Welcome Aboard!

This blog is designed to share experiences, discuss mental health, and provide a platform for catharsis when required. Some of this may be difficult or uncomfortable to read. It is not my purpose to upset people, but from time to time, subject matter may prompt this. Please feel free to comment, or to share your similarities and differences. Look forward to hearing from you. Spammers, or those who are not interested in constructively sharing, will be blocked.

Monday, 10 December 2012


I didn't start out life a neurotic basketcase, it kind of just happened.  By means of an introduction...  I grew up in Kihikihi, a small town of a couple of thousand people in the heart of dairy-farming country, Waikato province in New Zealand.  The name of the town is the Maori word for "cicada", and we had plenty of those, so every summer I would get sung to sleep by them, and would laugh at girls who would run screaming from boys in the playground who would chase them with exoskeletons that they'd picked of trees from the cicadas' final moult.  I had a Mum and a Dad and a little sister and a cat, along with the occasional pet calves that ended up in the freezer.  Normal small-town Kiwi kid stuff really.  My primary school was awesome, we had a fantastic principal, I had a solid core of friends, some of them I'm still in touch with now that I'm in my 30s.  I had a climbing tree that I would scale to what I imagined to be great heights, mainly to escape my little sister, as you do.  I was a total tomboy and loved playing bullrush (tackle version preferably, 3-tag bullrush was for girls and sissies and I was neither).  Catch-and-Kiss, not so much.  We had a nice house and nice neighbours.  We weren't rich or anything, but we were comfortable. 

Apache - the heifer calf who really DID go and live on a farm,
because even Dad couldn't bring himself to eat her!

 My Dad was a self-employed builder, who was very good at his job and took pride in everything he did no matter whether it was an entirely new house or knocking up some cabinets for someone's elderly mother.  To say Dad loved fishing, and loved his vege patch, are complete understatements.  My Mum was a full-time Mum until I started Intermediate, and she was Supermum.  She's an awesome cook, she did all our baking, sewed and knitted a lot of our clothes, was on the PTA, and was always, ALWAYS involved.  She also introduced me to the world of the written word, the world of imagination.  It was my best friend as a kid, along with Misty the cat, but I had no idea it would become an enemy later on in life.  I also started playing the piano when I was about ten, which I really liked.

Dad working his vege patch, with little sis 

and I supervising

I loved primary school.  I did very well in class, and my favourite schoolmate was GT, whom I had a love-hate relationship with because he was my fiercest competition academically.  I doubt I ever told him he was my favourite schoolmate, but if you're reading, you were!  As a kid, I remember being for the most part happy, but on odd occasions prone to snapping and losing it.  My little sister copped it most, and for that I do humbly apologise, here in public!  Once I hit her on the head with the hockey stick.  Another time I pulled the garage door down on her head deliberately.  Then there was the time when we were at a BBQ and I threw a rigid polystyrene surfboard at her while she was in the swimming pool and copped her in the face.  And yes, I'm cringing sitting here typing this. 

Howzaaaat!  Backyard cricket.  Dad, caught and bowled by myself,
with sis in attendance as wicketkeeper.

It didn't happen all that often, but sometimes I would find myself losing my temper and hitting someone.  It happened at school a couple of times, mainly when I would see one kid bullying another.  I didn't understand at that age that a lot of kids who are bullies at school are getting bullied at home, I just hated kids being picked on for dumb things like not having cool clothes, or cool lunches, or for being fat.  I would see it and hear it and BOOM, I had punched someone before I even knew what I was doing.  The anti-bullying thing came from my sister wearing glasses from a young age.  I discovered that I could tackle because of one boy who told her he'd throw her glasses in the mud.  Although I was sometimes really horrible to my sister, I was fiercely protective of her.  Even at high school, I'd keep an eye on her current boyfriend if I saw him at a party and she wasn't there.  My sister and I had some tough times communication-wise as we got older, but I can quite honestly say I would have kicked the teeth out of any boy that hurt her if I'd known about it.  I don't know if she was aware of it back then, or if we've even talked about it, but I was always keeping an eye out for her.  As you can no doubt tell, anger became a pretty big issue for me as I got older, but now's not the time to go into that too much.

Cicada monument in my home town of Kihikihi,
it's one big bug.

So apart from occasionally thumping boys, when did things start to really go wrong?  For me, I guess puberty, that was when I started having trouble sleeping.  Starting intermediate was a big change for me, the school was about 3 or 4 times the size of my primary school, and I had simply never been around that many kids my own age before.  Most of the kids from my school were scattered here and there, and although I mostly pretended to dislike him, I was relieved that GT was put in the same class as me, the familiarity in this strange environment was something I appreciated.  My teacher, Mrs T, was a bit crazy.  She was like me, would randomly flip out, but she was an adult, and that made her somewhat intimidating, but also very frustrating.  My class was a strange mixture of really brainy kids, kids that were good at sport, regular kids who were okay at everything, and ratbags.  I honestly think Mrs T resented us brainy kids as much as she resented the ratbags.  We weren't smart-arses (most of the time), but she was unpredictable and you just never knew what kind of day she was having until it was too late.  Mostly things were pretty good, I made new friends and had fun and was still involved in all sorts of stuff.  I started playing the clarinet along with the piano. 

Nevertheless, around this time, I started to dislike school.  I started to have trouble getting a full night's sleep.  It wasn't a regular thing at that stage, but every couple of weeks I'd have a real shocker, and be exhausted at school the next day.  I would either wake up repeatedly, or I would wake up for a protracted period of time.  Either way, I'd be stuffed the next day, and I started to fear getting asked questions in front of the class on those days, in case I got them wrong, which would have been embarrassing.  Yes, I'm aware that that same scenario would embarrass any regular 11 or 12 year old kid, but for me, there was something more invested in it.  I was a closet perfectionist, if I didn't get 100% on something, it started to feel like the end of the world.  So those days where I was tired, and not able to concentrate properly, started to cause me anxiety.  And that, my friends, is where the world of social phobia for me begins...

No comments:

Post a Comment