Dad: The Irish Carpenter

First of all, thanks to everyone who sent messages of support and encouragement during the last few weeks (Months), I really do genuinely appreciate it 😊

This is my first post for quite a while and during the time of my ongoing anxiety attack I’ve considered some of my past experiences and came to the conclusion that maybe my dad suffered from the same sort of anxiety that I’ve experienced.

As I mentioned in a couple of previous posts, he would disappear for weeks and weeks without any indication he was going. Maybe life became to much for him, he was extremely laconic so I guess I’ll never know.

If he did suffer from the anxiety that I have, am experiencing, then I don’t think I was any help to him because of the way I dared to tease him when I was in my early teens. If you have read my previous posts about my mum and how violent and volatile my dad was, then you will understand how stupid I must have been to antagonise him!

I remember the day after he had returned home from one of his many ‘Walk-abouts’. I think it was the beginning of summer because he decided in his infinite, drunken wisdom, to build a garden shed (What for? He was hardly ever fucking home) The thing was, he was no carpenter!

Anyway, he began to construct this monstrosity that even a homeless person would have thought twice about using as a temporary shelter.

Towards the end of his construction, he was having a spot of bother making his homemade door fit into its less than square frame. I was sat strategically watching from the top of the garden, staring intently as he struggled and cursed. My dad was Irish, equipped with a think Irish accent that few people understood. Taking that into consideration, I started dancing around the garden pretending to be an Irish leprechaun, singing in my best Irish voice ‘ Father, it’s shit, it’s going to fall down, it’s the house that Paddy built’. In no uncertain terms he told me to shut up and fuck off, which forced me to dance and sing and laugh all the more. He chased me twice but I was on my toes and away, only to return quickly and carry on taking the piss!

It was a very good job I was aware of the danger I was putting myself in because I just managed to dodge a lump hammer that was heading straight for my head!

I heard a cry of “Bloody hell” in the near distance and looked to see my friend watching over the fence as i ducked the hammer and ran a safe distance away!

My friend and I laughed about that incident many times, making it especially amusing because my prediction actually came true, his beloved shed collapsed during a particularly windy day during that very same summer.

I remember my dad occasionally sitting in the living room, looking at the tv but not actually watching it. He would sit there without saying a word, in a tormented world of his own. When anyone came to the house he would disappear upstairs until they had left. My mum never berated him, so maybe she knew he had problems with socialising. The strange thing was, he always questioned my mum about what they had said and wanted! I remember thinking why didn’t he stay in the room to find out for himself?

It never made sense to me, he never made sense to me, but now I sort of understand his anxiety. I guess way back then, people didn’t talk about any sort of anxiety.

I’m lucky I guess because people are more aware and more understanding about social anxiety.

I must be improving slowly but surely, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this post. It’s a small step in the right direction, I hope.

16 thoughts on “Dad: The Irish Carpenter

  1. Yes, it is, John. Keep writing. Your dad may be a mystery that will never been completely solved but I feel certain there is more that you can learn through your memories and experiences with him. He sounds like a troubled/tortured soul. SO happy you dodged the hammer!!! My dad was the quiet type and avoided people also. Then out of the blue — or it seemed to me as a child — he would wig out and scare the crap out of us with his yelling. He seemed to target the brother just 18 mos younger than me with violence.

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  2. I’ve two friends who got anxiety issues. In one case, it was mild and did not disrupt her daily life too much. She was aware of the condition and went to doctor for medications which helped. Another friend’s case was more severe, where he totally shun public life, even close friends and relatives.

    Writing this post is an improvement; a bigger step than you think 😉 slowly and steadily, focus on the solution, not the problem 🙌🏼

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  3. I’m very glad for this post too and to hear you talking it through which is better than stuffing it down or saying nothing, which it sounds like your dad did, since he had no idea what was happening and probably didn’t know the steps to take to address it. Just acknowledging that something unusual is going on, I think, is a huge step. 🙂

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  4. Actually John your post made me giggle, and reflect all at the same time. My dad was Irish and your account of dancing around the garden like a leprechaun really made me giggle, because I had a similar experience. My dad would retreat to the garden, which he was slowly covering in concrete, section by section ( as was the want on the 80s!) one day he was in a bloody minded mood and decided to mix the concrete under the washing line where all my hand washed clothes were hanging: ready for my holiday 2 days later. I asked him not to do it, and he told me to fuck off. So I (blessed with his Irish temper) stormed out, picked up the watering can and proceeded to make deep swirly patterns in his wet concrete. I can remember looking at him & thinking shit! He’s going to kill me!’ As he lunged at me I grabbed both his hands & we proceeded to do a staggering zombie type dance around the garden, whilst I was screaming for my mum. She came running out with the end of the hoover, cracked him over the head with it and dragged me indoors, locking the door behind us. My poor dad fixed his concrete & went out for a bike ride ( which I now understand was to calm him down). The next day he gave me £20 towards my holiday budget.
    We are lucky now that we have so much more support and understanding available to us, times have truly changed because I know now that my poor dad had all the symptoms of depression I understand now, & wish I could tell him that today. It’s good to have you back John, I thought this story may make you laugh, it does Rich & I. Moisy❤️❤️

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  5. John, that’s a moving story. We can never truly know what is inside another’s head, tormenting and challenging them. I think we’re all lucky to be living at a time when there is a greater emphasis placed on listening. Really glad you’re feeling better. Do you get out in the light and walk like you’ve spoken about before?

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