The Stented Papa
Hello lovelies and welcome to our next instalment of “Featured Friday”. This week we are chatting to Ross aka the stented papa. I had the pleasure of meeting this charismatic guy at a blogger event a few months ago. This guys honesty, openness and genuine kindness really struck a chord with me. He may have literally been through hell this past while but he knows and values the little things in life. He also knows the true effect of both physical and mental illness. I hope he will inspire some of you like he has inspired me.
Please introduce yourself. Do you blog?if so please tell us about it?
Hey folks, I’m Ross aka The Stented Papa. I’m a 38-year-old dad to two beautiful girls that I call ‘The Nips”. Nip#1 is Mia who is four (and a half!) and Nip#2 is Elle who is 16 months. I live in Dublin with my amazing partner of eight years, Mel – aka ‘The Missus’, who became my wife only a few months ago.
I gave up work at the start of the year due to health issues and I’m loving being a full-time stay at home dad to my two girls and our dog ‘Noodles’. I’m also a Daddy blogger. I blog about my health, family and our adventures including our ups, downs and everything else in between.
Do you personally or does someone close to you suffer with a physical and/or mental illness?
It’s me. Whilst working late at home around the start of November 2015, a stressful work situation caused pains in my left arm and across my chest. I instantly knew what it was, bad hearts run on my Dad’s side of the family. Long (long) story short, I got myself checked out and was told I’d multiple signs of heart disease on both sides of my heart and a good bit of work was required. This came as a big shock. Four stents were inserted into my heart on the 6th January 2016 at the ripe old age of 37.
Looking at the glass half full, (i) I didn’t have a heart attack, (ii) I went in at the right time before something really bad happened (my cardiologist’s words, not mine) and (iii) I am one lucky man. Having said all that, the six months or so after the stents have not been easy. I’ve had numerous panic attacks and have ended up in hospital many times with chest pains. Thankfully, my last panic attack was months ago as was my last unscheduled hospital visit.
What has illness taught you?
To not take life for granted. Enjoy your life and be thankful for what you have be that children, your home, job, family, friends, car etc. Whatever you have, that’s what you need to enjoy. Far too many of us always want something else. I’m not saying don’t have goals and aspirations – do and I’m also not saying just settle for what you have – don’t. I’m saying, be mindful of who and what you have and enjoy every second of having those people and possessions in your life.
Please tell us something not a lot of people would know about you?
I suffered with depression on two separate occasions during my twenties. This is the first time I’m admitting to it on a public forum. My family and close friends knew although I’m not 100% sure they knew just how much an effect it had on me. I got treatment and (eventually) pulled through with zero relapses since. In fact, I’ve turned into a much stronger person mentally because of it. Also a hell of a lot changed for me in life when I met my wife Mel. I was on medication when we first met and naturally I was reluctant to talk about my illness. It’s not exactly the first thing you tell someone ‘Oh hey, lovely to meet you. I’m Ross and by the way if I don’t say much or I say the wrong thing or just act weird, don’t mind me, I’m just suffering with depression’. So I had to hide it which was hard at times. On our 3rd or 4th date, I wasn’t feeling very confident and was over thinking everything. When I was quiet I’d tell myself ‘FFS, say something’ and after I said it I’d think, ‘Agggghh, why did you say that you idiot, what the hell is she gonna think of you now’ – horrible, negative mindset and thoughts. So I told her I was sorry for being off but there was a reason as to why. My heart was in my mouth as I told her I was on Lexapro because I was suffering with depression. It felt like sink or swim time. I feared this woman who I was mad about could be turned off very fast with an admission like that but she wasn’t. In fact, she was amazing. Her reaction blew my mind. She didn’t judge me one bit, she helped me. This grew my confidence like you wouldn’t believe. It was like Mel just removed the biggest weight from around my neck and I could breathe again. Not only could I breathe but I had this amazing person to help me. She was the key – this new person in my life at the right time and I didn’t know it then, but it changed my life. No judgements only understanding and compassion. Someone who cared. After only nine months of meeting each other, we moved in together and pretty soon after I stopped taking medication. My ‘crutch’ was no longer needed and life changed for the better. We are now together eight years and have two beautiful girls, a beautiful home, great family and friends and got married last August. Further to that, I am mentally strong with zero negative thoughts. In fact, I now see the positive in practically every situation. The right person can change your life, I know, I’m living proof of it.
By the way it is important to mention during my time with depression thankfully I never once had any suicidal thoughts. Yes it was a horrible, lonely, dark and confusing place but I was lucky to not experience that side of things. I always knew I wanted to live and get back to being me again so that kept me motivated.
Who inspires you and why?
Genuinely? my wife, Mel. She is an amazing woman. She’s a beautiful, sexy, sassy, funny, strong woman and a brilliant, brilliant Mum. She’s also an excellent business woman bursting with great idea’s but more than that, she can execute on those ideas. She’s also my best friend.
I also take inspiration from those with disabilities who are doing the most amazing things with their lives. You hear their back story and think, ‘Holy 💩, what has that poor person gone through?’. Then you see what they can do/have achieved and think, ‘Holy Shit, that person is amazing’. I then think, what have I got to complain about? Nothing. Nothing compared to others anyway. Like I said above, be thankful for what you have.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Jeepers!!! In the world I’d have to say home with my family. Genuinely it is.
Outside of our home, I’ve always loved Italy. Florence or Naples for example. When I was there I found the Italians had a certain touch of class. Their style and confidence grabbed my attention. Also I love the sound of their language. It’s on my bucket list to learn (some day!!).
In Ireland my favourite place is Galway. I absolutely love that place and would love to live there someday – watch this space!!! When I get this blogging lark working efficiently and it starts to generate an income, the ‘laptop lifestyle’ in Galway could be one step closer 🙂
Outside of blogging what do you like to do with your free time?
Excluding quality time with my family, I love going for a drink with my buddies but that only happens about two or three times a year now as most of us have kids. When it does happen it’s dynamite, not so great the next day though! I also love going to the cinema, nothing beats the smell of popcorn and watching a great flick. I’m also a big fan of sport, well watching it, mostly rugby, football, snooker and formula 1. I also may enjoy shouting at the tv whilst watching said sport. Lastly I like to run (in the rain preferably) not marathons or anything next or near it but a distance that suits me. That could be 3km or 10km depending on my fitness levels at any given time. It’s my head space, my time. I also recently started attending a Ukulele class and am really enjoy it. I’m going to continue with it and see where it takes me.
If you could sum up your life in one quote what would it be?
I read this a while ago and really liked it:
‘Never regret anything because at one point in time it was exactly what you wanted’.
The Stented Papa can be found at: