Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years: Dinner for one

No I am not writing this on New Years Eve, I am still in that blasted Internet Cafe but I have scheduled this to automatically go out on New Years Eve- lets hope it works.

Dinner for one is seems to have become a New Years tradition for television. Many, many people will have fond memories of watching this on T.V on New Years Eve. Even now this short movie has me rolling around. There seems to be many versions but hopefully I got the right one :)

May you all have a very happy and blessed NewYears and I pray that the year ahead will hold many wonderful things for all of you

Much love


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goals/ Resolutions for 2011

I'm writing this in an Internet cafe as my family and I somehow used our 9GB of bandwidth (did a visiting sister downloading music have anything to do with it? Oh no!). It's kinda freaky as the screen is massive and I have people constantly looking at what I am writing.

Anyway, on Christmas day, one of the bloggers that I follow put up his resolutions for 2011...It got me thinking. The only resolution I have ever made on the new year was to loss weight- there was one year I resolved to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy but the end of the year ( managed to finish The Fellowship of the Ring just before Christmas of that year...FAIL!)

Christmas and New Years is actually an extremely difficult time for me. I think Steve Martin in the movie Mixed Nuts summed it up perfectly when he said that Christmas is a time that everything you have ever done is placed under a magnifying glass. The same goes for New Years. Another year has passed, I am older and things most likely have either gotten worse or haven't changed at all.
On the eve of every new year, I wonder if this is the year that things will change, maybe this is the year that I will finally be set free from depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts and loneliness. Maybe this will be the year that things will finally start happening and I will get on the road to achieving all those fantastic dreams I had when I was 18 and the world was just waiting for me.

I have finally come to the conclusion that that will never happen. At least it won't if things stay the way they are. There are things I need to take care of first before any of those things can happen. So these are my goals/ resolutions for 2011- most of them are more life goals and the real goal is to at least start something whether or not I finish it.
  1. Start to tackle my eating disorder/ addiction to food: I actually feel uncomfortable calling it an eating disorder when I think about people that have died or starved to death as the result of Anorexia or Bulimia, but I have been informed that yes the emotional turmoil  and dependence that is a result of food addiction indeed classifies it as an eating disorder. I have never discussed this on my blog and this year will be the first time that I will be facing it after years of denial. Food has almost a demonic hold over my life it is so deeply rooted in my depression that I sometimes wonder if it is not the same thing. Looking at me you would never know it- no I am not someone that needs to be removed from my house by a crane. But believe me I know what those people suffer. Even as I write this- the first time I am admitting it in a public forum- something painful is stirring within me. I can honestly say this will be the hardest battle that I will ever have to face. But I am ready for it because I desire to be free.
  2. Continue to manage my depression: I don't know if God has it in my path to be free of this terror in my life, a lot of you may not understand this but I believe He is going use me and my experience. But I believe that He loves me and will never give me anything more than I can handle. I will continue to do everything I can to live my best life despite my depression and GAD
  3. Face my abuse/ forgive my father. As long as I hold onto the past and continue to let hate and pain rule my life I will never be any better. I know why my Dad is the way he is. But at 71 years old and being riddled with heart disease I desire that whenever God chooses to take him His forgiveness and mine will enable him to go in peace.
  4. Get a job/ study: I go back to University next month. I have resolved that no matter how sick I am I will continue to study. I have such a huge desire to study. I am blessed to be able to do this and I will give it my all. As for the job I NEED  to earn my OWN money :)
  5. Continue blogging
  6. Pay attention to my relationships
So those are my goals to start in 2011. Now that you all ( and the rest of the Internet Cafe looking over my shoulder) know it I am accountable.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to one and all :)

Merry Christmas!

I believe Christmas was coming of my Saviour...not Santa. I spent many years an unbeliever and if I'm going to be honest I struggle greatly with my faith. But this year, once I focused on what Christmas truly represented, everything else seemed to fall into place. All the other consumerism and silliness that Christmas brings didn't seem to matter in more. Jesus spent the first night on this earth in something that was meant to fed animals!! Can you imagine putting your precious newborn baby to bed on a bed of straw?!. It reminds me of a quote I read as a teenager :
While Rome was making history
Jesus arrived
He pitched his fleshy tent on a manger in a stable
The world didn't even notice.

Christmas day for me represents a promise for fulfilled and a sacrifice made for love. I am only now really paying attention to the stories of Jesus's life while he was here on earth- stories that I tuned out in Sunday school. There is a beauty and magnificence there that I had never noticed. So that is why today is special for me. It's saved me for being absolutely miserable! 

Christmas Day has dawned beautiful and sunny in South Africa, my family sat out on the patio and had a breakfast of almond crescents (baked by yours truly) and mince pies- believe me that happens ONCE a year. Even though I had said that there were going to be no Christmas presents because of lack of finance, it turned out that each of us had squirrelled away enough dosh to buy each other a decent Christmas gift, a beach bag complete with flip flops from my parents, shower gel from either my Mom or my sister ( they are still trying to settle one) One of the most surprising gifts came from my sister:

My sister has often laughed at my plans to go to Japan once I graduate that's why this gift was such a surprise...and such a great gift:). And rather expensive :/ What was really funny was the card (that I had to fish out of the trash thanks to neat- freak sister)

Anyway I have the merry job of preparing Christmas dinner tonight so I need to go. Wishing everyone in the blogsphere and cyberspace a happy Christmas.

Here are some pretty amazing Santa facts, I read this out to my sister one year and having gotten a very analytical gene from our father we both found it interesting and absolutely cracked up at the end. See for yourself.

Hardcore Santa facts:
  1. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the work load for Christmas night to 15% of the total 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau ). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each
  2. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of earth, assuming he travels from east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh. hop out,  jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.
  3. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops  is evenly distributed around the earth (which of course is false, but we will accept for purposes of our calculations) , we are now talking about 0.78 miles  per  household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not including bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at about 650 miles per second- 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second and conventional reindeer can run ( at best )  15 miles per hour.
  4. The payload of the  sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself . Even granting that "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal 300 pounds- job can't be done with 8 or 9 of them- Santa would need 360 000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the wight of the sleigh, another 54 000 tons- roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth ( the ship, not the monarch)
  5. 600 000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re- entering earths atmosphere. The lead reindeer pair- Rudolph- would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.
The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.62 thousandths of a second, or right about time Santa reaches his fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s in .001 seconds would be subject to centrifugal forces of 17 500 G's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315, 015 pounds of forces, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.     


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I have already received the greatest gift.

My last post was very negative, but I stand by it. This is an incredibly difficult time for me personally and for my family. Debt, death and illness are our constant companions this Christmas and I needed to rant, to get all my frustrations out.

We keep telling each other and whispering to ourselves that this too will pass. And it will... what we are experiencing right now is a massive shift and change. Our old lives as we know are coming to an end an a new life is beginning and unless each of us embraces it we will be left behind.

I am destitute right now, I have lost everything. But this morning I began to think of my best friend and my break down when I was in America- how very close I was to ending it. And I realised that right now even though it appears I have nothing I have already been given something that many people can only wish for.

I have been meaning to write this post for a while but quite frankly I just didn't have the words.I am going to write about the people that have kept me alive, pulled me back from the brink when mental illness threatened to engulf me. They are the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Please bear with me because I don't think I could continue this blog without mentioning them- they are all the reason why I am here.

My Aunt: A great sadness and guilt still fulls me when I think about this. I was staying with my Aunt in California when things started to happen that would eventually lead to my breakdown. I don't know, but I have a feeling that my Aunt blamed herself for what happened. What my Aunt didn't know is that a lifetime of trauma, abuse, depression and anxiety was closing in on me. Why it happened while I was staying with her I will never know. I had only met my Aunt a few months before and was so embarrassed about what was happening to me that I did all I could to hide it, instead of confiding in her. Eventually I got to the point where I could no longer hide anything from her as I was slowly falling to pieces. Still, I refused to talk to her. She knew something was wrong and didn't know what to do. Her life was already stressful when I arrived- she was caring, full time for her husband who had suffered a heart attack nine years earlier and had been severely brain damaged as a result. It is only now, having to care full time for my grandmother that I really have gotten a sense of what it must be like. Her husband was ( and still is) a wonderful man and love of her life. What happened to him devastated her.

This woman bore the brunt of my breakdown. Despite that she allowed me to stay with her, rent free, paid the MASSIVE phone bills I rung up (I'm talking like a $1000 people), supported me for three months while I waited for my social security number (someone forgot to do that when I was born) bought me a laptop for university and a camcorder and a camera to document my time in America. She was a lady of few words but through everything she did for me I knew that she loved for me. I am just so sorry she had to see me like that.

My Mom: I can honesty say my Mom is the sole reason why I haven't landed up in an asylum. If you are a mother you can particularly empathize with what my mother has had to go through. Like I said I was overseas when I had my breakdown and my mother was in South Africa. She had to sit through my hysterical phone calls where I was to terrified to form coherent sentences or I was drugged up on sedatives and slurring. She never knew if would be the last time she would speak to me. The hardest most sickening thing is that there wasn't much she could do...except pray. And everyday she was down on her knees having her faith- which is something she has been blessed with in abundance- tested to the limit.

The person that got off the plane when I came home was not the person that she had said goodbye to nearly four years before, just a shadow of her former self. My Mom has had to suffer through my mood swings, she is the sole receiver of my sudden rage attacks, she continually looks in on me when I sleep 18 hours a day. She has had to have almost soul- destroying conversations where I actually tried to convince her to let me commit suicide, that she would be better off without me, that she would move on. And she would say, she'd be lost without me and ask me to please stay. Yep, I've done some pretty heartless things.

My mom is not perfect, she has made some huge mistakes, especially where my Dad is concerned. But she has stayed in hospital with me, held me through all my lumbar- punctures (spinal taps) and endless panic attacks. She organises my meds- that she hates- into pill boxes each week and reminds me to take them. She has dragged me out into the sunlight when I wanted to stay in the darkness. She prays for me unheeded and believes against all the odds that one day I will be healed.

Karen: Karen is my best friend, who lives in America. We met when I was sent as a temp to the company she worked for. I often joke that she must have her house hooked up to the fountain of youth somewhere- she was in her late thirties when I met her but she looked no older than me in my early twenties. Our friendship was still in the beginning stages when I had my break down. I didn't talk to her at first but she knew something was wrong. She had every reason to walk away- I mean I was acting like a freak not mention that mental illness scares the hell out of most people. But she stayed and took care of me. She nearly lost her job because of me. She saved my life. I honestly would not be here if it weren't for everything she did for me. Not just her, but her husband too. He could have told her to stop seeing that psycho South African girl but instead he tried include me in everything they did. Since I didn't have a car he would come to pick me up and then drive back to drop me off- they lived in the next town so this was no small journey.

Many things have gone wrong in my life but I really can say that God has blessed me with true lifelong friends- even if they all live in different countries!. I had lost all my faith in God and even in the existence of God after my breakdown and I wondered why I could hear nothing from Him, why had he abandoned me. I  now know that I was never alone and I do believe he used Karen to make a difference. She changed my life and I now treat people differently because of her.

The picture up top is of a Willow Tree ornament that I gave Karen on her birthday. The picture below is of the one she gave me before I left (That's my precious Basil in the background). It's called "Angel of Remembrance"

This has been a difficult year for many people all over the world and this Christmas will be sad for very many. I'm going to reveal the materialistic side of me and say that I LOVE presents and the fact that I most likely won't be getting any is a real downer. But in the grander scheme of things I have already received one of the greatest gifts anybody can get: I have been loved unconditionally and even better....I have been able to love in return :).

These ads come out while I was recovering from my breakdown and every time I see them now it puts things into perspective.

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the season to be (exhausted, stressed, trapped, MURDEROUS) Jolly

WARNING: For those of you that are having a great holiday season or possess the Christmas spirit with all the warm fuzzy feelings that come with it, this will be an antidote and will most likely put in in a bad mood after reading.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!, as the song goes. Christmas carols are abound with "Parties for hosting marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow" and then there is the "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jack frost nipping at your nose". "All for "kids from one to ninety- two" blah blah , "Deck the halls with bells of FREAKING holly"

Bullshit! For one I live in a place where it isn't even winter at Christmas time- today the mercury reached 45C ( 113 F) in some areas where I live. Instead of playing in the snow, we play in the sand on a beach- if we live near to one. Most houses in South Africa are not built with air- conditioners, they are expensive and considered a luxury. So normally on Christmas day we are seeking a pool instead of a fire.

I could deal with that, I have been dealing with it my whole life. But what drives me bonkers at this time every year is that both fate and my family become almost uncivilised.

There is so much going that is causing us to be less than jolly- I might as well put it in point form. Note: This is a rant post some of the situations going on I can't help but be sarcastic about, but there are others that are truly tragic:
  • My writing has gone to pooh, I don't know if it's because I feel uninspired due to serious depression, medication or if I am just burnt out with writer's block.  
  • My parents and I are in serious debt- my parents under for the breakdown of their business AND my Dad's foolishness with money. As for me?. Let me just put it this way I was very young...overseas...with a credit card. Go figure.
  • Because of the lack of money there will be no presents what so ever this year- even buying stuff for a lavish meal seems wrong  knowing that we owe so many people so much money.
  • My grandmother who is in the final stages of Alzheimer's broke her hip nearly four months ago and has required round the clock care ever since then (She lives with us) because of this we have never really had the chance to unpack the huge old house we just moved into. This is just the year that my mother's best friend and her family have decided to come to us for Christmas ( we usually go to them ). So we are now in a massive hurry to fix, clean, unpack and decorate the house before Christmas Eve. Take note...this is all DIY.
  • The above is in addition to all the cooking, baking and shopping that needs to be done.
On to the more serious stuff:
  • I have just started Amitriptyline and am experiencing three of the side effects badly... dizziness, drowsiness and nausea. Add this to extreme headaches from my BIH and horrible depression- not a good mix.
  • As I have said before my grandmother requires full time care. If you were ever present for a loved one in the final stages of Alzheimer's you will know the heartbreak, the horror, exhaustion, anger and frustration that goes with it. She takes up literally every minute of our day, we have to go through hearing her scream, shout and talk ALL the time. She can't form coherent sentences to communicate. She is terrified of being alone, yet when we come to her she doesn't know who we are. She's at home but she doesn't know where she is. She sees things that aren't there. Now and then she has lucid moments where she cries and cries her shame, she calls my mother by her childhood nickname and tells us she loves us. Moments later she will descend into darkness again and begin yelling and screaming.
  • My Dad hates my Mom's sister
  • My Mom's sister hates my Dad
  • But my Mom still wants them to spend Christmas under the same roof...because it is "a time for family"
  • My Dad's treatment of me has become worse and worse over the last couple of weeks. He thinks I use my depression as an excuse and the reason I am now suffering BIH is because I "did it to myself". He also has no regard for the fact that my meds have serious side effects. Therefore, like my sister, I get no support from him. His constant bullying and downright meanness are wearing me, down making me bitter. My mission to forgive him of the physical and emotional abuse he inflicted on my older siblings and I in the past, is becoming almost impossible. One thing I will still blog about is the part he had to play in my addiction to food and I can tell you right now it is bad. E.g He saw me in the kitchen just now with something in my mouth. The ssarcasm was literally dripping when he said, "Eating again, are we?" and he was getting ready to launch into a full diatribe with the sole purpose to make me feel like crap when I cut him off short, "No Dad, I'm just taking my meds" and I took a huge gulp of water to swallow the ten tablets I had in my mouth.
All of the above mentioned is happening right now....with Josh Groban's Christmas CD playing in the background. Now you know why I said fate as well as my family can be almost uncivilised this time of year. We are a family of misfortune, but it is funny how some of the worst misfortune will save itself until Christmas. And we are all driving each other crazy!.

As depressing as this may sound the perfect Christmas for me would be to be holed up in a deserted house (my sister's flat in Cape Town is the only possibility) with a bag of Quality Street , a take away and a few Christmas DVDs and spend Christmas all by myself with the space and freedom to reminisce on the good and the bad, to cry and to sleep.

I am praying to God to help us, help me through this time. I am praying for strength to be there for people in my family that need me and to take care of myself at the same time. Tonight my mother and I are putting together a shopping list of food we need to buy. Tomorrow I start my marathon of baking as well as trying to turn the dinning room from a storeroom back into a dinning room again. I used to be the biggest Christmas spirit of all time I pray that in all this I will find it again :).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guiding light on a dark day....

A while ago I had one of those depression days that I seriously didn't think I would make it through alive. God knew I need help and led me to the message on this sign- my guiding light:

Inspired by Christine and Vanessa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My two days in hospital

I wasn't in hospital per se- I basically went home to sleep- Thank God. But I have had to spend the past two days here:

Tygerberg hospital, the 2nd largest hospital in the world...otherwise known as a big- ass state hospital with passages over a mile long. And we walked up and down these passages from Neurology to Psychiatry and back again "conveniently" located on two opposite ends of the hospital. To give you an idea of the length of said passages:

Note how the lights kinda disappear into oblivion

Stopping for a break halfway through

I've said it before on this blog....whatever sadist designed this hospital- knowing that sick patients would have to walk the length of these passages- should be shot. My mom tells me that when this hospital was being built, in the 1970's there was great excitement as it was to be a "high tech" facility with "breakthrough technology" you can see that is no longer the case.

As I have also said before, I am truly grateful for the medical care that I am getting- it isn't fancy or comfortable but it has saved my life. I would be blind if it wasn't for neurology and the employment policy at this hospital has ensured that my Dad doesn't have to fork out half his pension each month for my meds (seriously) I get them for free. Not only that, when I think of the lack of medical care some of my fellow South Africans have and  how hundreds of thousands of people on the African continent die each year because they have no medical care. I am so thankful.

But because I am thankful it doesn't mean I have to just love everything about this hospital and it doesn't mean that certain things don't make me very, very angry.

I saw something yesterday that was the absolute last straw and made me absolutely livid... take a look:

See, I made it extra large. Not very spectacular right? . Looks like some construction going on.

Well here is the story. It was going to be a long wait for the neurologist so the ward secretary suggested that my Mom and I go have some coffee (aka coffee- flavoured water). On our way to the cafeteria we passed the "new" psychiatric ward. Whenever I pass the psychiatric ward I can't help but stop, there is always a whirlwind of emotion that goes through my head. Thoughts like, "Will I ever land up here?" "What has stopped me from becoming like the people in this ward?" "What will push me over the edge" race through my head.

Almost immediately after we stopped my Mom and I were caught up by the most disgusting smell and it seemed to be coming from the ward. I went up to the door and peered through the crack, the passage was deserted, the atmosphere radiating out of that door was eery. When I turned to walk back I saw that the side doors leading into a courtyard were open and there were a whole lot of flies buzzing in and out of the door. The source of the dreadful smell was that pile of rubbish in the picture above.... RIGHT NEXT TO THE PSYCHIATRY WARD!!!!. I walked a little closer...I'm telling you people the smell was putrid. The pile of rubbish was actually a lot bigger than depicted in the picture it consisted of wood, rubble, plastic, paper and then food in various stages of decay and other green, black and grey slimy things that I really didn't care to get any closer to. Basically it was a pile of sewage. You cannot see the flies in the picture but believe me they were having a field day

I was in so much pain in these pictures, both physically and emotionally, seeing this awful mess- a total lack of respect for human beings who are unable to help themselves- blew away the paper thin barrier holding back a total meltdown. That they have placed these people in underground, in the bowels of the hospital where no one has to see or hear them, away from sunlight, is bad enough. Dumping a pile of stinking rubbish outside their window that could possibly cause further distress and disease takes the bullshit cake. My mother reacted as any loving mother would by getting me out of there as soon as possible. I plan to write some newspapers about this and obviously complain to the hospital.

I guess really should give an update on my BIH, depression and GAD. The first day I saw a psychiatrist (aka doctor studying to be a psychiatrist). I knew right from the start that this was going to be a useless appointment. I told her that things did get better for a while, but after the break with my psychologist they are now worse than ever, I didn't get a chance to tell her I had been suicidal again because she cut me off and told me that "We don't really want to put you on more medication (I already knew that), I think you should go see a psychologist". That's what I have been doing you stupid woman... did you even listen?!. The outcome of the appointment was that they will try and get me to see a psychiatrist at a hospital closer to me and I go back in March, no doubt to see a different doctor studying to be a psychiatrist.

On to Neurology... a lot of time was spent trying to track down my neurologist (aka a doctor studying to be a neurologist)- they close for the Christmas holidays. Eventually my Mom had him paged and spoke to him on the phone where she demanded that he come in to see me. I was told to come in the next day. We were there bright and early the next morning and  waited for four hours to find that my neurologist and palmed me off on his buddy- surprise, surprise the dude that performed or should I say messed up my lumbar- puncture (spinal tap) three weeks ago. How- ahem- happy I was to see him.

This is where it starts to get funny- he refused to see me with my mother, telling her he would chat to her afterwards ( she had wanted to throttle him after my lumbar- puncture). Judging by the look on her face I immediately began to feel sorry....for him. When he asked what had been going on with me I stifled the urge yell, "You f**king mutilated my spine, you dumbass" and calmly told him that I had been extremely ill since the LP and I still had enormously painful headaches accompanied by dizziness, nausea and extreme fatigue. Meanwhile outside...where my Mom was listening through a hole in the door, in came strolling my neurologist. Poor guy... my Mom pounced like a cat on a bird. I could hear her threw the door and immediately fell sorry for whoever was on the other side of her wrath.

Dude checked my eyes- found my optic nerves weren't swollen, although they did appear scared. He asked me a few questions but I already knew what he was thinking: He didn't have a clue what was wrong and that most likely my depression was to blame. We spoke about surgery and it turns out that although my spinal pressure was high, they will not be doing surgery at this stage. I then told him nonchalantly, "So I guess  it's all in my mind then" He didn't really know what to say but eventually said "It's real to you- that's what matters" I told him good luck with my Mom. He told me I was a sweet girl.

We went back out into the passage where Mr. Neurologist had amazingly been able to calm my mother down. We stood talking for a while with him and Dude doctor. The compassionate side of them eventually emerged when Dude doctor said, " I would say now that your BIH is under control but your depression is definitely out of control". It was probably the only thing Dude doctor was able to hit the nail on the head about. Immediately I began tearing up and it was that that put them into action. They called in the psychiatry rotater and for a while there was some finger pointing going on. Neurology were telling Psychiatry that my problem was clearly psychological. Psychiatry were telling Neurology that it was clearly neurological. Somewhere between all of this I began to think about Homer Simpsom...for some reason. Eventually the heads of both departments got involved, seeing them trying to meet each other half way to find a solution was interesting. Eventually it was decided by everyone to put me on Amitriptyline an anti- depressant used a lot by neurology for management of migraines. I have been on it before. Needless to say my Mom was not happy- another pill. I have to go back for another eye test in January and will hopefully have my checkup the same day.

In between all this we found this little guy:

 The pictures don't really do justice to how very tiny this little sweetheart was. His name is Joshua and he was born prematurely. He is a month old and only weighs 2.2kg (4lbs 8oz). He has to wear dolls clothes because he is so tiny. When this picture was taken he was about to have surgery for cataracts on both eyes. His mother was beaming with pride and loved showing him off. We told her that he will be a piano player one day because his miniature hands have such long fingers and he held onto my finger with the most amazing strength.

You see it's this that I am grateful for. Tygerberg with it's stinking rubbish heaps, disintegrating walls, rude staff, toilet paperless bathrooms, looong waits and befuddled student doctors, kept this little boy alive and will give him the ability to see. There will always be things to be thankful for, even in a pile of ashes.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Something to be angry about

As a citizen of the African continent I refuse to accept this: Report contains violent images

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A girl named Jill and the warrior Susan

I love it when an event takes place to remind you that miracles do happen and makes you to believe again. This happened last night when a story that I have been following for years finally closed with the most beautiful and joyous ending. Whoever was reading my blog a few months ago may remember that I wrote a post about a girl called Jill McCloghry from the blog {Love}. Jill was having huge complications with her second pregnancy. She had already suffered one of the worst tragedies a person can go through but her grace and faith throughout it all was so remarkable and inspiring. is a great honor to announce that her little girl, Maizey Augustine was born on December 7th. I had been messing around on twitter last night and was about to close it down when I got a tweet along with a picture of the most gorgeous baby girl. It made my eyes tear up and had me grinning from ear to ear. What a pleasure it has been following this beautiful woman's journey.

I encourage you to go through Jill's blog and read some of her posts. If you have ever suffered a devastating loss, particularly that of a child or if you are on that often painful journey of waiting for a baby, Jill's writing will help you and bring you great comfort.

Unfortunately I also got some sad news a few days ago. I have followed dear Susan at If You Are Going Through Hell Keep Going since I started blogging. What this woman has been through for the sake of her health is unbelievable. She has to be one of the most courageous people I know. Her insight into the world of mental illness has always in helped me and comforted me.

Susan was rushed to hospital nearly three weeks ago with kidney failure. They believe this was caused either by the drug Nexium or Seroquel. She is now home again but the road to recovering will be a long hard one. Hearing this news was very hard as with any of us who suffers a mental illness it hits really close to home and I really do care for this lovely woman. God is bigger than everything she is going through right now and I believe he will still do mighty things through her.

Two wonderful ladies, two very different circumstances. Both of them give me hope.

I have decided to post "Stronger" being sung by Jill on the Hillsong Chapel album (she has done several recordings for Hillsong). I have really had this song on my heart for the past few days...have a listen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Things...they are not too good

So I wanted to make a post on Friday...and then Friday turned into Saturday. Saturday somehow became Monday and I have been wandering around the house for most of today wondering what to write. I know there is a post in there somewhere but I am not sure how to write this.

For as long as I can remember the closer Christmas draws, bad news whatever it may be will find me. I have to be very delicate in sharing this as I do not  want any ill- favor to fall the person that is involved.

About two months ago I was horribly, severely depressed...more suicidal than I have ever been. It was the first time I felt I had no choice. However part of me was either afraid of dying or didn't want to give up so I actually told my parents. My Dad told me well done for confessing but there was nothing he could do for me as he "had no money" and he then ignored me. My Mom reacted with as much love, compassion and fear as she has. She always does that, I didn't think anything would come of it but I scared her more then I thought and she called my godfather who offered to pay for a psychologist. She also called a lady that I have known since I was a baby who is a church counsellor.

To cut a long story short I have been seeing this psychologist for about two months. Two weeks ago her secertary e-mailed me the bill as she had failed to get in touch with my godfather ( he lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere and travels often). I was firstly hit with shock and guilt at the amount and then secondly began to really worry hadn't been paid. Two more weeks went by, my therapist would briefly bring the bill up and I had no idea what to tell her. I soon found out though that the school fees of my twelve- year old cousin- which he also pays for- were seriously overdue. I made the decision then and there to tell my therapist the truth and stop therapy immediately until the bill had been paid.

I have just found out that my godfather's business partner has done him out of a lot of money and there has been an ongoing court case where his brother's grown up children are suing the family estate for another whole lot of money. Basically....the guy is strapped.

Now let me explain a few godfather is actually my mother's first cousin- my second cousin. He is the patriarch of a giant family and ALL the family member with problems come running to either him or my mother. He helped my parents put my sister and I through a private school, fully paid for my last year of highschool at a private homeschool, helped me go overseas, paid some of my university fees. As I write this I want to cry because I feel so guilty....and thankful. He has given my parents money more times than I can remember. Right now he is supporting my loser aunt and her whole family by paying their rent. If I could count how much money that woman has manipulated him to give it would probably run into millions.

I am more than grateful that he has done this for me because it pulled me back from the brink.

But I am now left with a massive bill that neither me or my parents can pay. Money that is being set aside for me to go back to university is dwindling as it is. And it has sunk me even further into the mounting debt that I am struggling to pay off. Not only that, the stress and pure fear this has brought me is undoing all the hard work that I have done in the past weeks.

During the day my hands are full with teaching a six year old little girl to read and write and generally taking care of her. Although this has been exhausting it has been a blessing in disguise because it has kept my mind off my troubles. But at night, or whenever I get a chance to be alone, the terrible dread fills me. It is not just my debts although that's enough to cause sleepless nights, it's the fear that I won't be able to go back to university therefore not be able to go to Japan ( it may be a weird aspiration but it's an aspiration that means a whole lot to me). I want to live and extraordinary live and achieve the impossible- that feeling is the last shred I have of the old me, the me the died when I had my breakdown and I have been clinging onto it with both hands but it is slowly slipping away.

Most of all I want to get better or be in a place where I can managed this wretched illness that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. It has nearly killed me, it makes me want to die. I kept remembering what one of my church counsellors told me, that I have never known freedom. I remember that because he was right. How tragic and funny that the apple is always dangling beyond my reach.

I have been busy while writing this post. I have not seen my therapist in two weeks and my mother made an appointment for me tomorrow. This has made me feel very uncomfortable and quite frankly I don't feel like talking to anyone right now. While writing I have attempted to cancel my appointment only to be stopped by my mother. This has resulted in huge argument between me and my parents ( funny how my Dad always reappears when the arguing starts). I don't really know what to do, I am dreading the appointment tomorrow. Of course my Mom told my therapist that I have been sinking further and further into depression since I have seen her. I feel a reprimand coming my way.

If you have been reading this post, thank you for reading it until the end. I wrote this hoping that I could transport some of my fears from me into cyberspace, where hopefully it will disappear forever. Maybe it will work....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Repost: Fighting the good fight

I was thinking about this as I was putting my baby bed tonight. This was a post that I made six months ago and was actually inspired by friend Karen who was dealing with the death of her step sister, her close friend and her dog...all within the space of a month. My mind has been whirling with fear mostly of the future- wondering if I will ever finish university, live in Japan, see my family in the US, travel...have a life worth meaning. I'm wondering if I will still be alive next year or if I will finally succumb to the exhausting fight with the Black dog or if my BIH will eventually render me blind.

And then there is the fear I have for my little girl which is worse because it is something I virtually have no control over. She is only with me for a very short while in which I need to do my very best to make a difference in her life before releasing her back into her home where she will have to face some hard battles- mostly on her own. It hurts, it hurts to see her change and flourish and then realise where she will be going back to. I am choosing right now to have faith in my God. I have no choice. I will believe that God will be with her and walk every step of that road she has to take. I will believe that He has already given her a bright future. I will believe He has made her a fighter and He will fight with her. I have faith in her that she can do anything.

So it is on that note that I give you my old post, I have re- read this many times over the last six months and it has always given me back my perspective.


This is an extract from an e-mail I sent my friend Karen last night. I've had real trouble being able to put into words what I have been feeling in the last two weeks. This is horrible because people around me don't know how to help me and I feel like there s impenetrable wall between me and them. It's very lonely and desolate feeling. This letter sums up my goal:

03 June 2010:

Today would have been the 26th birthday of Bronwyn, she was a little girl I was good friends with at school. She died of cancer when she was only ten years old. Tonight we and the rest of my old classmates scattered across the world lit a candle for her. One thing that I will always remember about her is how hard she fought- 3 weeks before she died she was still determined to go to school. In 2003 another very good friend of mine, Bonita died after a car accident. I will always feel guilty about Bonita because I feel that I wasn't as good of a friend to her as she was to me.

The thing that Bronwyn and Bonita had in common is that they were both fighters and even they died young, both of them lived their lives fully. After Bonita died I couldn't go to her funeral because she lived on the other side of the country, her parents send me the program and her obituary. Right underneath her picture was this:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
Which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day-
And not only to me,
But to all who have longed for his appearing

2 Timothy: 7-8

One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn is that winning a race is not as important as finishing it. I have always hoped that that verse could be used in my obituary one day..... I feel a little guilty- I want to give up more then I want to press on and you know my position with the Lord . In terms of a race... I'm still sitting in the middle of the track staring at the damn finish line and not budging.

This is my message to you today- fight the good fight and finish race. Here is a little inspiring video to drive home my point. I can still remember this like it was yesterday...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

As someone who has grown up in a country where approximately 10% of the population is either HIV- positive or is suffering from AIDS and who has been impacted personally by this disease, World AIDS day has a special meaning for me. I have seen first hand what this pandemic has done. Everytime I have to go to the state hospital, whether it is for a checkup for my BIH or to see the psychiatrist I see them in the long passages walking their last few days away every now and then someone with full-blown AIDS is wheeled past  us on stretchers.

A few years ago I went to a home for AIDS babies that my sister was volunteering at. The minute I walked into the nursery my eyes were drawn to a baby boy who was grinning from ear to ear. Everything about him said "Me!, me!, please hold me!". He was 3 months old and HIV positive. His name was Benjamen. When I held him it was like the first time someone had held him, he was just soaking it up. When I put him down again he immediately started crying. I have no idea what happened to him or whether he is still alive today. All I can remember is his smile. It hurts to know that he is just part of a statistic, that he most likely just became paperwork on someones desk- just a number.

I hope and pray for the day when there will be a cure for this awful illness and millions will be set free. But in the meantime it all comes down to responsibility. By having safe sex you are protecting yourself, your partner, your future and preventing the spread of a pandemic. Use a condom EVERY time people. Everything you do will eventually effect someone else eventually and you never know when it may be an innocent child like Benjamen. And don't think that AIDS is a disease that is just confined to Africa or India. I have lived both in the United Kingdom and the US and I can tell it is a wolf at your door.