Manutioriori's Story - Part 2

Opening up to my mum about how I felt was a struggle. I was scared she wouldn’t know what to do with me or what to say. I even thought she...
Opening up to my mum about how I felt was a struggle. I was scared she wouldn’t know what to do with me or what to say. I even thought she would push it all away and tell me to just harden up. I usually would just like bottle it up Like to me showing grief or sadness, I thought it was weak. My grandfather was like a very strong man. Yeah I didn’t want to show my weakness to other people. Yeah, I just wanted to be strong like him I wouldn’t say that she had completely shut down and we weren’t having any conversations. But there were more regular conversations that were ‘I can’t talk to you about it, I can’t explain how I’m feeling'; I can only tell you what I’m feeling’. No matter what tactics I tried, and it’s not like I have a basket full of tactics. So the tactics that I had, as I was trying them out, that was all I was getting. She just couldn’t explain what was going on; it was just ‘I’m feeling this, I can’t talk to you about it anymore’. Mum made me join the mental health course at Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi, where I met Matt. Initially, I didn’t want to do the course because I thought they would be like therapy sessions. The sessions were filled with laughter and just straight vibes. It was a great experience. The most important thing I learnt from the course is that not all mental health programmes are negative, just like they are in films. It was nice to open up to a group of strangers. It was also nice to hear the boys in our group open up, because it is not often that you see or hear boys open up about their mental health. The first thing I would say that I noticed is that she started talking more. She wasn’t hiding as much in her room. I wouldn’t say we went from her not talking to instantly she was telling me everything, but it was small steps, you know. She could explain to me slowly why she was feeling the way that she was or she was talking to me about things that she would talk about in the sessions with Matt you know. That was sort of the biggest thing was that she started talking and started opening up. I was scared I might do something to myself so I started so I started properly talking to my mum about how I felt and telling her if I was having a bad day and needed space. We of course talked about the bad days I was having and it felt nice to be able to talk to my mum about my mental health and just ranting to her, doing this created a well-needed bond with her. I was tired of not talking to someone so it was good to finally have someone that I know won’t judge me. I remember there was this one time me and my sisters were really struggling after he’d passed and we were upset at my grandfather. My mum decided to pack us all up and we went off to Taupiri to go yell at him because that was a coping thing for us. We couldn‘t physically yell at him but it was still a bit therapeutic sitting there just yelling at him in our heads. At one point when we were there I felt like he was there with us it felt like his presence was there and that was really nice. I’m still working on my mental health but I’m pretty sure everyone is the same. My relationship with my mum is so much better than it used to be. My relationship with my brother and family grew stronger throughout this whole journey. I’ve started properly coping with my mental health. I also use photography as another way to cope and started watching anime. I think that she is doing really well. I mean, life is never perfect. Challenge is always going to come her way, but she talks about things. She’s like “oh mum what do you think I should do in this situation?” you know so we definitely talk. I’m really happy at the fact that she, so far, is comfortable to talk to me about anything that is going on in her brain. Whatever she feels is affecting her and changing the way that she’s feeling, she’s comfortable enough to talk to me. And that’s a huge achievement compared to where she was before she started the programme and started her little journey. I was expecting her to like, um, push me away and not want to talk about it. But she was really open to talking more about it and making sure I was okay. Mine and my mums relationship is way better than it used to be only because I talk to her more. My mum's like my best friend; I tell her everything. I think I haven’t got it down to a tee. You know, I’m learning every day with every new problem that gets thrown at me. I’m learning. It feels good to be on the other side. One thing I probably wish I had have done better at the time would have been to talk to people about how I was feeling. As time has gone by, I suppose I’ve learnt that just as much as they’re learning from being born to walking and going to school, parents are learning too.
The Lowdown


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