Monday, 30 June 2014

It's a sign of a good time when you have no photo's of the event! We had our karaoke night on Saturday, as our final fundraiser for our trip to Adelaide. It was an amazing night! We all had so much fun and everyone had a sing, even all the shy ones! It was so cool seeing people you would never expect getting up on stage and letting loose.

Aside from a few organisational blips at the start (hey, the only things I have had to organise for the past 8 years is how many nappies are left and have they got food for school!), the evening went sensationally. We held it at the Glen Eden RSA and the staff were so accommodating and helpful, not to mention friendly and supportive - I had a heap of the lovely members slipping notes into my hand 'for your girl'. Everybody was so charitable and happy and INTERESTED!!! I had the opportunity to educate quite a few people on CMN which is a great step in itself.

With this being the end of our fundraising, I wanted to post thanks to a lot of people. With the generosity of everyone who donated through givealittle (which includes the donations from separate fundraising events that others held on our behalf), the bowlathon and the karaoke night, I am delighted to announce that our final amount raised is an incredible $8200!!!

I can never thank everybody enough. Our community has really pulled together for us, and words truly can't say just how grateful we are. I'd like to make a few thanks specifically, to first off PINS Lincoln Road for hosting our bowlathon, to Glen Eden RSA for hosting our karaoke night, Party at Yours for use of their karaoke machine, and to the companies who donated for our prizes and raffles:

Kiwi Valley
Citrus Based Cleaner
Chelsea Sugar
Enza Foods
Tank Juice & Smoothies
The Fairy Flower Shop
The Aussie Butcher
Kaylee's Cupcakes
Amazing Maze/Spookers
Volt Coffee
Eco Store
Random House

Not to mention my in laws, Andrew and Marlene for contributing vouchers for the raffles, my parents and siblings for babysitting and helping at both events, my friends and family for coming to both events, as well as all of the people who we hadn't met but who came along to support us. A HUGE thank you to those who took it upon themselves to hold their own event s to raise extra funds - your kindness will never be forgotten.

Each and every one of you are beautiful people with kind hearts, and I hope to repay the kindness one day when others are in need. For now, I think it is safe to say we can pretty darn excited because our little family is going to ADELAIDE!!!!

This little face, has raised so much awareness, love, and a real sense of community in her short two years. Love to everyone x

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Wow! The response I have had from my last post is astonishing! My Facebook inbox was going non-stop with messages from people (in particular, mother's) sharing their experiences which were very similar to my own. I was so hesitant about posting it, for fear of people knowing my 'secrets' but I am so glad I did. Depression and anxiety can be such a taboo subject and it is really hard to talk about to people who haven't been through it.
Though it is sad how many DO experience these, it is also quite comforting knowing you AREN'T crazy, you AREN'T alone. People DO understand. And by golly, they are supportive! There are no rules on how to deal with it - everyone is different and what works for one may be to the detriment of another person.
I am infinitely grateful to those for supporting me with the way *I* have/am dealt/dealing with it.

I'd like to share another blog today. This beautiful young Mum, Aseel, joined the Nevus Family last year in March, when her son Abdalla was born with CMN covering a lot of his back and neck. Aseel is originally from Iraq and her husband and her moved to Sweden for a chance at a better life. You can only imagine how hard this hit her - not only dealing with a new baby who was different and who had the doctors baffled, but add to this living in a foreign country with no family and support system.

I, among others, were so worried for Aseel in those early days. Her posts were so sad and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her, hug her and tell her everything would be OK. It is hard coming from little old New Zealand, to understand the gravity of devastation in her home country. To understand why she couldn't just go home, or why her family couldn't just come and support her. I actually feel naïve even writing that, but alas it is true. I have never experienced any of the things that Aseel has, and so though I tried, I just couldn't grasp the concept of just how hard things were for her.

I am so proud of my friend-who-I've-never-met. She has come such a long long way and proven to herself how incredibly strong and courageous she is. She managed to pull herself out of the hole she was in and appreciate and marvel in her special Abdalla. Have a read of her blog here to get a glimpse into her life. She is truly one of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of 'meeting' (I don't see a real-life meet happening anytime soon, but hey - perhaps one day!).

Monday, 16 June 2014

After a lot of thought, I have decided to do an extremely personal post. This one is not for sympathy, it is because I realised just the other day how damn proud of myself I am - and I cant share that without sharing a bit of MY story.

I have always been a very shy person, with not a lot of confidence. I dislike photos of myself with a passion because I just simply do not like the way I look in them. They are a reminder of all of my flaws which I so often try to escape from. As a result, I have very few photographs of me with my children. Which is sad for me....but especially for them. They should have a collection to look through and smile at, and to treasure when I am gone.

I've always been a very cautious person, I like to have routine and stick to the rules. It makes me nervous if I am with someone and they are doing something they shouldn't (my sister always laughs at this, as I am the only one out of us 5 kids that has ever been arrested! Only by naïve association though - definitely not by intent!).
When I was pregnant with Olive, I started having breathing issues. I was just 8 weeks pregnant when I started getting puffed and out of breath just walking upstairs in our house. I had heart palpitations and my heart would thump fast and loud in my chest. I had many a shopping trips where I had to sit in the car afterwards for fear of passing out. I saw the doctor numerous times but there was never anything out of order - we all thought it was another silly symptom of pregnancy that I'd adopted.

Around the same time, I also started having these vivid 'movies' play in my mind. The kids would go running down a hill and in my mind's eye, I would see them falling and bloodying up their face. |Or if we crossed a bridge, I could see in my head, one of them falling and drowning. It wasn't normal, I knew that but I just didn't know how to talk about it. It was generally to do with the kids and I thought perhaps I was just getting nervous about having three of them.

After Olive was born I had her to focus on. I had this tiny vulnerable person to protect and shower with love. I had these bigger two children that I needed to put powerful positive energy into so that they could feel loved and supported, to in turn do the same for their sister.
My issues were stashed away at the back of my mind.

Soon after Olive's first birthday in 2013, everything came to a head. For the previous year I'd had a lot to focus on - our new baby, the older kids, planning a wedding, planning a first birthday...there had been no time for my things!
But now, everything calmed down and I was forced to look at what was going on. The doctor diagnosed me with hyperventilation syndrome and anxiety. For anyone who hasn't been through this, it is where you retrain your body to over breathe. You take short sharp breaths from your chest rather than deep tummy breaths. In doing this, you open a whole new can of new symptoms - chest pains, headaches, dizziness, extreme fatigue, nausea, irritability and achy muscles to name just a few. I had all of these and more, and it was taking it's toll on my body.

With the amazing support of my Mum, I tried breathing exercises, diet changes, kinesiology, naturopathy....all of which would work for a short period and then my symptoms would come back worse than ever.

By this stage, I'd become very withdrawn and isolated myself a lot. Olive and I stayed home most days because it was easier to try to control my anxiety and breathing when I was at home and calm. But it was really wearing me down. Another visit to the GP saw me on antidepressants for the first time in my life. The first ones were hideous and gave me horrible, horrible dreams, insomnia and crushing headaches so I was put on another.

This one, along with cognitive behaviour therapy started my road to recovery. For the first time in about 2 years I could take proper breaths. My head and chest didn't hurt every day and I started smiling again.
I started taking them last September and in doing so have gotten on track with small things that make me happy - gardening,  reading, cooking, eating good foods...and surrounding myself with positive people. I have all of them to thank, for being there for me and LISTENING to me.

I have just managed to wean myself off them, which is a big feat in itself (as anyone who has been there knows!!) and for that, albeit a bit silly to some people, I am proud of myself. I really feel like I'm coming out the other side.
And you know what? My confidence is getting better. I take lots of photos with the kids now and even 'posed' for a photo shoot to be printed in a national women's magazine in the next few weeks (we have a story running about our Olive).

These are huge steps for me, and today? Today I'm feeling pretty damn proud of myself.

Here is me and my beautiful big girl, Meisha xx