I looked for another counsellor, which took about 6 months to find, by which stage I was worse…panic wise. I was avoiding everything and anything that increased my heart rate or caused any kind of disturbance, and that included time spent with the mokos, which was heart breaking. I decided to go with a Maori practitioner, hoping that the cultural thing may give me some more insight.
She pretty much said right off the bat, that what ever was going on for me, she wasn’t equipped to deal with it. I appreciated her honesty! We talked though and she suggested intermediary things I could do before I saw a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. These included meditation and mindfulness…both of which I was doing anyways…a sensory box, to help with panic attacks…so on and so forth. As things got worse she ended up visiting me at my home instead of me doing the standard 2 hours of trying to get ready to get in there. She advised ACC that I needed urgent attention and that the longer it was left, the bigger the mess there would be to clean up – but in more counsellor like language lol. And we waited.
At the beginning of the year, as me and the partner were thinking about separating, again…his best mate topped himself.
This event did a few things, besides the normal grief and crying and wondering why.
My partner has two extremely good mates…BFFs lol…he doesn’t like me calling them that…but they are. He grew up with these dudes…went to school with them…got into trouble with them…they all had a bond that was probably closer than family at times. It was one of these two that decided to end his life. He left behind 4 children, the oldest was 17, the youngest was nearly 2.
My partner is what I call ‘old school in a new school body’. He’s pretty old fashioned…old fashion loyalty…expectations…way of being. He won’t admit any of it, but he is. And underneath the hard ‘I’m a mans man’ exterior, he is one of the softest, gooey-est human beings I know.
When his mate died…he crumbled. And it was the first time I think I’ve ever been really worried about his state of mind.
He headed up to the tangi (funeral)…he went up the day after his mate died actually. He wanted to make sure it was actually true. Heres the thing with him and I…I’ve had trauma after trauma throughout my life…some big, some pretty average, some just…blah. But it’s not till I hear or see someone elses grief or emotion to a trauma, that I realise how slightly fucked up my trauma radar is. Death is a kicker; gets you every time. My solution had been…not to get close to anything or anyone, then you don’t miss them when they die. Sorted. I never understood…and still don’t sometimes…how he manages to be so social and friendly and in someone elses face all the time. But the intimacy and bond that he has with peeps like this mate of his, is not something I have ever experienced with a friend. My children, yes. But not friends. I’m reserved…and only give away so much. I scratch just the surface of things when it comes to intimacy with others…that way they think I’m being open with them…they’re satisfied…but I’m not really. But my partner, was devastated and reacted in the ways that he knew how. With his fists…on the punching bag. With alcohol…and other stuff I won’t go into. He avoided crying or talking…the crying bit I got…but not the talking…he usually talks more than me! He wandered around in circles and stared at the wall then did more laps.
He rang when he got up there…and I could hear the break in his voice. And even though we were on the verge of separating, amicably…I felt for him. I hadn’t realised how much I had come to know him…I knew he was tired and in pain…and couldn’t explain what he wanted to. And all I wanted to do for him…was protect him.
Me and my daughter drove up…well she drove…and few days later. When we got there we viewed the body…said what we needed to, to his mate. My girl has a deep way with this sort of thing…and she did what she does…beautifully. I was a bit more clinical I suppose…but I did me. I gave his mate a bit of a boot and said ‘You idiot, what the fuck are you up too’…then I cried.
The tangi itself was hugely emotional…as they are. But there’s something quite…I don’t know the words…gutt wrenching?…but more…about being at the tangi of someone who has chosen to end their own life. I get it…I so get it. But we’re looking around at his family and friends…and his beautiful children. His little boy kept looking at his daddy…touching him…and he wouldn’t move…then baby boy would cry. That is soul disturbing. The implications are felt buzzing through the whole room.
And for me, I was worried about my partner. We left him up there for a couple of weeks…he helped his mates father out with his house, and helped the family get his mates clothing and personal effects from the police station and funeral home. They did karakia (prayers) over everything, and blessed the house and the place where he took his life.
I came home and decided a few things. One…time to get off the medication. Two…we needed to separate or make it work, but stop torturing one another. Three…I actually loved him, my partner, more than I thought I did. Four…I needed to move away from the city and go to the beach.
I worked on the medication thing…against the doctors advice, and slowly, (over about 2 months) and painfully reduced all my medication. The only ones I didn’t tackle right away was the sleeping meds and antihistamine. They were my saviours…and I didn’t want to fuck with that just yet. I had awful side effects from withdrawing…a condensed and concentrated version of what had been happening for the past few years. I was still a bundle of panicky nerves…so as far as I was concerned, the medication wasn’t working and to add more to that cocktail, was just ridiculous.
When my partner came home, we talked…and cried, finally. And decided to go on a holiday. We’d never been on one in the near 6 or 7 years we’d been together. And we’d never been alone together for longer than a couple of days.
It was the best thing we ever did. And he proposed, and I said Yes.
Then he came round to the idea of leaving the city and moving to the beach.
For me, my thinking was, if I’m going to be stuck inside, I’d rather be stuck inside, at the beach. Where I can open a window and hear the sea…where I could hear the birds, and feel the sunshine…and the peace. We started looking, and that was a tiny nightmare all of its own…but we were making moves. And that’s all I needed.
In amongst all this, my youngest girl had moved to Australia. She’d done a chefs course the previous year and passed with flying colours, and had secured a fly in fly out job working at some resort in Australia. She loved it. But she also missed home. Not our home per se…but her home land. I’ve heard a lot of Maori talk about this when they leave the country and go live somewhere else…they get quite sick sometimes…and end up coming back. And that’s what my girl did. She lasted about 5 months and then she came back for a holiday. And then she became pregnant. She had been pregnant a couple of years beforehand, and had decided to have an abortion. It broke her heart :(. So she decided to keep this baby. She is our moko, number four 🙂
Also at this time, my other daughter was pregnant with her 3rd baby and she had her when my youngest girl came home from Australia. That little poppet is our third moko 🙂
This year was strewn with mixed emotions…and not always bad emotions…and big decisions…and mokos…and love…and panic…and more big decisions. But it was all movement. All progress.