Finances have been tough

I am so many things, a mother and a wife, a helper and a tour guide. I love nature and especially birds. I am always up for a challenge. I want to believe the best and am generally optimistic (although I do plot out scenarios in my head and can tend to over analyse at times).

Born in Cape Town, I moved to JHB when I was 2, 8 and back to Cape Town again when I was 8yrs.

Cancer

In the beginning of 1999 (my matric year), my Dad got very ill. They thought he had cancer of the thyroid but they couldn’t operate to be 100% sure as he was constantly getting fevers and this would make surgery very risky. He got very weak but God healed him. Later that same year my Mom would be diagnosed with cancer and end up spending 2 weeks in hospital during my matric final exams. I still passed all my subjects with a pretty good mark.

In 2000 my Mom was in remission, although the medical personnel had thought that she would pass away early that year, she kept going. Only at the end of 2000 did she get sick again and passed away in Feb 2001. I had just turned 19 and my sister was 15.

Financial strain

In 2002 I was set to start studying my BSc at UCT. Along with all the challenges of first year varsity we were to move three times as well. Due to my mom’s illness my Dad could no longer afford to stay in our family home. At the time we also had 6 dogs, a cat, and 2 budgies – 3 of the oldest dogs were put down and the other 3 were rehomed. The cat and the birds moved with us although the cat ended up passing soon after our first move.

In Jan 2002 we sold the house and bought a flat. We moved out by the end of Jan only for the sale to fall through a few weeks later. In May 2002, the weekend before my mid-year Maths exam, we had to move back to the house as it was not reselling and sell the flat. A couple months later our house sold again and we moved into another flat during my Sept 2002 varsity holiday.

In 2003 I completed my second year, only for my Dad (who had retired) to tell me that he could not contribute any more towards my studies, but that we were also not making ends meet on a monthly basis and that my sister (who had just completed matric) and myself, would need to get a job.

I never got to complete my degree at UCT.

Going out alone

After much anxiety, indecision, and quarrels at home, I decided to move out on my own at the beginning of 2005. My dad would then go on to marry the seemingly nice lady he had been dating for several months. But she was a narcissist and tried to separate my dad from his kids due to her insecurity and jealousy. Early in 2006 after living on my own for a year, working from home alone for a small company, and all the family drama and undealt with issues around my mom’s death, I crashed. I was unable to work and had no idea what I wanted to do.

Big changes

My Dad said he was going to separate from his new wife and my lease was about to expire. I had no idea what to do and let my Dad decide for me. I moved in with him in the new flat he was now renting. I starting working again but didn’t do well, so ended up seeing a doctor who also told me that apart from my depression my iron levels were extremely low. I was to take supplements and reluctantly went on anti-depressants and started seeing a psychiatrist.

In 2015 my Dad passed away.

So many challenges to face

In 2017, when my son was born, the birth was good and my son was healthy, but I haemorrhaged badly right after he was born. They reckon I lost around 2.5L of blood and I needed to receive 2 units of blood. I was very weak for a few weeks thereafter.

We actually moved in with my in-laws for two months.

God was my refuge

I knew that God was with me despite my circumstances and that He would somehow bring me through. My Dad was always supportive and did what he could to help me. I had two close friends who stayed friends despite my mental state.

God helped me through. He gave me hope that I would get through it, things would be ok (although I had no idea how at the time). I believed that things would improve, and I reached out for help to everyone that I could.

I am probably more understanding and sympathetic to other people’s challenges. I am stronger and I know that I can take on anything. Life will be hard at times, but I know that I’ll get through it.

We can overcome

As I’ve listed a few different challenges, I’d say that they all affect me a little differently. I think I am also still working through aspects regarding all of them from time to time, and there are definitely still triggers for all of them.

On a normal day-to-day basis I try to stay focused on life at hand and make the most of all the time that I have with those still around me. I make sure to appreciate them and tell family and close friends what they mean to me and that I love them.

God does not remove all pain and suffering while we are here on Earth but He will help us go through the challenges we face.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and be vulnerable, for it is in the awkward, painful space of being vulnerable that we can find healing and bring understanding to others.

God helped to bring healing from my depression, along with the assistance of medication and various counsellors. I was on meds for less than two years (2006-2008).

In 2012 I became a Nature Guide and I am currently guiding at Kirstenbosch as a volunteer, as well as arranging my own ad hoc tours.