advised him to look at the baby through the glass wall because the smell of cigarettes might not be good for Samantha.

The news obviously devastated my father. Seeing your child in such a vulnerable state and not even being able to hold her hand could make anyone’s heartbreak. Hence, Dad made the abrupt decision to quit smoking. We were all unable to believe it at first, but then my father made a show of ransacking his cigarette stash and crushing every stick before dumping it all in the garbage. He also had the car and the entire house thoroughly cleaned to get rid of the smell of cigarettes, which seemed to stick to all the walls as Dad smoked in there long before I was born.

When The Depression Reared Its Ugly Head 

I thought that my father’s smoking problem ended when he dumped his cigarettes in the trash. However, no one was prepared for the withdrawal symptoms that he experienced afterward – not even him.

Dad was finally allowed to hold Samantha on the day that she got released from the hospital. He also got a paternity leave so that he could spend time with all of us. It was an excellent choice, considering Mom needed help at home while her surgical wound from the C-section she went through was still healing. She trusted my father to look after everyone, including the house.

At first, my grandmother from my Mom’s side offered her help, but Dad said he could do everything independently. He tried to prove that by making my breakfast in the morning and preparing my lunch and snacks for school. Then, he would go outside for 15 minutes with the baby so that Samantha could get her daily dose of vitamin D. After that; he would start cooking for Mom, clean the house, wheel out the garbage bins, and do everything else that Mom used to do. 

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By the end of the second week, though, Dad began to mess up with his activities. One time, he slept in and forgot to wake me up, so he had to drive me to school and buy my breakfast, lunch, and snacks at the local gas station. He also left the baby’s feeding bottles boiling for hours, so he was left with melted plastic in the pot. My father finally broke down and cried when he couldn’t make Samantha stop crying one midnight, but he didn’t want to give her to Mom, insisting that he could handle her. In the end, both Dad and the baby were crying all night long.

The next day, Mom made Dad believe that we would go hiking since she was already feeling better. Instead, she drove to a psychologist’s clinic to have Dad’s mental health checked. It turned out that he was dealing with postpartum depression (Yes, it exists in men, too!), and nicotine withdrawal could be worsening its symptoms.

Can nicotine cause depression? 

Yes, nicotine can cause depression. According to research, smokers have a higher chance of developing depression than non-smokers.

Does nicotine act as an antidepressant? 

Yes, nicotine technically acts as an antidepressant. However, constant nicotine use can be harmful to your mental health.

Why does nicotine make me sad? 

Nicotine makes you sad because your dopamine level drops after a while when its effect goes away.

Is smoking good for depression? 

Smoking can be good for depression initially, given that it increases your dopamine level and makes you ‘high.’ However, it cannot do you good if you smoke too often. 

Is smoking bad for depression? 

Yes, smoking is bad for depression. That is especially true if you are a chain-smoker.

Do cigarettes help anxiety? 

No, cigarettes do not help decrease anxiety. The opposite may feel like it at first as it makes you somewhat high, but when you come down, you may get more anxious than ever.

Why do I get dizzy when I smoke? 

You get dizzy when you smoke because carbon monoxide hits your system and robs you of oxygen, making you dizzy.

Are smokers happier? 

Yes, smokers tend to be happier while smoking, considering the nicotine boost their dopamine level. 

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Does quitting nicotine help anxiety? 

Yes, quitting nicotine use helps decrease your anxiety level.

Does nicotine worsen anxiety? 

Yes, nicotine can worsen anxiety over time.

How long does depression last after quitting smoking? 

You may get depressed three days after you quit smoking. Then, it can last up to two weeks.

Why do you get angry when you quit smoking? 

Experiencing anger after you quit smoking is a withdrawal symptom. 

Do you get angry when you stop smoking? 

Yes, some people get angry when they stop smoking. It is expected since they go through a withdrawal phase.

What does cigarette withdrawal feel like? 

When you experience cigarette withdrawal, you feel like you can do anything to get nicotine in your system. That includes eating nicotine gum, sticking a nicotine patch on your body, or even sitting next to a smoker. Then, you may become temperamental for a few days.

How many days does nicotine withdrawal last?

Nicotine withdrawal may last up to 14 days.

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Final Thoughts

My father struggled with postpartum depression and nicotine withdrawal for a couple of months. It would have gotten worse if he did not let my mother step in and share his load, which was clearly a little too much for him. He eventually managed to shake off both conditions, and it’s been two decades since the last time that my father had a puff.

 

Counseling Made Me Realize How I Can Be A Good Father To My Son 

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 Crossing the bridge into fatherhood spans a life stage where both King roles (as Provider, Rule Maker, Protector) and Lover roles (as Birth Coach, Intimate Partner, Co-Caregiver) carry less impact than before. There is a new game afoot. — Jonathan Bartlett, MA, MFT

Fatherhood is not an easy place to be in, and it’s not something you can leave when it gets hard. I have to admit I’m still in shock and new to this whole different world of being a dad. Unlike women who played pretend-to-be-mom growing up, I played cars and toy guns. It seemed like chaos was the ultimate fun! 

  Continue reading Counseling Made Me Realize How I Can Be A Good Father To My Son 

Dads And The Battles They Fight

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A stereotypical family setting denotes patriarchy in its modern-day glory. The husband goes to work during the day and provides the needs of the family. At night, he is welcomed home by a lovely dinner prepared by the wife. On the other hand, the mother stays at home, takes care of the needs of the children and husband, and does the housekeeping chores such as cooking, cleaning and everything else the family needs. Lastly, the kids go to school and study hard for their bright futures.

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The Challenges Single Dads Face Everyday

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Despite the rising numbers of single-dad households in the country, they continue to face and silently battle these seemingly simple, everyday challenges.

More often than not, fathers are involuntarily relegated by family courts to the role of “accessory parents,” instead of active caregivers. — Edward Kruk Ph.D.

Continue reading The Challenges Single Dads Face Everyday

For Single Dads: What To Do When Your Daughter Starts Asking “Those” Questions?

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Some families are lucky enough to have both mom and dad present in their daughter’s life. In this case, it’s the mother whom the daughter can run to when puberty and boys make their life more exciting.

…recent Census data (US HHS) show that there were 1.96 million single fathers in 2012 (with 16% of custodial single parents being men) and an estimate of 189,000 stay-at-home dads in 2012 (defined as those who were out of the labor force for at least a year to care for children younger than 15). — The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMF

On the other hand, dads usually take care of their boys when they finally have “the talk.” But what happens when dads have to do both? Are you ready for questions about their first period, their crush, or their self-esteem issues? Although you might feel less knowledgeable about your daughter’s teenage predicaments, you still might be underestimating just how much you can help.

Be Extra Sensitive

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Know when it’s time. More often than not, your daughter will try to hide everything as much as they can. It is the time in their life wherein they feel embarrassed about what’s happening with their bodies.

It might be better to slowly initiate a conversation with your daughters rather than wait for them to come to you. If you do the latter, you might just be waiting for nothing. It might be awkward at first, but they will appreciate your concern far more than you can imagine. Even before that, do your research or talk to other people so that you don’t go in empty-handed.

Don’t be a stranger to your daughter. Be sensitive enough to create an environment where they don’t have to hide things out of embarrassment or fear of you.

Good fathers engage in less risky behaviors – I had a father who decided to quit smoking once and for all so he could be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. — Chen Oren, Ph.D.

Ask Help From Others

Let’s face it: dads know about a boy’s puberty. They are all too familiar with problems involving girls and all the fiasco that comes with being a teenage boy. With girls, however, it is an entirely different terrain they haven’t tried to cross.

As much as dads want to be a guide for their daughters, sometimes it is just different when “the talk” is with their girls. If you feel like you are an insufficient guide, then you might want to tap your trusted relatives or friends to have a friendly chat with your daughter.

Try not to make a big deal out of everything. It might make your daughter feel even more embarrassed to open up. Instead, be as casual as possible. Invite some female friends or relatives for lunch, brief them about your problem, and let them work their magic.

Of course, this will still be a case-to-case basis. Do you think your daughter will willingly open up to other people aside from you? Or does she need more privacy and want to talk only with you? With these questions in mind, you can approach the situation accordingly.

Don’t Just Be Her Dad

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Your daughters might be longing for a mother figure or, really, just any woman they can trust. Your judging them is the last thing they need when they open up.

As a father you take a lot of pride and integrity in your relationship with your children. Your main priority is to be the best possible dad you can be, but the circumstances of divorce can make this difficult or even impossible. — Andra Brosh, PhD

It is the perfect time to act not only as a dad but also their friend. Your daughter will have lots of questions, and you have to make sure that you answer from your heart. They will feel that you care for their welfare and, in turn, build a trusting and open relationship with you.

So, there you have it. Don’t worry; this experience doesn’t have to be painstakingly awkward for either you or your daughter. It might all seem daunting, but it will surely elevate your father-daughter bond to the next level. In the end, you will find that she treats you as her new best friend. How much better can that get?

How To Be A More Hands-On Dad

With our busy schedules even outside our 9-to-5 job, it’s hard to be active and present in our children’s lives all the time. By the time we know it, we’re missing out on so much, like their first goal in soccer class, their recitals, or their science fairs. Sometimes, our wives are even at the receiving end of our lack of time. We begin to innocently forget small things and, eventually, start missing out on anniversary dates, birthdays, dinner parties, and such. Although fathers present their love and affection in multiple languages other than presence, this can have undeniable effects on our kids still.

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Fathers are not just providers. While we must focus on ensuring we have food on the table, we also can’t deny that our fatherhood is compromised at times. No dad wants this, so this guide below can help you thrive at work while also being present in your wife and child’s life.

Deciding what kind of father you want to be is important and laughable at the same time. Laughable because the days, weeks, and years are unpredictable. Having a co-parent may make it easier, but it also introduces the unpredictability of another person. — Justin Lioi, LCSW

Share Responsibilities

Fathers should not be the only ones who assume the role of the provider. Sometimes, fathers tend to detach themselves from other responsibilities because of work. They think that, because they are earning for the family, they are already relieved from other house tasks.

We must realize that these all fall to our wives, who are carrying the load we should be sharing. Delegate and agree on specific household tasks that you and your wife should be responsible for.

It is easy to be ignorant about what our wives feel. But one great way to start being a more hands-on dad is to be a hands-on husband too. Empathy is vital in making a family work. Realize that you are not the only one tired from a long day at work. With this understanding, we can start to share the same empathy with our kids.

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Children who live with their fathers have better physical and emotional health, better academic achievement, and lower incidence of drug use and delinquency. — Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.

Prioritize Family

Don’t wait until you no longer know how old your child is before you start making efforts. Make it a point to at least maximize whatever free time you get with your family.

After work, try to spend at least 15 minutes to play with your kids or ask how your wife’s day was. Help in washing the dishes, taking out the trash, or putting the kids to sleep. Read them bedtime stories when you can, or initiate a movie night.

Weekends should mainly be a work-free time dedicated for you to bond with your family. Try planning a lovely family day occasionally to remind your family that you are still present.

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Most fathers today are keen to experience both the joys and challenges of parenthood, derive satisfaction from their parental role, and consider active and involved fatherhood to be a core component of their self-identity. — Edward Kruk Ph.D.

Be Available, Accessible, And Approachable

Sometimes, being physically present alone won’t do. You must make sure that you are there in the moment physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We underestimate how much our kids sense our interest (or lack thereof). Being mentally absent is sometimes even worse than not being there at all. Fathers must maintain a positive and loving attitude whenever we’re with our kids. Do not project stress from work onto them. Instead, think of family time as an escape from all the work-related problems you might be facing.

When you are with your kids, involve yourself as much as you can. Do not just stand there waiting for them to finish so that you can go home. Immerse yourself in their activities. Through this, they will start to feel that you genuinely care about their interests.

Once you follow this guide, you will realize that fatherhood is not a chore, and you should never treat it like one. Enjoy it and love your kids to the best of your abilities!

Can’t Go To The Barbershop Anymore While Your Kid Pursues Psychology Degree? Here Are Tips On Tapering Your Own Hair

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Sending your child to university to get a psychology degree tends to entail that you have to make sacrifices to help him attend school without worrying about student loans. For one, you might work double shifts or look for a part-time job. You may also sell a property to be able to pay for their tuition in full. You are a dad, so no one will question your decisions to give your child everything that he or she needs.

Now, in case you want to give up going to a barbershop to save some money, you should know that you can taper your hair even if you are not a professional.

Tools You Need

  • Clipper Guards
  • Hair Clipper
  • Comb
  • Scissors
  • Mirror
  • Shaving Cream
  • Razor
  • Fade Brush (Optional)

Method 1: The Free-Hand Taper

Step 1: Picture Out The Cut

How short your shortest hair will become depends on you. It’s alright to copy your favorite Hollywood artists’ do or search for the cut that will match the shape of your head and face.

Step 2: Utilize The Scooping Motion

After thinking about the haircut, attach the guard to the clipper. The scooping motion is a technique in which you run the tool from the nape to where you want the taper to end. Feel free to interchange the guards to blend the style.

Step 3: Trim The Sides

Take the comb to roll the strands upwards and then the clippers to chop off the hair that sticks through the former. Since it’s a taper, your locks have to thin out from top to bottom.

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Step 4: Cut The Fringes And Top

The scissors come in handy in case you wish to create bangs or shorten the top. Just remember to comb up for the latter and comb down for the fringes. Considering it is the first time you’re doing it, perhaps make tiny cuts until you get satisfied with the length.

Step 5: Check For Irregularities.

The final step is to get your handheld mirror while facing the bathroom mirror to ascertain your taper is smooth.

Method 2: The Sportsman’s Taper

Step 1: Chop Off The Top Portion

Utilize the clipper with a 1/8-inch blade to trim your mane starting from the crown towards the forehead. What it entails is that you are cutting with the grain of the hair so that it stays a bit longer.

Step 2: Cut The Locks At The Back And The Sides

Continue working along the same direction of the hair. Take your time to ensure that it’s even on both sides.

Step 3: Taper From The Temples To The Ears

Attach the ¼-inch blade to the clipper and move your hand diagonally from the temple to the ear area. Then, instead of removing it abruptly, pull the tool away from the head. It should make the blending easier.

After that, change the attachment with the 1/8-inch one. Taper with it in both open and closed positions respectively, and do the same thing for the 1/16-inch blade. Unlatch the guard once done before running the clipper without any accessory over the blended portion.

Finish the step with the 1/8-inch attachment to get rid of the excess waves on the hair.

Step 4: Work On The Hairline And The Back

It is very significant to run your clipper up to the middle part of the ear with the ¼-inch guard to create a division between the top and bottom layers. This will remind you of where to stop the tapering.

The next thing to do is perform the scooping method like how we’ve explained it in the first method. The only difference is that you need to do it with and without attachments. The order to remember goes this way: 1/8-inch blade (open and close), 1/16-inch guard (open and close at a 45-degree angle), and no attachment (open, half-closed, and close). You also have to blend everything with the 1/8-inch guard after all of that.

Step 5: Line Off The Hairline And Temple Area

Press your clipping device lightly into the central part of the hairline. It serves as your guide in doing a straight line closest to the forehead. Follow through by making a sharp cut where the hairline meets the temples on both sides. Be sure to have a large mirror in front of you.

Step 6: Create An Outline Behind And Around Your Ears

After curving the haircut down the sideburns, pull one ear away from your head to reveal the hairline behind it. Trim this portion diagonally in a similar manner as with the strands on the temple area.

Step 7: Clean The Outline With A Shave

Cutting the hairline can leave patches of hair detached from the rest. For this reason, you have to smear the shaving cream on them and shave off with a straight razor.

Step 8: Style It As You Please

The sportsman’s taper is usually short on every angle, so you can brush the hair forward and apply pomade on it.

Method 3: The Gentleman’s Taper

Step 1: Cut The Top Layer

Combing the hair parallel to the ground, chop off several inches from the crown area. The length left should be long enough, however, to prevent it from sticking upwards. It becomes your guide as to how long the strands on the sides and the back have to be.

Step 2: Start Blending Around The Head

Maintaining the same position of the comb, utilize the scissor-over-comb system for blending the hair from the crown to the top section. Always begin at the middle going to the left and right sides to keep the balance.

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Source: picryl.com

Step 3: Blend The Side And Back Areas

This time, work on the lower segment of the head with the same technique to mix it with the upper layer.

Step 4: Use The Clipper For A Semi Finish

The fourth step asks you to practice clipping over the comb to produce a semi finish. Angle your clipper at 45 degrees to cut the hair near the temple area nicely. By placing two fingers above the ears, you see where it should end.

Step 5: Apply The Blade-On-Skin Technique

You may put the comb away for now and adjust the hair clipper to the open position. Perform the scooping movement for this step so that it seems naturally tapered, and do it again with the blades half-closed and closed.

Step 6: Tidy Up The Sideburns And The Ear Section

If you are already happy with the outcome, get your T-trimmer to emphasize the sideburns and remove the excess strands behind both ears.

Step 7: Shape The Neck Area

Line off the neck area at the back of the ears as well and shave up the back without touching the tapered part. It is supposed to clean the hairline.

Step 8: Shave The Outline

Considering the T-trimmer has left stragglers out, you can eliminate them with a razor after applying the shaving cream.

The Verdict

As you have probably noticed from the methods above, the necessary tools for each are almost similar with small variations. With practice, we are pretty sure that you can do any of these methods and will not have to hire a professional to achieve the tapered look ever again. Cheers!

Anxiety And Depression In New Dads

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Depression and anxiety are usually associated with women, especially those who just gave birth. This mental state is considered a disorder since it has a significant effect on the person’s behavioral, mental and emotional state. However, anxiety and depression can happen to anyone. And this is also true for men, specifically new fathers.

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