Life. It pulls you in directions that you yearn for, that you despise, and that which inspires.
Love & laughter,
Mister and I enjoyed a beautiful weekend away in Opononi, Hokianga. A lovely three hour drive north of Auckland. My favourite photo of our trip, admiring the beauty of the beach at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga.
We rented a holiday house with a wrap around deck and amazing view of the beach and sand dunes. A lovely house with retro decor, blue walls and an inviting atmosphere.
Delicious treats of the week
Elijah, my handsome nephew is an absolute delight. At only six weeks old, Elijah has developed quite a humorous personality. He makes my heart smile and he is such a joy to be around.
I enjoyed a stroll through the Auckland Botanic Gardens taking in the delight of spring (despite my hayfever). During my high school years I would visit this place and dwell within the lively scent of flowers and feed the ducks in the pond. One of my favourite places where I lose myself in the serenity of nature.
This week’s national news has highlighted the issue of child poverty in New Zealand. KidsCan is an organization in New Zealand supporting disadvantaged children. One in four children in NZ live in poverty, alarming but realistic. Child poverty is prevalent all over the world. There are many ways to lend a helping hand. The smallest gesture of giving can make a large difference. Donating clothing or contributing to the food bank at the Salvation Army is one of many ways to make a difference in your community. I’m an avid supporter of our local Salvation Army. How could you make a difference in your community regarding child poverty?
Check out the Thursday Treats category for more treats.
Love & laughter,
Anthea is a Journalism major at university. Her love of nature, animals and travelling is evident in her home full of fresh flowers, foreign artefacts and her two Labrador’s roaming free in the beautiful garden of her humble abode.
Anthea has a bright and bubbly demeanour, a caring nature and an unspoken sense of intelligence. However, look closely and you will see sadness in her eyes. A sense of melancholy that she effortlessly disguises. She will hug you and make you feel so welcome and loved and yet everyday she struggles to feel the love that she permeates within others. Each day she battles demons within her mind that tell her she is not good enough, that spark anger and anxiety. In essence, these difficulties have hindered her ability to thrive in her studies, and have also damaged the core of her relationships with her spouse, family and friends.
The following is an interview with Anthea, offering an undeviating and direct perspective of what it is to live a life that has been overshadowed by depression.
*Names have been changed.
Depression. What does this mean to you? When did it all begin for you?
I have had two miscarriages and I believe this is where I began to change emotionally and mentally. Prior to being diagnosed with depression, I wasn’t entirely aware of what depression as a mental illness entailed. Depression is to have the desire to live a normal life, striving to be happy but not having the mental or physical capability to do so because the lack of personal strength and overwhelming sadness that suppresses your being. It is an endless battle of self-doubt and wanting to feel loved so completely but always questioning the motives of those around you. Depression to me is feeling emotionally crippled. It is like running a marathon and never reaching the end because of pure and utter exhaustion, and because you’re crying, yelling frantically, tripping over, and being pushed down. You’re trying to finish the marathon and you’re trying to make it but you’re constantly struggling and asking yourself, “What is the point?”
What has been most difficult for you as you battle your demons?
Hearing loved ones call me crazy. Having the people I love give up on me. Seeing other women with babies. Feeling useless for not being able to have a child. Losing my friends because I can’t stand to be around them. Getting out of bed every morning. Trying to be happy around the people I love so they don’t get hurt or feel sorry for me. Not graduating with the rest of my university class because I have not been successful with my studies despite previously being an A student. Sometimes I fall asleep and hope that I won’t wake up. I even have my funeral planned out because I feel that I will die young. I have my life insurance set up, this was a difficult process because I realised that I do not have what I truly desired before depression hit me. I don’t have children to give anything to. I haven’t been a mother. What is the point in living to not have what truly matters? A loving home, a family, a career, and a purpose. This is what I struggle with every single day within my mind.
Regarding my emotions, when I know I can’t handle or contain my anxiety I do try my best to contain my anger and overwhelming emotions but it is like I’m aware that I’m getting myself worked up but I can’t stop. I’ll cry endlessly in the middle of a mall, in front of anyone, yell and have an anxiety attack without fully knowing what is happening until much later as I have to also suffer the consequence of my actions. It is difficult because this is not the person I am and this is not the person I want to be.
How has depression affected your relationship with your spouse?
The effects of my depression on our relationship have been detrimental. *Jacob was the one who took me in to see my doctor as my condition worsened. I couldn’t get out of bed, just unable to move, crushed by sadness in a foetal position crying and wanting to end my life. Prior to being diagnosed with depression my relationship with *Jacob had suffered due to my episodes of anger, sadness and inability to live in a normal and happy state of mind.
I constantly fought with *Jacob and felt my self-worth was diminishing and our relationship was on an unpleasant plateau. He told me constantly that he loved me, that together we would work towards a happy and successful life. My desire to have children has been so strong but I truly feel this will never happen after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and now having to overcome depression.
*Jacob is the love of my life but my mind has been so clouded, unable to see or feel his love the way I want to. Initially, I always craved for him to love me with everything he had, to not ever give up on me no matter how difficult the situation became. I just wanted *Jacob to love me and not ever make me feel alone. I have felt so alone. It is like being in a room full of people, so boisterous and pleasant but still feeling so empty inside.
My mind kept telling me that he could never love me the way I loved him. Our relationship has suffered because of the way I have been thinking. My mind constantly switches to thoughts of no matter how much I try to explain my emotions I always feel like no other can understand what is happening to me or what I am thinking and feeling. This is a constant battle because I feel judged instead of heard and that what I say doesn’t matter.
After being assessed by my doctor and being on anti-depressants, *Jacob said he saw a change in my character, that I was back to my usual happy self. I did feel a change in my thought processes. I started to notice and enjoy a lot of what I had taken for granted; flowers, reading, smiling, laughing, making love, spending time with loved ones. *Jacob’s patience and unconditional love has been important in my journey of recovery.
What support systems have been helpful towards your recovery?
I grew up in the Pacific Islands with a culture that has not gathered a concrete sense of mental illness. A culture that is reserved and deals with issues with the mentality of “Get over it” or “Forget and move on”. The lack of knowledge within the Pacific Island community is worrying and has not been helpful towards my recovery. My parents migrated to New Zealand from a Pasifika community that places much pressure on children to perform and provide for the family. Essentially, my success is my parents success, however taking into account my mental illness I have reached a breaking point. My parents actually said I’ll get better once I stop caring about the insignificant, and one relative even told me to “Harden up”.
Counselling has been helpful as opening up and talking about issues have been integral in my attempt to overcome my struggles.
My partner, *Jacob has been supportive. He has been with me to see my doctor and has encouraged me to do what I love and to not give up on my studies or goals in life. I do my best to do simple things that make me smile. I love flowers so I’ll arrange them in vases. I take a lot of photographs of nature and do my best to love, just love.
Where to from now, Anthea?
I feel the road to recovery is an on-going process. I am grateful for all the support that I have and my only desire right now is to get better and to accept the love and support of those around me. I must let go of my pride. I do understand that my mental illness is not easy for *Jacob or my family. I have been off anti-depressants for two weeks and I feel the need to see my doctor to go back on the medication. The meds make me extremely tired, however I do feel the meds have helped in the sense of allowing me to have a clearer state of mind. I just want to be happy and I want those around me to be happy, too.
What would you say to others who are going through depression?
There is support out there for you. www.depression.org.nz is a website that features a New Zealand sporting legend, John Kirwan who has been through depression. I have known about his programme for over two years, however it was not until two months ago that I checked out the website, a great help.
Do not give up. Love yourself and you will be loved.
Thank you, Anthea.
Love & laughter,
Delightful & delicious treats of the week
As mentioned in this post I am going to be an aunt for the first time and my nephew is due next week! The Baby Shower was fantastic. Great food, fun games and baby was gifted with so many lovely treats.
I lost my laptop earlier this week. I was upset as I had left my memory card and other valuables in my laptop bag. Silly of me though, I left the laptop bag on the rooftop of the car while looking for my keys in my handbag, hopped into the car and drove away and did not realize what I had done until I reached my destination. So many scenarios ran rampant through my mind. Will it be in one piece if picked up by a stranger? Will the stranger hand the laptop into the police? I should have insured the laptop! Why did I decide to rummage for my car keys in the dark and eat a Whittaker’s chocolate bar and not remove my laptop bag from the rooftop? Here is my status on FB regarding the lost laptop:
As you can see, my friends and family do not make fun of me at all (yeah right!). Mister and I had a talk about material possessions and we came to the conclusion that some items offer a sense of comfort or normalcy to a person, however to strive for a happy life on the foundation of material objects is not a fulfilling concept of living. Often we forget to stop and count our blessings or appreciate the people in our lives. Take a moment to dwell within the love and beauty that surrounds you. I had to agree when Mister said, “Miriama, it is just a laptop.” So I had to slap myself silly.
Now for the treat. Mister bought me a new laptop. Thank you my love.
I received a txt last week as follows: “www.curlymiri.com” My brother gifted me my very own domain name, definitely surprised me and made me smile. Thank you! Brother also advised I hop on the Twitter bandwagon, so if you’re on there connect with me @curlymiri
I would love to stay connected with you.
Check out the Thursday Treats category for more treats.
Love & laughter,
My brother and his Miss are due to have their baby in the month of August and are struggling to find a name for their baby boy. Many have offered name suggestions such as Micah, Declan, Joshua-none of which they like.
Maybe you can help?
My brother’s name is Anthony, a Sagittarius with a caring, selfless and very bold nature. He has a passion for history and classics, especially regarding the culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Anthony is loveable has a laugh that can be heard a mile away.
Rebecca is a Gemini and is of a strong, independent, protective and loving nature. She is a perfectionist and is one of the best cooks I know. Rebecca has a passion for people and she is a lover of the finer things in life.
Hopefully this will somehow allow you to conjure up a few name suggestions. I am all ears!
1. The vibrant flowers and a gorgeous mosaic chair at Eden Garden. A beautiful place to embrace the serenity of nature.
2. My cousin, an art student asked me to assist with her Frame Project. She asked me to create a frame that represented my personality and to include a photo of her and me. I used a Metallica CD case, dried flowers and printed a black and white photo of us from a birthday party.
3. Delightful treats that have helped to keep the cold weather at bay.
Every week I am grateful for the treats that I encounter however I must give fair reviews. We checked out Broncos Steakhouse and we won’t be dining there again. Mister’s Lamb Shank tasted as if it had been cooked straight from the freezer, the vegetables were soggy and the gravy drowned the flavour of the mashed potatoes. My potato wedges were bland and far from the cripsy warmness that I desired to keep the cold weather at bay.
Okay, let’s envision a Lamb Shank infused with garlic and rosemary and has simmered until the meat is tender and falling off the bone and every bite is melt in your mouth goodness. Yeah, not what Mister had. However, the friendly staff and garlic bread were treats of our experience at Broncos.
For a delicious Lamb Shank or Steak that will fill you with gratifying goodness and combat the cold weather I recommend Lonestar or Jervois Steakhouse. We walked out the door and said in unison, “Should have gone to Lonestar.”
4. I am floral obsessed. My favourite purchase this week-vintage floral skirt.
Mister. Every day with him is a treat. I am so grateful for the way he makes me laugh, for his kindness and his unconditional love. Mister is the very essence of my happiness, he gives me a beautiful life and love; the kind of love that I wish every person could have.
Check out the “Thursday Treats” category for more weekly treats.
Love & laughter,
Maggie was beautiful, intelligent, and captivating of youthful innocence. Her early years were full of promise; she excelled academically and found comfort in exploring nature and embracing the solace of her backyard reading her favourite novels into the hours of twilight. She dreaded the weekends as she would have to endure sleepless nights comforting her brother as her alcoholic father fought with her mother. Saturday mornings became a routine of her mother yelling endlessly at her father accusing him of infidelity; a temper fuelled by so much resentment and suffering. Every weekend Maggie had to clear away broken furniture, cans of beer and make breakfast for her hung over father who was completely oblivious to his drunken rages.
At age eleven, Maggie’s parents left her in the care of a male relative as they went out to a night club. Maggie fell asleep on the living room couch and awoke startled as she felt the hands of the man touching her body, then his wet lips on her lips. The last image vivid in her mind was seeing him light a cigarette; she closed her eyes fighting back the tears, trying to imagine that everything was going to be alright. He stole her innocence. She told her mother who accused her of lying.
One Saturday morning, Maggie woke to find that her mother and father were nowhere in sight. No empty beer cans and absolute silence. Maggie’s father did not come home from the previous night and her mother was out searching for him. Hours passed and finally her mother barged through the front door “I just caught your dad naked in the bed of another woman”, she said in a voice full of anguish. She ordered Maggie to start packing so they could leave. Maggie looked at her brother as he sat in silence on the sofa, his eyes full of purity and pain. Her father arrived home amidst the packing, the mother grabbed Maggie’s arm and told her to get into the car. Maggie looked for her brother but her mother kept pushing her towards the car. They left. She looked back as they pulled out of the driveway and her brother was yelling out the window for her mother to stop. Maggie begged her to stop. Her mother kept driving.
At age sixteen Maggie met a guy who made her feel wanted. He professed an undying love for her. Maggie, completely naive believed every word he said. She skipped classes, started smoking weed, lied to her parents, lied to herself and began an unhealthy relationship with a guy she barely knew. As Maggie’s world spiralled out of control her parent’s marriage was on the road to recovery. Her father sought help through the church and he gave up drinking. The family moved into a beautiful home in the suburbs. Maggie’s parents became livid when they found out she was failing school. Maggie’s mother beat her and sent her away to another country for three months.
Maggie returned home and completed her last year of high school, she met a guy in her science class, a Mormon who made her laugh. This guy upheld the Christian values that she believed would give her the escape she craved for. He e-mailed Maggie daily quotes of inspiration, wrote her love letters, sang to her on the phone, surprised her with flowers and Oreos, and even won over the approval of her parents. One evening, Maggie was home alone and invited him over. They listened to Babyface and Maxwell, he kissed her and their teenage hormones clouded their judgement. He lay above her and asked if she wanted to make love, she said no. He stopped, put his clothes back on and apologised for getting carried away. The next day he told Maggie that the only way he could continue a relationship with her was if she converted to his religion, she refused and he became distant. Thereafter, it seemed every moment they spent together was of a physically intimate nature. She broke up with him at the end of the high school year. Her mother blamed her for ruining such a ‘good’ relationship.
At age twenty one, Maggie formed a relationship again with the guy she met at age sixteen. He had moved to Australia. She lied to her family including the brother she loved and who today is the only person who has never hurt her, telling them that she would go to Australia for her 21st birthday to visit family. She went to Australia with the intention of being with this man and to never return home again. Maggie saw this as an escape from the painful past she endured. She flew to Australia and within a month she married this man. From the beginning she could sense that he was an angry man, and each day she had to tread carefully to avoid his fury. The first time they were intimate it was far from the concept of making love. He was rough and enforced his bizarre sexual fantasies upon her. The only time he ever touched her was to satisfy his sexual needs. He made her feel worthless, and she fell into an empty and aching abyss.
She called her mother seeking comfort however her mother full of rage yelled at her, “I forbid you to stay with that man, I’ll never accept your relationship and I swear you will never have children. Your marriage is a joke.” The abuse in her marriage escalated, and she fell pregnant. She flew back home, knowing that she could not raise her child in an unloving environment. The first day back home she had a miscarriage. A month later her husband flew in from Australia to be with her. She stayed with him despite his unfaithfulness, and she endured his physical abuse and his unhealthy obsession with porn. Maggie wanted to prove to her parents that she was happy, that she made the right choice in marrying this man. She lived such an empty facade, being the obedient wife, the breadwinner, the used and abused. He would leave her at home alone while he spent entire weekends away. She knew he was out with other women but she couldn’t muster the strength to fight with him. She never yelled at him as her mother had done with her father. She no longer cared about his infidelity, as she preferred that he go and be unfaithful, rather than stay at home and touch or abuse her. Maggie just let him go as he pleased. She became accustomed to nights of having dinner by herself. Alone. This is the life she chose.
They stayed unhappily married for four years. She had a conversation with two of her dear friends who begged her to leave him. Maggie texted her husband saying she no longer wanted to be with him. He text back, “Ok”. She arrived home later that day to see him with another woman, packing his belongings. Three months later his new girlfriend was pregnant and they were engaged. Maggie, battered and torn wondered what she had done to deserve such misery. Her two best friends also left the country leaving Maggie feeling abandoned and searching for purpose.
Maggie envisioned a man who would love and embrace her for who she was. A man who would wake next to her with a smile on his face, that would make her laugh and fill her life with unconditional love. She craved a sense of belonging, a loving touch, a place she could call home and share with another who would just simply be home for dinner. It happened. Maggie fell in love with a wonderful man. He made her laugh and treated her with so much respect. He made her feel beautiful, and for the first time in her life she felt safe and loved. Every weekend they would go out and enjoy the company of mutual friends. He danced with her and gave her all the loving attention she needed. People would often comment on how they could see and feel that they were in love. Maggie dwelled within his love. He promised to love her and take care of her and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. His love allowed her to embrace life and enabled her to return to her love of nature.
It seemed Maggie’s life encompassed all that she desired. However, this was short lived. He lied to her. He didn’t look at her the way he used to or compliment her grace and beauty. He didn’t take her out in the weekend. He left her at home as he went out until the early hours of the morning. And, he no longer danced with her. Consumed with a sense of failure, loss of self and no longer having the capacity to cry anymore lonely tears, Maggie ended her life. Alone. All she ever wanted was to be loved.
Curly Miri © 2012