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Saturday, June 9, 2018

on Kate, and Anthony, and Kurt, and mental health

Let's talk about depression and mental health issues.

Because we need to talk about them more, and realise that we all have flaws, we are all human, but there's a huge societal pressure to present a bright sunny exterior to the world at large. To 'keep up appearances' and seem to be coping.

And much of the time, all we really need is a kind word, a shoulder to lean on, a friend to listen.

That has become harder in the age of digital, when it is all too easy to notice your differences with other people than your similarities. When the world is increasingly polarised as us and them, rather than us together.

I know of which I speak. I'm a survivor of suicide. My much-loved mother didn't know how to love herself and the void she left in the world affects all I, and everyone who loved her, do.

Every day, for better and for worse.

I've been visited by the dark dog of despair myself, and thankfully have had friends and family, whanau and whanautanga to rescue me from myself, plus a strong, strong survival instinct that comes from being an Irish Maori.

We don't die easily.

I have also recently been incredibly fortunate to be put in touch with a doctor who looked at me more holistically, did a raft of blood tests and diagnosed a mineral disorder that prevents the neurotransmitters in the brain from metabolising seratonin - the happy hormone.

It's a disorder that even many medical practitioners don't know about - actually, being an Irish Kiwi, I had to overdo that also. Two disorders and a mutated gene.

Methylation Disorder, and because I'm me, I have managed to be both under- and over-methylated, plus Pyrrole Disorder, plus a mutation of the MTHFR gene, that interrupts my absorption of folate.

As I said, I'm lucky at this stage of my life to learn all this, and understand why I never felt good enough, smart enough, brave enough ... never 'enough'.

This is from a gal who has sailed small yachts across oceans, hitch-hiked in Kenya, dined with heads of state and ridden a totally unsuitable motorcycle on a wild and veering path across the United States. But always felt unworthy.

Now, with the daily addition of activated minerals to my body, I no longer feel that way. But I understand those who do, as I also understand those who suffer alongside them.

I wish my mother had the help I'm getting. It may have made the world of difference.

I also wish Anthony and Kate and Kurt had the layers of loving friends I have, but they lived at a level where it is hard to know who is genuine and who is with you for what it can do for them.

It's too easy to get disconnected from friends and conversation at that level, especially when your livelihood depends on other people's perceptions.

One thing this experience has taught me, now that I've stopped judging myself, is not to take on anyone else's judgments either.

I still have issues - everybody has issues - but I no longer feel responsible for the state of the world, or the Donald (as a child, my nemesis was Idi Amin, and I would scheme how to erase him while lying in my bunk bed at night) or for trying to be 'normal'.

My mantra now:

If I could achieve all I have in my life while feeling unworthy, what am I capable of now I believe in myself.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Saturday, December 16, 2017

a demain mes amis . . .

It's been a long time since I have posted here, as I've been in a limbo of health issues and relocations, and this will be the last post for even longer.

I've landed in Melbourne, Australia, and started a job with a media company that asks that its employees not keep personal blogs. I've been there a month now and like the job and the team, so am happy to accede to that request.

I'm still on facebook so am not disappearing from the ether completely so will no doubt see some of you there for the foreseeable future.

Au revoir pour le moment . . .

Friday, July 28, 2017

home . . .

It's been difficult coming home - my fault mainly
noun: home; plural noun: homes
  1. the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
  2. an institution for people needing professional care or supervision.

So here are some thoughts on the arrival:

There's nothing quite like coming home thinking you might be something or someone (lol) to get that knocked out of you.

My country is really good at knocking the confidence out of you, then giving it back in a whole different way

I love the silence. I have missed the silence. But it takes time to be able to sleep with that vacuum.

I'm sure there must be a more Jedi way of saying this, but silence cannot exist without noise.

Sometimes, when a car comes roaring around the corner and spins out, or I hear women being abused in the car park at the local supermarket, I feel that is a whole other level of silence.

AND it needs to be addressed

oops, this next one is awkward


I love my brothers, and uncles and nephews, but damn, Aotearoa favors entities with penises

as does most of the world - I just expected better of my whenua

and, I have no right to critique, because i chose not to live here

Awhi and Aroha

and then, this is what matters

the aunties, the cuzzies, the people who care about you because you are whanau (family), or might be whanau, or just care about you anyway

the people who matter are the ones you choose

awhi and aroha

Friday, July 7, 2017

le sigh . . .

I was sorta scolded yesterday for the lack of original copy here

Sorry Dear Reader, I had nothing much to say

"Woke up, ate, walked, went to gym, watched tv, went to bed."

Rinse and repeat

There's a whole 20-30 years away disconnect that leaves me agog at times, and a need to accept that the country and culture has changed, not just me

It's not a criticism, but it can be hard to say without it feeling that way

Then I got a job, because living on a sofa watching tv doesn't work for me, and I've been in full immersion since then, and it's hard. I didn't really belong when I grew up here, so coming back after so long is even harder

BUT, and there's always a but with me, this is my home, I am tangata whenua, this is where I belong. I'm stubborn enough to stay here until I feel that in my bones, in my marrow, in my wairua

I need to write more, I have lots to write and lots of notes, but this weekend is mapped out for a more important plan

Jeff - criticize all you want. I understand it's not an attack but a questioning and it would be extremely hypocritical of me to not welcome questions. Hugs and pats to the girls

Thursday, June 15, 2017

four weeks in ...

four weeks tonight since I returned home, and it's taken some adjustments.

Aotearoa definitely isn't Asia, if you disregard the geography.

in many ways, it feels like relearning a language, and constantly making mistakes in the processs.

I seem to have become impatient while overseas, imbibing more of Korea's "pali pali" pulse than I realised..I've also learned some brash overconfidence from my years in China, and that only works at home when you're bragging about sports. Getting a job here by saying you can do anything needed hasn't been the best plan.

So I'm starting from scratch, taking a job in a government call center on a temp basis while I seek something that suits better. Because there is only so much tv watching and crocheting I can take before I go mad, and I actually like to work. Plus I'm strewing crochet projects around my friend's home, some of which I'm already displeased with and know I will unpick.

It has been interesting, and I possibly scare the other users of the nearby riverside walk by being overly effusive - "good morning", "have a great day", "is it ok to pet your dog?". I feel I might need to explain that I haven't had a lot of conversations in English for almost two decades, and I'm relearning how it works here.

Sometimes it doesn't, I've seen the ugly side of my country in one episode in the supermarket car park where a young male was screaming from a car offering to pay bottom dollar for sexual services. I've also read about the P (methamphetamine) problem we have, and the other issues that stem from it.

I've been reading too much - not working has made me more of a media junkie than previously, while less of a fan. That's an issue also, the cost of Internet access is ridiculous here.

but, it's home, and if there are things I don't like, then I need to analyse why and, if it's a valid complaint, do what I can to change them for the better

that wasn't really an option in other people's countries

Monday, May 22, 2017

the Kiwi has landed . . .

After 17 years, I'm back home in Aotearoa / New Zealand for the foreseeable future - and it's grand.

The small town / small country characteristics that annoyed me as a teen and young adult - where everyone knows everybody else's business and everybody - now seem part and parcel of being accepted into a community and I've seen and learned enough in my travels to no longer be concerned at the opinions of those who don't know me.

My welcome home has been incredibly warm, despite the cold of the approaching winter. A dear friend has welcomed me into his home and it feels much like about 35 years ago when we also shared a house, tho with more occupants at the time. Much else feels the same - I accompanied my friend to a band rehearsal on Saturday where we barely stopped laughing (I suggested the band go on the road as a comedy act) and it felt just like the days of my misspent late teens.

Except, perhaps, that by 10:30 that night, we were sitting watching tv and drinking herbal tea while I crocheted - not quite the hard rocking days of yesteryears.

Sunday, we went to the the local market to check out what was on offer, then had lunch with the band's guitarist, and it feels very much that I am back where I belong.

This week, my job is to find a job, so I sent off applications for a few interesting possibilities this morning, before walking down to the banks of the Waikato River about five minutes away to practise yoga and exercise. It's incredible to have such peaceful beauty so close by.

I feel so much better that it's difficult to reconcile with how down and depressed I was in Hong Kong. Emotionally, I'm being gentle on myself and enjoying the peace of being at ease, which salves me physically and mentally also. Physically, I'm still recovering from my recent and prolonged illness, but I'm sleeping well and eating healthily and feeling better each day.

I plan to reconnect with whanau in the area this week and sort out random bureaucratic issues, and hope I'll have employment here before much longer. I also plan to start things in motion for the book project I've had in mind for some time.

The adventure of life is back on track . . .