Tag Archive | birthday


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yet another year has passed. and looking back, i don’t know where those days have gone. every birthday is a heartache, if i am to be truly honest. looking back, dwelling in the present, looking to the future, it pains me greatly that my existence has been maintained till today. i know that that is the depression talking. that a life in Christ is so much more. that a life in Christ is filled with love. the past year was spent with at least 14 crises. there never was any semblance of stability, and the struggle was painfully constant.

in the here and now, i dare not hope. what is the state of my life now that will change anything? absolutely nothing. so why set myself up for disappointment and heartache?

happy birthday steph.
may you find the courage to do what you need to do to go on.



i thought i would dread this birthday just as i have in the past few years. but this year proved to be a little different. i think.

many things have changed in the course of the year- from my 25th birthday to the 26th. i’ve gone savage on myself after a year of relative stabilisation. it saw me free-fall from what seemed to be improvement, to nothing at all. it saw me deciding to leave nursing. it saw me venturing into uncharted waters of psychology. it saw me entering a stint in the social service sector. it saw me going into hospital. i was burnt, cut up, bleeding, infected, unconscious. it saw me being stitched up, patched up, fixed, and convulsed. it saw me fighting to stay, surrendering against my conscious desires to go,  so that i could be saved. it saw me stand up again and again, despite the torment and anguish that haunted me. it saw me cry in desperate despair, in hopelessness and helplessness. it saw me being judged as “too far gone”, as “too difficult to manage”. but i guess like all other times, being broken was being human. i may have been shattered into smithereens, but i can still be put back together.

perhaps i’ve listened too many times, to the Les Miserables soundtrack. what always stands out to me is a part of a verse in the Epilogue:

“even the darkest night will end
and the sun will rise”

it is indeed very simple, but it’s taken me a long time to come to appreciate it. with each dawn is a new beginning. it wipes the slate clean. what was last night’s, is past. i spent more than half the nights of the year wishing i wouldn’t see the light of day again. but no matter the state of mind when i fall asleep, dawn comes unfailingly. i’ve come to accept that with God, i can hope even when hope is gone, that He will give me the strength to carry on. faith, hope, love and joy triumphs. and although there will be more despair than all of that, i can try again at each sunrise, and with it can carry on.

it’s rather simplistic, but it is precisely that that this is important. i’ve been pushing it so far i couldn’t see what’s right in front of me.

i will keep trying. and i will be gentle to myself. i know that i will still fall. i know that it’ll be a tough ride. i know that i still have a long way to go. but i will hope in the Lord and in each dawn.

Happy Birthday Steph. stay hungry always.



i’m struggling with my 25th. birthday’s aren’t special anymore (like i’ve said for the past few years). they are a stark reminder of my morbidity and mortality. they make me question my life and my suffering, and for how long more till it everything ends. i seek for the real Steph. the Steph i lost 5 years ago after falling into depression. year after year however, i am more convinced that Steph is gone for good. that the Steph that i am now is the one i have to settle with. and that it will also deteriorate.

in one year i’ve learnt so much about myself and about people. it can be heartening, but more so it makes me disillusioned. i exist with the pure aim of preserving my life. i try to build upon that a life of love and giving, of hope and wanting, and of course growth .

putting back the pieces hasn’t been easy; it’s a sore understatement to say so actually. i’ve tried to learn to accept myself for what i am, and not identify myself for the illnesses i have. i experienced acceptance and rejection in that. more for the latter, rare for the former. i see the kindness and empathy of people, but also the cruelty of reality. i want to see mankind beyond their darker side; there are people who are saving graces, but the rest destroy that ideal of mine. and so you see that as time passes i grow more bitter and disillusioned.

i’ve had to deal with radical changes in my body. weight gain. fibromyalgia. more pain. more medications. i do what i can to cope, but i find myself being unable to. the basis of my suffering with RA first has not been grieved for properly, and simply having to deal with concurrent illnesses and being slapped with new ones, i cannot take it all in. in short i am struggling still, after so many years. i am battered and bruised, i try to be ok with it outwardly, but the dissonance is terrible. in the past year i’ve been more open about the crosses i bear, yet i am clammed up about my pain. i’ve begin to realise that putting up a facade of being well, especially at work, cannot sustain. it is cruel to the self.

recovery for me has a steep curve. from having to hurt myself to none at all. from relying on others (the doctors and hospitals) to save me i’ve begun to save myself. the notion that things can actually get better, that after the rain comes a rainbow, is still  very foreign to me. i dare not be hopeful because things always turn out otherwise. but i’m still learning to do that and yet still be hopeful. how do i do that, i don’t know. i’ve learnt to be gentle to myself. to be loving of myself, of what others cannot give to me. i am now said to be better than i ever was since 2010. but there are still dark clouds lurking, threatening to give thunderstorms and lightning. i am always wary that recovery can be lost to almost anything. it’s in such a precarious state. i never stop wondering how i can hold recovery in my hands, yet not drop it while the rest of my body and mind rebels.

again the aim is self-preservation, and no one can hold  my recovery in their hands. it’s mine to hold and my responsibility to bear.

i have been so blessed however, to be a child of God, a bride of my Lord. experiencing renewal in my faith, and returning to God. i have received so abundantly and so freely, i am loved in spite of my sins and transgressions. what i can say, is that in the last one year, returning to God was the most joyful. because of Him i could live a bit better and love even more. He sustains and heals, and i cannot ask for more.

i’ve been told a many time that i am an inspiration to others, for the things i do although i struggle with my circumstances. i’ve also been told that i am a great nurse. i deny them because i feel i am not worthy and deserving. but i am learning to be accepting of what i am, and the difference i make to others.

i am 25. i’ve lived a quarter of a century. i am shaped constantly by this life i live. and while i hate celebrating birthdays, i must because i am still here. nobody knows if i will get to live till my next birthday. i don’t know what the next one year will hold for me. the possibilities of regression and deterioration are real. however the hope of a better life and healing is always there.

i want to live more and love more. to give selflessly, and not ask. to keep choosing happiness and say no to what brings me down. i want to serve my Lord, and do His will.

Happy Birthday Steph. Stay hungry always.

Happy Birthday Poppy!

Poppy giving me a kiss as i take this selfie


Happy 4th Birthday Poppy baby!!!

I bought her a doggy birthday cake to celebrate her birthday, even though we’ve never bought such goodies even for Clover, who’s turning 11 this year. I felt bad for actually conveniently “forgetting” Poppy’s birthday last year that i promised her i would buy her a cake this year. Sat with her on my lap, with a lit candle singing the birthday song. We blew out the candle, and we let her and Clover devour a quarter of the cake each.

Poppy’s my best friend. Although i hate my birthdays, i was happy to spend Poppy’s 4th birthday with us. We got her right after i fell into depression in 2010. My parents acceded to my request even though we already had Clover, because they too, thought Poppy would help with my recovery. And she did. Not totally, but she did, nevertheless. Yes she makes us angry and annoyed, but she brings us so much joy and love.

Happy Birthday my lovely baby Poppy. I’m sorry i had to be away from you so many times when i was in hospital. You loved me anyway. I love you very much too. I know that we are your everything, so know in your doggy mind, that we all love you so very very much.


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Disney’s Stitch in watercolor pencils; quote by Chuck Palahniuk

so today’s just like any other day. but today, i actually turn 24.

my feelings towards my birthdays can be very lukewarm. this is my 4th birthday, my 4th milestone one could say, since i fell into depression. it’s a reminder that i have lived another year, that i have outlived my poor prognosis. i try to look at the bright side of things when my birthday comes (you can see them in my past posts).  i thank God for letting me live yet another day, everyday.

yet i tell myself that i don’t want to celebrate my birthday. there’s nothing to celebrate. i don’t want a cake. even though i want to eat a cake. i don’t want to make birthday wishes, or blow out that candle. they’re mere symbols that honestly mean nothing to me until i am truly happy. i tell myself that perhaps i can celebrate my birthday one day when i am finally happier. that is when i would feel deserving of it.

wishes don’t mean anything. hopes, maybe something. in order for anything to change, for things to turn for the better, i myself have to be the change. i have, and i damn well tried. my 23rd to my 24th has been nothing short of a freak ride. some people thought i’d never make it past 2013, let alone my 24th. it was that bad. i too, was mentally prepared. yet things changed. for better, for worse, for better, for worse. it kept vacillating. discombobulated, i am.

to think i was so close to jumping up and down and yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” to myself having settled down more or less with my new job, then !@#$%^&* happened last week. again.

so pardon me if i’m being my own spoil sport on my birthday.

yay for still being here. nay, for everything else. and till my next birthday, perhaps it would be prudent to hope that the world doesn’t lose me to the perils of mankind.

Happy Birthday Steph. Smile a little, will you? You tell yourself that you deserve better, yet you’re not willing to give it to yourself. It’s time to learn how to, silly girl. 




portrait of daphne groeneveld on canvas; quote by marya hornbacher


I wouldn’t put a number on myself, especially my age. But i just turned 23, and that means i’ve outlived the monster we call depression for 3 years. I suppose it’s a good thing, no? Well i can’t seem to decide myself, so i’ll leave that up to everyone else.

The days leading up to my birthday, which was also the period since my last post, have been nothing short of a wild ride wrought with emotions. I went from up to down, calm and collected to angry and frustrated, nice to nasty, scared shit to feeling i can conquer the world, feeling the love to pure hatred, happy like a bird to sinking sadness. I went from ‘yes i can do this‘ to ‘no i can’t i give up‘. It came to a point where i just let everything sink in and let myself feel them, instead of fighting them. But of course, sometimes it’s really much easier to give in.

I won’t lie. It has been fucking hard staying out in the wild, and it’s sad because wild is where life really is. That means that i have a lot more work to be done. I am essentially a work in progress. Always.

Here i am in my entirety, with scars and wounds, joints wrought with pain, and a spirit that is secretly tenacious. I am alive, and that is all that’s important, right?


So here we go, to many more birthdays and years ahead.

Happy Birthday Steph


i turned 22 just 2 days back

one year ago, i didn’t think that i’d be able to live to see today. i never thought that i’d accomplish what i have so far. i never imagined that i’d come as far as i have.

one year ago, i spent my 21st birthday locked up in the psychiatric hospital. i spent my 21st birthday undergoing the first of the 12 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy(ECT). my world then, was monochromic and lifeless. i was merely existing and kept alive by being locked up in the psychiatric ward. there was too much pain and too many tears, that i sought reprieve in sleeping, each time praying that i may never have to wake up again. i saw all my hopes and dreams crumble, all that love and passion die out. i simply couldn’t see the light, and couldn’t see myself make it through. i was pretty sure that no matter what, i’d be dead soon enough, no matter how hard i tried, or how desperately my team and my loved ones tried.

but one year on, i am still here. i am what i thought i couldn’t be. i am brimming with life. i am hopeful. i dream dreams. i smile and laugh like i mean it. i am burning with passion. i love and appreciate more. i am thankful for each day. and i am finally the nurse that i’ve always wanted to be.

i am utterly grateful. to God. to my family. to my friends. to my team of heroes. to my passion. and to the tenacious fighting spirit in me that just wouldn’t yield to Nina.

i am very much alive, and that should be enough, no matter how much i regress or relapse.

happy birthday steph 🙂