- [uncountable] a medical condition in which a person feels very sad and anxious and often has physical symptoms such as being unable to sleep, etc.
- She was diagnosed as having clinical depression.
- She suffered from severe depression after losing her job.
I have been suffering depression and anxiety for quite some time, probably since I was a young child. I nearly drowned in the school pool at age 5 years and got knocked over by a car coming out of a drive way in town where I live about 4 years old. I gave quite a shock to my parents who have since been over protective of me as an only child. I had terrible eczema as a teenager, had a terrible hair cut and grew up with not very much, but always happy and loved. Now I am in a position to be grateful as I am still standing. I looked back in family photos and could see I had depression as looking sad and anxious and not to mention some behavioural problems at school. I was a Maori girl born in Napier Hospital, New Zealand, close by where to our small family house is. I loved being a kid, getting to explore my neighbourhood and great kids to play with both boys and girls who lived nearby. I loved going to school, enjoyed reading and writing but did struggle learning. I tended to get bored in class. I had a mouth on me at times probably in the play ground and in class. I can remember one of my jobs we had to do in the play group they was a small group of us, some how we managed to lock ourselves in the shed with aluminum cans that smelt of beer. It was for recycling by Aliminum NZ back then we would get free rulers I think we hauling recycling. It was dark in there I recall and a boy cried out for help. I would often close my eyes, this is at ten years old to concentrate on a math’s problem, this is in 1993 and put my hands together forming a triangle. My ten year old classmate Timothy I remember with red hair, a Lawyer’s son, destined for the top private school, would say ” Yasmin are you praying?”, “No!” I replied indignantly, he was curious I was head of my table, the class was mainly boys, and just a few of us girls, most of the girls were in the class next door, even primary school was streamed, it was a mixed class, sons and daughters of good families and ones like me who were far less well off, back in 1980s and 1990s everyone was living nearby so it was the local school down the road. I proudly said “I am meditating.” I needed to visualise, I could not solve things without seeing in my head. I learned about Albert Einstein and Edward De Bono Six Thinking Hats how he could see things in his mind. I was “dumb” they said, I sucked at maths, but I would make the boys laugh in class. I so admired them doing their cartoon drawings and stencils. I was angry deep down in side, “I can’t do maths!” I said to Timonthy and his table, he sighed ” Yes you can,” he replied, “keep trying” he said.
No wonder I struggled at Secondary School at Iona College, a small private school for girls, mainly who were only children, small roll and it was Presbytarian I was told. I remember at ten years old going to the interview with Mrs Murray whom I respected greatly she ran the school herself, strict but caring. I was so anxious sitting in my tracksuit with my parents having tea and chat in her well appointed office. I was there because I was falling behind in primary school. She took it upon herself to teach me, “not to worry, small classes there are only seven pupils in form one, that is if you pass the entrance requirements and can pay the fees in full,” I was so nervous, I barely spoke, my parents assured they could afford the fees for the next seven years, I gulped, this is not what I had in mind. I was thinking of playing basketball they have new courts and great gym I thought and nice pool to swim in. I wish Timothy was there with me teasing me at least I had someone in my corner, I remember him proudly saying he was in the top private boys school, I knew he would do well, everyone respected him at school. I remember talking about “process writing”, she said I will be well schooled in classics and latin, clearly my reading and writing had a lot of work, I felt ashamed. She said the school has a chapel, she showed us around, my parents liked the school beautiful garden and the library was my favourite old books and my Mum loved it in there. I was so anxious, looking at Food Technology classroom, it was all new, “I can’t cook,” I said,. “Not to worry, you will meet the head chef for your dietary requirement.” I was to be vegetarian my parents preferred for lunch. I was use to blue bird chips and marmite sandwich for lunch. I had issues eating and a dairy allergy as a child so sometimes would bin my lunch, if not hungry, I liked roll ups and fruit and a cold drink bottle. I would vomit up milk on the way to primary school, so I had coke zero or diet coke in my school bag for emergencies and water my teacher would give me Mr Turfey (he was like Sir John Kirwan back then he was remarkedly similar looking funny enough). The head chef was lovely, well dressed, beautiful light make up she had. I did meet with the school nurse later on she took my hand and showed me the kitchen and dining room anyone on a vegetarian dietary requirement had to be written a special menu they explained. All day girls must eat together with boarding students at lunch time and if a require for dinner or breakfast staying over night that was also catered for. How caring I thought, gosh what a lovely school, so nuturing, I was not being told off like I normally would. The sad thing there were no boys in our school, most went to their version of secondary school, I missed the banter. I was very quiet in class, concentrating on my English Classics and Latin mainly. I was too quiet looking back, sad having to catch the bus each day as a day girl, I was not well off compared to everyone else, but had good company in class, two girls looked after me Amy Robinson and Kirsten McLeod, they were more outgoing, true classmates, making sure I was okay and inviting me to stay and going to their birthday I always enjoyed chilling out with them. Playing my favourite music at school camp Kirsten she was so cool, I loved her play list. Her mum worked in Hastings Hospital with my Dad, that was so nice to have that connection they looked out for me. I could not be my loud mouth self otherwise I would have to Mrs Murray who would have disciplined me, and I did not wish to leave such a nice group of class mates. I had my period at 11 years old, early developer and had trouble with my weight, I was also suffering bulimia, I did tell the school nurse as I got older, she was really lovely, I just kept quiet at school, I was feeling withdrawn, but once PE time came my spirit came back, my PE teachers were the best, they just made us learn ball skills, I really enjoyed those times outdoors on the field. They took us on school camp which I enjoyed, it gave everyone a break from the classroom. I thank my PE teachers for encouraging me to learn Primary School Teaching as I would enjoy that at Waikato University and I did, I saw more as a GAP experience those four years. I liked learning about games and sports so it was fun. But the depression was still there, I was ill from bulimia again it just triggered itself, really sick, my room mate across the way, she acted like my Nurse, she was from Kawerau, and was in my primary teaching course, then others started to help me on my floor, they would pop in to see if I was okay, would walk me to class, I for some reason switched to Bachelor of Arts, maybe I needed a break, I’ll do teaching fourth year, that will be good. I did not like the environment it was not like Iona College nurturing and caring, this was rowdy behaviour from other students across the way, could not sleep or study, it was affecting some of us in the hostel. I hated university looking back, I was arguing with some in the hostel the ones causing the problems. I went to the medical centre on campus a few times and tried the free counselling. We were learning to be independent I guess. Some of the younger students were scared of being bullied. I was not, my mouth came back to me, the old school yard days, I had a group of boys to hang out with and older students in my papers the cool ones who drank and smoked, with their good looking boyfriends, they were ten years older I was 18, this is cool. I could be rebellious finally. In my first week, I nearly got knifed going out late at night with some farming students and trying alcohol for the first time which I am not proud of. I don’t drink alcohol, I thought it was water turned out to be vodka, so I started binge drinking. I wanted to kill myself. I blacked out a few times. The late night parties, pot luck dinners, hanging out at student flats, just like a series of FRIENDS episodes, I learned so much from older students, they had been studying for sometime, they were so cool. My lecturer who has a Phd he was teaching primary school maths said, everyone quit and go surfing…. wow, he predicted Apple back then would take over education, he did not like the Management School, all finance majors, he said Accounting and Cheques will be gone in the future, do computer science he predicted the future with his mathematical calculation, so I told someone my age which greatly upset him as he was studying Accounting at the next lecture. I wished I had listened to him, my friends encouraged me to study computer science, I suck at maths I said, he called me Yaz, as the Australian do and the Americans on campus, “so are you like American Indian that is so cool….” clearly his mind was on surfing…. I liked my name Yaz, everyone called me that, I did not mind, I was cool again, tight jeans west and glassons top, and sneakers and short hair, lugging my Kathmandu backpack. One of the senior students she was concerned about my weight I went from 65 kilos down to 52 kilos, she was the mother of our tutorial group, I said “I’m okay,” battling bulima I did not share, I was fit and young that’s all I worried about at that time I was 21 years old. I always like the older students the guys were good looking in class and really caring they were fantastic primary school teachers and their equally beautiful partners I thought I learned so much from them hanging out. Everyone I met was so lovely and I admired them achieving top marks in their studies. I was struggling, I was barely coping, I was just too young compared to them, I was also desperately unhappy, so I said goodbye to my flatmates and said I am going home, I’ve finished the year, and I will never do Primary School teaching it’s exhausting, thank you for everything, great time living together.
I wanted to play basketball when I grew up or volley ball or patter tennis on the courts and netball I played which was okay was not my best sport, I liked softball for fun. I was tall as primary school kid so enjoyed shooting netball goals and liked Fresh Prince of Bel Air my favourite series. I liked watching the All Blacks as a youngster, I can remember who was in the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995 yet I could not tell you who was in the team these days in 2021. It was Amateur profession back then. Many All Blacks went to top Boys Schools in NZ so we looked up to them growing up. They were also studying at University and working hard as well as representing their local teams and New Zealand. I always thought I’ll write to Rugby News as my Dad enjoyed the All Blacks on TV back then especially the test matches. I did when at Iona College, most of our class was so into the All Blacks, I would cover my books like her with our favourite heros. I would enter competitions and eat Blue Birds chips getting free products to try for sports exercise. I went to a game once with my Dad and saw the heroes at a Rugby trial for the All Blacks, it was great back then in Napier. I wrote a letter to the Editor to Rugby News New Zealand and got published and also went to the Rugby Museum with my parents in Palmerston North on a cold and rainy weekend. I just loved the history of the All Blacks as a child growing up in New Zealand. They inspired me to do well at school. Not to give up on myself and to use your talents for good.
One thing struck me with Sir John Kirwan, was how much work he was doing for the Journal – depression.org, how he is helping so many us through depression. He understands what it is like for so many to go through and raising awareness of how to get help and what supports are in place and how to connect online. I love how positive his message it, to get outdoors and do small things for yourself and helping you through problem solving activities.
I think my depression stems from learning difficulties, feel frustrated as a child, getting angry, breaking things, I hated anything old, I remember ripping my mother’s parents photo and breaking her antique powder puff. I would yell, and act out, my Dad had to discipline quite a bit. I was terrible to my Mother as a child, she was always so patient and talked to me quietly. She was my best teacher and another retired lady Mrs Lee also a teacher, she acted like my NZ grandmother, she had no children of her own, her husband was Maori in the World War II and she married after the war and lived on Napier Hill. She would teach me to read at the table and bake beautiful apricot cake with powder icing sugar. I hated the way I looked, and wanted to spend on nice clothes and nice sports gear like other kids had, so I loved as I got older buying Rebel Sports.
I tried going to the gym when I was working and my Personal Trainer was always giving me good sound advice to keep trying, don’t give up and would go for a jog outside together and how to deal with mental health. I still put on weight but I enjoyed the discipline of going. I found I much preferred being outdoors walking on the beach and practicing mindfulness and tried some yoga stretch class there. I also found I disliked noisy things like clubs and pubs and preferred peace and quiet at home, I always enjoyed putting the radio on in the background listening to National Radio with Maggie Barry and watching a nice documentary on television on Eygpt and Rome. I found I could not rest my mind, it felt like constant chatter and I could not sleep. I also did not get on well with my family or extended family, they frustrated me constantly they live overseas, but they caused my depression I do believe, I have hardly anything to do with them, I have visited them three or four times in my life and I blame them for a lot. They impose their beliefs and faith on me, which I am not interested in, I was interested in going to a nice resort or spending time at the beach and doing fun family activities which we loved doing together. I just don’t get on with them, always catty towards me, I had the last laugh in the end, I am the one who is generous, kind and considerate where as they just take and go on how great their lives are, until my cousin died at age 29 in a car accident, then they stopped in their tracks. He also suffered depression, he was acting out, getting frustrated, no one understood him, he reached out to me before he passed away, he wanted to learn Reiki he said, I sent him some greenstone, he loved his gift, I am sad it takes a tragedy to make people realise depression is real, it affects people deeply no matter how young or old, the consequences are devastating if they do not seek help in time. I stopped driving for a month to be respectful, I love driving as well my sports car, depression just does not seem to disappear, it can be triggered in some people, it hurts the ones they love the most. Often we just cannot understand it, I cannot understand it myself. But I decided to carry on and go to the beach each day and exercise and think of the positive in life, not the negative, you have to make a deliberate conscious choice each day, to move forward, it’s not easy, but you have to get on with life and put it behind you and pick yourself up with good supports.
I tried Japanese Reiki and mindfulness and relaxation I found this really helped with depression. I also liked learning Japanese Minimalism. I also tried aromatherapy massage for headaches and tension and stress relief and that was utter bliss. I so believe mindfulness is necessary in our daily lives. Back when I was at primary school, I don’t believe mindfulness was taught as it is now in the curriculum, we had quiet time to read in the library as far as I can recall. I also decided to try sleeping during the day and do my online learning in the evening, listening to school of life on You Tube and Audiobooks on classics and children’s stories, my clinical psychologist recommended. I also like Headspace and the Journal and Aunty Dee online, how to work through a problem.
I am also enrolling this year with Te Wananga O Aotearoa Financial Capability Level 2 in April 2021 and then plan to do the Level 3 Financial Capability Course and Level 3 Certificate in Computing. Plus there are many other Business and Administration Courses I would like to learn as I progress.