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side effect irony

from pts(d) expression series #111 – Feb 7, 2017 @ 08:00

ulcers and headaches

anxiety and depression

vertigo and hair loss

nausea and vomiting

night terrors and tremors

‘addiction’ and suicidality

don’t forget the panic attacks

and ptsd.

“Lets medicate and see what happens…”

dizziness and diarrhoea

anxiousness and drowsiness

a dry mouth

agitation and nausea

chest pain and sweating

insomnia and chills

a cough and difficulty breathing

forgetfulness and tiredness

sad and shaky

unsteadiness when walking

faintness and nightmares

hyperventilation and nervousness

light headedness and confusion

blurred vision and heart palpitations

sleepiness and disturbed coordination

epigastric distress and hypersensitivity

photosensitivity and shortness of breath

rash and hives

bleeding and mood changes

vomiting and trembling

headaches and panic

suicidality and restlessness.

****

“Think yous was better off

at the beginning of that trip!

#JS”


#throwback Aug 27, 2015 @ 11:44

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my life: my 1972 beginning

Of course I wouldn’t remember what I was up too in the first year of life … so I’ve worked with the stories I remember being told.

My Grandfather was a constant … the Love of My tiny little life x

What I’ve also learnt since the original writing of this, was I was a happy baby … a happy child. Now thats a nice thought ay xo

#throwback First Published Apr 30, 2015 @ 01:43


I’m not sure what time I was born, I must ask…but I arrived mid year, 1972. From what I remember being told, I was late…are we surprised? No! lol

I was born into a climate of change….revolution I guess. From what I can gather, this was the era that Maori were reinstating their rights and making a shit load of noise to be heard…their protests and cries changed history. My mother was part of this. Again…am I really surprised I am like I am then?

At home, once again from what I’ve been told, my mother was ‘sad’…she was married to my father, but not in a happily married sense. My father was mean to her. Which is a nice way to put it…he said he was cruel to her…she never really said anything. Just that she wasn’t happy with him.

She wasn’t happy at all though. She had glimmers of it, but not much. She said she thought about ending her life before I was born, but she didn’t because I was in her womb. I think that was supposed to be consolation at the time. I don’t know that I took it that way initially. It just made sense. My own sense of aloneness and unwantedness, made sense. I didn’t belong. I wasn’t looked forward too. Or so it seemed. It left a wound.

My mother left my father when I was about 7-9 months old I think. Grandad came and got her and me, and took us back to their place. I loved my Grandad :). Apparently, my father told me this, my Grandad decked my father when he came to see us at their home. Apparently it was the only response Grandad ever had to my father. My father didn’t come back. I don’t remember missing him. I don’t ever remember him till later on in life. So he was neither remembered of missed.

I think we lived with my Grandparents for a while. I love my Grandparents…I was a good baby….my Nan wanted me to stay with her and Grandad. But I didn’t, not all the time.

This is what I’ve been told. It feels about right…and of course I don’t recollect this period…but it feels right.

*

It’s so easy to remember what’s seared into the memory, the things that you’ve been told…the hard wired fear.

It’s not so easy to recollect the good things when they seem to be swamped with the negative. My life has always seemed a negative.

But, after finishing last night, I remembered other things id been told.

Both my Grandparents adored me….I was the first moko for my father’s side, from my father; his first child. I was named after my paternal Grandmother. They were from the east coast; Maori speaking, and a huge family. Indigenous peoples.

My paternal Grandfather, said to be a violent man, had died before I was born. Turns out he was also in WW1 and died upon return. My father was his name sake.

My maternal Grandparents were hearty old schoolers. 5 am start, garden, breakfast, washing out before 7am, in and folded before 10am. Lunch at 12, afternoon tea and 3, dinner at 5, the news at 6, bed at 830pm. Hard working, they both ran their own businesses; Nan a self-taught hairdresser, and Grandad a builder by trade after returning from WW2. They were healthy, not always happy, but healthy and strong. They were solid people, reliable people, giving and loving people.

My mother was the second of three live children. The only female. She was apparently quiet, reserved, pleasant and sweet. Super talented introvert.

Her older brother was outgoing, loud, a fighter and a lover. He was passionate. He was an alcoholic also. I remember his love and roar. A drummer, singer…super talented introvert disguised as an extrovert.

My mothers younger brother was an asshole. A sickly child and a tortured soul. He turned into a sick man.

My maternal Grandfather was indigenous, his family coming from the river. His was the era though, that being ‘white’ was encouraged. The native tongue was discouraged. His father was Scottish. And I think it was his father’s father who was French-Canadian; id have to double-check that though.

My maternal Grandmother was from a small town up the west coast, her parents immigrants from England I think. Her father was Irish or Scottish I think. I strong stroppy woman who had had her fair share of shit to deal with. She recounted stories of being treated unfairly, being unloved. But I think these were some of her darker times.

So I was born into a climate of depression, separation and anxiety. But I was also born into a climate of innovation, entrepreneurship, survival, hope, strength, talent, music and love. I came with deep indigenous roots, a soul that searched for meaning and justice. A multi layered, faceted and cultured heritage.

#mystory

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my challenge : the explanation

Bit of a backstory.

I started blogging at the end of March 2015.

I ventured down this avenue because I literally had no-one to talk too … well anyone that would listen anyway. And I had a tonne of thoughts bustling around my big old brain. Pts(d) was a new diagnosis and I was angry and sad and bewildered and fucked off … and fucked really. When I go over these writings, I remember exactly what it felt like Then … and that even though some days are still pretty fucked, they are Nothing like they were then. I Couldn’t leave the house. That’s different than Choosing Not Too leave the house. I had little idea of what was going on and a mixture of ‘qualified’ opinions, googled symptoms, my intuition and what I’ve always had: some gangstah ass strength!

Anyways, a month into blogging and I realised I had no idea of who I was … not really … my memories were a haze of pts(d), drugs, nightmares and pain.

So I recollected, year by year, as much as I could, and documented it here. I think only one person read it all, and that was my friend Johanna … who I am eternally grateful for xo But one person was all I needed. Sometimes I think 1 person to take the time to listen, is all any of us needs really.

I’m going through this segment again … because I can … because I need to remind myself where I’ve been … my journey … my life story … and My Changes … my peace making efforts …

That I am a non-conformist … that I am finding my own feng shui … that I am more gangstah than I realised … that my narrative is being re-written – slowly and steadily ;)

#throwback : First published Apr 27, 2015 @ 23:02


I’ve had lots of moments and memories in the last week or two. I seem to lose them as fast as I have them though. That’s whats partially led me to the following personal challenge…

I’ve decided to take a journey through my life….to retain and document my memory of me; to open up and then lay to rest what I need too.

Its not that I haven’t worked on me at all. I’ve done lots of talking, writing, research, soul searching, trial and era, meds, no meds, natural remedies, ‘alternative healing’, councelling, psychologists, education, focusing, meditating, breathing, CBT, tapping, diets, no diets, change in eating….the list goes on. Its all part of my discovery of who I am, what I am. And I guess this is just another part of that.

At my last ‘assessment’ I was told by the well meaning, reasonably pleasant psychiatrist, that my recollection of timelines, dates and events all revolve around my children’s life moments. Not a bad thing. But I have come to realise I’ve had my identity so wrapped up in them, I’ve hidden in it. I’ve forgotten who I am. And forgotten to develop me. I have a lot of difficulty remembering what I’ve done or who I am outside of them.

My children are my defining moments in life. They are why I’m still in the land of the living. They’ve always had my heart, not always my presence or emotion.

My survival has depended on being logical; clear cut; cold and simple. Living in ‘hypo arousal’ made this my normal. And even if you tag all the psychological titles to certain behaviours, its still my normal. I’ve tried to eradicate these behaviours, but they are part of my make up; my survival; they are who I am, with or without PTSD. They are my normal. Therefore I’ve tended to make logical decisions at times when I possibly needed to use my heart. My emotions? They are definitely unexercised and underutilised muscles that I am trying hard to get into shape.

What I do is, make a decision based on what information I have at hand and in its historical context. I analyse the possible outcomes of the decisions I need to make; eliminating the high risk and reducing the risk on the other possibilities. Decision made.

I do this system for just about everything I do. First I desensitise myself by repeating the thought or decision. Similar to playing a song over and over again….the first time may make you cry or laugh or something, because it touches something in your soul.  By the 50th time, you can just hear words. Hear it again in 2 years time and you will remember the feeling that it brought about but it won’t rock you like it did it at the start…well that’s the case for me anyways.  Sheer brilliance I thought! Shame it hasn’t worked instantly on ‘fixing’ PTSD…go figure!

But I have done/still do this for everything. I even have difficulty writing a blog – my personal cathartic vent vehicle! Dah! I have trouble unfolding. I edit, re edit, delete, clean it out, change it round. I simplify and throw parts out. I do the same thing in my home! Yes, I am a self confessed clean freak! I love white walls and clear spaces…minimal, minimal, minimal…funny though, that used to be called poverty, now its a thing!

Soooo, on this new challenge for myself…part of it will be, to NOT edit, NOT delete or eradicate what I write. NOT analyse and reanalyse what I think, reword and rehash. I will document (the word document makes me feel safe lol), my ramble and leave it alone. Well I may still organise it into categories…and then leave it the fuck alone…for a certain period of time anyway! Till I’m finished…yeah till I’m finished. Ohhh I feel anxious already lol!

I’ve always considered myself to be open and transparent, but somewhere along my path I think I started to fool myself into believing my own bullshit. The truth is…I WAS open and transparent, as open and transparent with what I knew at the time. Then there came a time when I decided to ‘leave it be’. Which in itself sounds healthy, but I haven’t really let it be at all. I’ve forgotten on purpose because it no longer seemed viable. And with the help of some serious sleep medication, I’ve lost my ‘mind’ and memories along with it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have never slept well. Well never slept as the ‘professionals’ say is ‘well’. And after a few hard out years I opted for meds so I could get some sleep! Some long, good, well needed sleep! Ahhh. Im now going through the agony of weaning off the ‘dependency making’ pills, without more dependency making pills! Turns out I should have only been taking them for 3-6 months, not 5+ years! – which, I might add, the doctor failed to mention, but google had all the info on!

This leads to the second part of why I need to do this. I was challenged after reading a fellow bloggers piece on her and her daughter. I realised I had cut my children, and my gender, out of my personal recollections to others; and myself. Partially to protect them, partially out of guilt. Partially for my own protection, partially because I hated being a woman. My children are my heart; but therefore my weakness; my Achilles heel so to speak. I need to recollect all parts, not just what’s comfortable and non-emotional.

In all of this, I’ve got to be myself. Evolve into the me I want to be. To accept who I am, in its entirety.

So for the next while, week by week, representing year by year; I will be documenting ME ;)

#mystory

an incident … a narrative

I had something happen the other day: the gory details I won’t regale you with here, other than to say it sent Me into Silence.

In that forced silence I found my old friend Depression.

Now she hasn’t made her presence felt with such force, in a very long time. Some of that may have to do with my ability to deny anything that remotely rhymes with ‘Depression’. I guess I detest the connotations that it rumbles up … the misdiagnoses, the ‘mental health’ issues and stigmas, the battles, the misinterpretations and ‘misunderstandings’. Theres not too much more I detest than the ‘look’ that is bestowed upon the Depressed and the tone that is induced in the ‘sympathiser’ when trying oh so very hard to ‘understand the situation’.

I hate it all.

But Depression is the new go-to word and here I am discussing it.

It feels like a heavy shroud, that covers your entire being. It settles in there and everything in and out seems darker, sadder, heavier … than usual.

And as that settled on my shoulders and in my heart the other day, I could feel my throat start to constrict as the silence strangled my larynx and then thorax. I couldn’t breath.

At that moment I wanted to not be here.

Not be anywhere.

Not dead. But not alive.

Forced silence is My killer.

Too long there has been forced silence. And for too long, when there has been a choice to speak, no words have managed to escape.

It’s the private hell of a small child who cannot talk, walk, cry out, move.

And it was in that moment, of depression and flashback, that I felt a familiar unease … with the familiarity, with the vulnerability, with the inability.

It took nearly 24 hours for it to subside … and as it did, I looked back and was able to identify the moment it had taken hold and why.

I was also able to identify that I am not that little child anymore. And as familiar as those things feel … I am Not forced into Silence literally, but instead flash back 40 odd years and hoover there looking for answers that I’ll never find.

I am here.

I am now.

I was there.

And I survived.

Now I have No need to be Silent.

Unless I want to be.

and it’s all alright ay

Don’t really know where to start … so just going to start … another unedited ramble … and see what comes out …

I never wanted to be High, or on some kind of adrenaline rush. It was, and still isn’t my thing. I’m not interested in the latest buzz or glittery bullshit … which FYI is why advertisements don’t work on Me. I couldn’t give a shit about the latest style, craze or ‘stuff’ that is supposed to make my life happier and healthier. Cos ya’ll know, next week there’ll be another one to debunk the last one …

All I ever really wanted was this – – – – – – – – – –

You know what that is ay? It’s Not Up, and Not Down, its straight up the shizz.

I get now that there are ups and downs in everything … that just cos its a shit day doesn’t mean that it’ll last forever. That being in a shit ass mood doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing … blah blah blah …

But I still don’t like what I call ‘Big’ emotions. Laughter or happiness that feels like hysterics. Sadness or a little down that feels like the whole world is caving in the side of your head. In those emotions I feel lost. Not because they’re mine, but because I can feel them on someone else and I feel like I’m drowning or flying right along with them.

That – – – – – – feeling, means I am Me and am not moved by what they are going through.

But apparently that makes Me an un-empathetic bitch face mole lol.

– – –

slight digression :

had one of those heart to heart convos with my mama awhile ago … she ‘admitted’ quite tearfully, that she felt like she hadn’t really connected with Me as a child; that I was left to do Me pretty much from the get-go.

Maybe thats why I feel quite safe in that place.

Ditched and completely unloved … but safe and comfortable.

I know what to do here.

– – –

end of digression lol.

I know i’ve written about these ebbs and flows of mine, before. But today they feel glaringly fucken painful. I want so much to just feel even … actually to just feel numb. It’s days like this I wish I could drink like I used to. While other people were so stoked that I gave up drinking (years ago now) and ‘forged a new more positive life for myself’ … how little did they know what that actually meant … or was going to mean! And how little They were going to be around for the aftermath!

You know, you can take away someones means of existence because You think it’d be better for Them and just quietly, for You. But really … all you’re doing is taking away their means for coping. I mean, who really gives a shit if they’re hurting no-one but themselves, in your opinion. Does their drunkeness make them smile … sing … sleep?

Then leave them the fuck alone.

Reality bites. We all fucken know that. Why would you want them to suffer that ay?

I aint talking about peeps with kids or peeps that spend all the dollars on drunken antics instead of food etc. But the homeless dude down the road wants to drink his liver into a state of shock … why shouldn’t he? But No, we want him to sober up, get a job, a house aka stress and bills … and be Just Like Us Productive Peeps.

Fuck that.

Again … leave them alone if they’re happily drunk.

Anywho ….

Back to Me … days like today, I’d drink myself into happy oblivion if I could. But I can’t cos that shit don’t agree with Me anymore.

Fuck it all.

Instead, I’ll sit here and type this shit.

Looking for this – – – – – through my words, my writing, my guessing, my unfolding.

Sometimes, just sometimes, shit absolutely fucken sucks ass; and it’s all alright ay.

medication irony

There’s been

Fluoxetine and Paroxetine

Citalopram and Clonazepam.

The Tricyclic, Notriptyline

And the Noradrenaline

Venlafaxine.

Then Naproxen and Nurofen

and Ibuprofen and Promethazine.

Don’t forget the Metoclopramide

and the Metamide.

The Diazepam and the Alprazolam,

the Lorazepam and the Oxazepam.

Then there’s the Dexamethasone and the Valdecoxib,

Meclofenamate and Metoclopramide Hydrochloride.

The Sertraline and the Parozetine,

The Benzodiazepine, Aprazolam

and Zopiclone.

Meclizine Hydrochloride, Antivert and Diphenhydramine,

not to mention Dopress too.

Then there’s Omeprazole and Paracetamol,

Varenicline and Allersooth.

Not forgetting the

Surmontil and Aropax.

And where I wonder are the things

I ‘self medicated’ with?

Well there’s abit of coke, and weed

Plenty of Tobacco and bourbon.

Beer, a few uppers and downers.

A couple of trips

And some red wine.

IRONY?

I thought so.

First Published on: Aug 27, 2015 @ 11:24 ;)

a word or two of remembrance to you counselors

If the help line counts as counseling of any type

Then you sucked ass.

I’m guessing you were trained for not much more

than answering a telephone.

Maybe you should stick to that,

but move to collecting stats.

 

Then there was little lady, Blondie Jane.

Your training included the then in thing,

“lets dig and recall”.

You seemed to know

and like what you were doing

You dug, and you informed.

 

The free dude from the good will place.

Used to working with more derelict types.

Not to condescending,

but definite boundary issues.

Funding ran out,

and I moved on.

 

Then there was the fill in lady:

brown hair, about 12 years old looking.

You were on the soft and mooshy tip.

You asked for a poem

to recollect my feelings.

And then you howled your eyes out.

You might need some more training

me thinks.

 

Then the dude, to fill in the fill in.

Brucey, think your name was.

Controlled and logical, methodical.

I got your jist and understood your logic.

You apparently felt uncomfortable though,

and thought I should go somewhere else.

‘Referred On’.

 

Then there was the Dutch catholic dude:

the child psychologist, he was.

You dug about and found Borderline Personality Disorder,

PTSD,

Depression.

Oh and Oppositional Defiance Disorder for my girl.

Whilst you were full of knowledge,

and way ahead of your time,

you didn’t ‘treat’.

You just, talked.

 

Then there was the psycho drama lady:

that smelt funny.

With big dolls and little dolls,

to talk to.

Think you were ahead of your time too.

But you wanted to dig around far too much.

Looking for stuff that just wasn’t

there.

 

Then the lady with the extremely hairy legs:

With the tapping technique.

You were more interested in marriage guidance.

I wasn’t interested in marriage though.

You said I was a runner,

wanting to be there, but not.

The essence of a sexual abuse victim, victim.

But then what?

 

Then theres the little pregnant lady from Germany:

Nice disposition,

not good at being blunt though.

You ‘discovered’ the panic and anxiety.

Then you became to busy,

and referred on to a Psychiatrist,

that didn’t happen.

 

Then came the short stumpy one:

You didn’t like being questioned,

as you believed your night course certificate

was all the information you needed.

Your theories aren’t real world honey.

Next.

 

Then the culturally appropriate lady:

who turned down her ass music

because it hurt my ears.

Thank you.

You had no theories. No logic really.

But you did realize you couldn’t help, and you were kind.

You referred on,

to a Psychiatrist or Psychologist.

That didn’t happen.

 

Eventually –

The Psychiatrist.

Short and sharp and straight to the $500 an hour point.

PTSD, post Borderline Personality Disorder, post Depression.

Heres some pills.

Next.

 

Eventually –

The Psychologist.

Honest:

as honest as your ethical centre will let you be.

Realistic:

I can appreciate that.

You get paid well for your knowledge though.

 

But what Now?

 

You all added to my knowledge.

You all added to my distrust in the mental health system.

All systems.

You all added to my experience.

 

The End.

First Publish on: Jul 28, 2015 @ 11:47 <3

 

Me: addressing … sadness?

I’ve been ruminating on this for a while … I’ve written about it a few times in the past; from my point of view of course.

I’m at it again, because there is a disturbance in the (my) Force and it’ll come tumbling out all slightly messed up as usual … but oh well ;)

We’ve had a few more suicide attempts within the family; a couple of deaths; couple near misses; the earth (Paptuanuku) has been flexing her muscles which sends unease throughout the masses;  … Theres grief and perplexity abounding all round. Not obvious; but it’s there.

So as the Suicide Hotline numbers are topic 1 on the family Newsfeeds at the moment, and there’s an outpouring of “I’m here if you want to talk … anytime” sentiment tagged onto these Hotline messages; and Topic 2 is Depression and what you should do if you think your depressed  … *not feel ashamed *talk to someone *get help … being the top 3 suggestions            …. I am left wondering the following:

  1. If we really gave a shit about people / family / those in grief / those struggling; why do we offer assistance only after the fact?
  2. Why is the go to anecdote have to do with how sad we once felt and how we ‘chinned’ up and ‘soldiered on’?
  3. Why is the reason to anything we don’t really understand, to do with sadness, have to be labelled as “Depression”?
  4. Does the title Depression make Us feel more comfortable, rather than Sadness?

Don’t get me wrong, Depressive Disorder / Depression in any sense of the word / label is a bitch, no doubt. I was raised around plenty of depressives … I get it.

What I wonder though .. is, were they really depressed? Or is that just the clinical term given to those who then have a legitimate reason to be drugged? By labelling them as such, do we then get to tuck them all neatly away in the corner, drugged up, still rocking … but labelled, so at least we know what ‘that’ is?

From my own groove; I’ve been given more drugs for Depression than I care to remember. No-one actually did a blood test and said … Yes, your whats’its are low and a good dose of this shit will increase those whats’its and you should be all tip top again in at least a decade. No, they questioned me. They ticked a few boxes and because I ticked the ‘depressive’ category, they prescribed.

The problem with questions, from one perspective, or an ‘anti-wholistic’ perspective – is they only ‘fit’ a generalised populace. And generally, that populace, depending on what it is … is white, mid age, mid class … not, indigenous, not sensitive, not artistic, not unique. Generalised, is just that. Unfortunately, generalised is not really the ‘norm’.

So, back to the drugging aspect of this all … the drugs ‘they’ have prescribed for me over the years include most on Wikipedias List of Antidepressants excluding those that aren’t available in NZ and Lithium.

Fast forward to 2016, and after nearly 2 decades on, some clever fucker decides to look a little wider, noticing that there might be more to this than meets the naked eye … that Me doesn’t display all the A Typical symptoms of Depression / Depressive Disorder …. Whoa … brilliant … we label this one with PTS(D) instead. Now lets try medicating this bitch with other shit …

Hold the fuck up I say … No more medication.

If they misdiagnosed, mis-medicated for nearly 2 decades; like fuck will I let them continue doing that! Because somehow they got brighter and smarter over the last 20 years?? Well, thats what the last lot said.

Now, I’m not bashing the medical System (well, not completely) … my point is …

I know ME … if I’m left to figure it out … I know ME. Therefore I know what I need.

Which brings me to where I’m at now.

But slightly of track with the rest of my ramble …

Back to the Newsfeed Depressives and Suicide peeps.

Whether they’re truly depressed or not, I’m uncertain. I know they’re sad; that much is clear. So they toodle off to the doctors who prescribes one of a trillion possible anti-depressants. ‘Go home, take these .. back to work Monday’. Couple years later, after a dozen or more ‘trials’ of medication have unfolded … but they’re still living a ‘productive’ life … they try and Top themselves … and we all sit back and go, Fuck … didn’t see that coming … ???!!!

Why? How? How did we not see that coming?

I believe medication isn’t designed to cure us, just placate us. If it placates us, where does everything that caused the sadness go??

It got me wondering, what my tipuna (ancestors) did, pre-colonial days, when someone was ‘sad’.

And heres what I found out:

When someone was deemed to be sad, or depressed … unable to engage or talk … they were taken into the whare or community house … where everyone worked and met and talked … the ‘sad’ person, was able to rest / sleep, on a mat in the centre … they were surrounded by their loved ones, who continued to go about their daily business … but would also feed the person, touch them, tell them stories, laugh, cry … love them. And this went on for as long as it needed to. It went on for as long as the ‘sad’ person needed it to.

And you know what … I dig that way of doing things! And i guess, it’s what I’m doing for myself now.

….. Lastly, the suicide topic … ….

Why?

I don’t think i agree with suicide, but I get it. Been there, done that and I get it. Is it preventable?

Fuck yes.

Most of Us want the fight to be over … we want the sadness to be over … we want acceptance … just to be left to be who and what we are … what ever that form may be.

The only way I can see for any of us to find that … is to create it for ourselves.

I’m still pissed at those that have left me; taken their own lives … but I get it! And those that have tried and been ‘unsuccessful’ and look like they are getting better but are just actually waiting for an opportunity to try again … I get that too … and I can see it on You.

To those that I love … If you do, I hope you find peace. For those that don’t, I hope you also find peace.

There … think I’m finished that for now …

For now ;)

to day … is the ‘294th’ ‘real’ reason to smile?

the 294 reasons to smile post was scheduled … it is what it is. appropriate really .. for today … not really.

in my world … today … is the stark realisation that my sister is dead. has died. died. the night of the 18th october. that she leaves behind her girls, her moko.

theres no reason to smile. or so i thought.

the reason to smile … came from a strange place indeed.

you see, she is my sister … my blood. my fathers daughter. younger than me.

i have spent time with her not more than half a dozen times in our life time. i met her when i was 7. had a few holidays with her and her family … my fathers family.

their lives were not anything i had experienced that intensely, up until that time. my father .. to my disappointment and disbelief .. was a violent rogue drunk .. who intimidated, belittled and controlled his little family.

and my sister.

my sister tried to manage their temperature; their moods; lessen the violence; pacify the situations before they escalated. she, even at 5, was compliant, docile .. she tried to please and pacify and console her mother.

she was equipped to deal with the nastiness and bitterness that would ooze from my fathers drunken pores.

i wasn’t.

the violence i had encountered previous to this man; my father … was violence borne out of pain, from a man i knew the heart of; whom i loved. and while he frightened me sometimes; i knew he loved me. a passionate man. but not viewed as such by his wife at the time.

my ‘good’ uncles violence was different from the bitterness turned nastiness that my drunken father poured out on his family. my sister. his was alcohol fuelled deep seated rage.

and i didn’t know or understand his pain…

my sister endured him.

alone.

she endured her mothers weakness.

alone.

and when she could, she left.

still compliant and ever willing to please.

and when i met her again – saw her again, 20 odd years later, she had babies .. .2 beautiful babies. and she was softly spoken. pleasant. … on the surface.

i talked to her on the phone a few times. and then nothing. from either of us.

we could not be close. not like little girls, way back then. hiding from, running from … pretending to be something different.

my father liked to disappear, and he disappeared with my sister and her mother a couple of years after we met. no forwarding address. no reasons. just gone.

we didn’t grow up together. we could never be close.

and when we could .. as adults .. we couldn’t.

i didn’t realise until yesterday though .. . that she had her own inner turmoil … that was finding its way out … finally … she was moving out of compliance and docility. that our sisterhood was never meant to be more than it was … in passing. there wasn’t enough of her to go around. there wasn’t enough of me to go around.

but what mothers we have made!

her daughters are compassionate, loving, strong willed, strong minded, dripping in humanity. and she, my sister, facilitated that for her girls .. just as i did for mine. for her, it cost her her life in the end; as her heart gave way. for me, it cost me my existence … as my life gave way.

and now we can wave to each other from different shore lines. nodding at each others strengths. acknowledging who we are.

instead of wishing we were something more, something different …

and as i cried yesterday, wondering why; knowing it was sad – logically -but not understanding that there was a connection with her even though there wasn’t a connection with her … as i cried, wondering what these awful feelings, emotions, were about .. but knowing not to calculate to hard .. i realised …

i could feel.

in a situation like this, i could feel. and it sucked. but i was ok. i knew it would pass. that i would forever be different; changed .. but it’d be ok.

that i am made out of some amazingly resilient shit. but that i could also have emotion, feeling … and would survive.

as i was wavering in the morning; tears coming for no apparent reason i thought … my mama came … my daughter and son-in-law and mokos came … my partner patted my hand; placed his head on my forehead … no words … and my other daughter and moko came … my brother rang to talk …

and they sat with me … not speaking .. . but just being themselves …

they let me be me.

all day, and all night.

they cooked and made cups of tea … still yelling at the kids and swearing at each other …

they didn’t walk on egg shells … fake sincerity …

they were themselves, and let me be me.

they still laughed and shed their own tears as we learned that my sister; their aunty, wouldnt be coming back to this country to be laid to rest – that she would stay where her babies are. we cried because while the others wouldn’t say it … they disapproved … but this is where we knew she should be.

they listened to me talk, shed a tear with me but not for me … hearing my hurt … that no-one had remembered i was her sister, and she, my only sister. no-one. not one.

they didn’t agree with my hurt; pacify my hurt; console my hurt. they just let me be me.

and when the day has been done … been gone .. .i am still here …

and i am eternally grateful for my little family … borne of grit … who know me and love me.

and i am eternally grateful that i have known a sister; have a sister; that she has peace; that she passed her love and determination for something better, on to her babies.

and i wave to my beloved sister from my shoreline … to her on her shoreline. i tilt my head to her in acknowledgment of all that she endured silently … all that she accomplished silently.

i wave to my beloved sister.

know i love you .. in my own way .. in my own time ..

blood of my blood … flesh of my flesh … bone of my bone

good bye for now

looking back…

I know I’m making personal progress even though most of the time I’m second guessing myself. I guess it’s one of those ‘flaws’ that I’ll figure how to make into something spectacular one day.

But just so I remember…how far it is that I have actually come…

March 2014 we moved to my beach heaven – the 3 years previous had been filled with unexplained anxiety, sickness, increased weight, depression, increasing medication, pain, emotional distress, very little sleep, nightmares, sensory overload, not driving, decreased travel in a car, not working and eventually not leaving the house.

The car ride to our beach was the first ‘long’ trip I had taken in a very long time. For the first 4 weeks I think it was, I didn’t leave the house at all. I freaked out when the neighbours tried to be neighbourly. I’d have a panic attack in the backyard because it was too far from the actual house and I didn’t venture past the mailbox without medication.

It took about 3 months to feel some kind of relaxed feeling. I started feeling more familiar with my surroundings and not so on edge. There is something quite peaceful about hearing the ocean roar all the time. It was soothing. For the mind and the soul. It still is.

I eventually got past the mailbox and tried to walk to the beach. I failed, lots; and freaked myself out numerous times. It was plenty discouraging!

I finally got a diagnosis of PTSD about 6 months after moving out here. While it was painful to hear; it made sense. Everything made more sense. But it pissed me off. I waited about another 6 months for any type of treatment…the wheels of ‘health’ move way to slowly in this country.

The first session with the psychologist was awful…for her and me. She ended up coming to me instead. We’ve had about 6 months of her coming to me.

Anything I did…the shop, the beach, family celebrations, family coming to visit…were hard work. It’d take days to recover.

I struggled with sleeping and the more I became anxious about it the harder it was to sleep. The nightmares were hell-a-scary for ages, and waking up sweating and shaking and crying, were pretty horribly normal.

We are now in November 2015…and I am not where I was five years ago; a couple years ago or even a few months ago. I have made progress.

More than anything, I’ve learnt…well learning, to accept my little quirks as just me. Not necessarily a part of PTSD…but just the way I’m wired. And as long as it’s not hurting me, then its OK.

I can socialise now…not like the partner does; but in my own funky way :)

I can talk on the phone now…I still don’t like it; but it doesn’t freak me out :)

I can walk to the shop…by myself…making sure I always return home with a brownie :)

I can do family…I love doing family…I love having the kids here; the mokos here…I don’t find them draining like I used too :)

I’ve figured size is just a number and don’t really give a shit about my weight…it’ll decrease when its ready I reckon…and I’m OK with it…so much so, I’m going to buy a bikini for summer :)

I can sleep up to 6 hours on a quarter sleeping tablet…there are less nightmares…and I know what to do when I do wake up from them :)

I have made progress…I need to remember that, and congratulate myself regularly. I know I’ve forgotten some of my mean achievements, but these will do for now :)

Rock on you funky thing you ;) Let’s tick some more stuff off that list of yours…