Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Love Never Fails

I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 7. But I didn’t realize this because well, I was 7 and back then people didn’t talk about it.

I barely understood emotions, let alone the fact that they affect each of us differently. I had a good home: both of my parents loved me; I had a dog; I got A’s in school and I had friends and played sport… but I couldn’t understand why I was so sad all of the time.

I tried to distract myself… by playing with my dog; always doing my homework and dragging my friends outside to play sports. It worked, sort of… I had enough reasons to pretend to be happy. I had enough excuses to hide my pain and fear behind smiles. But then I got a little older and at 14 I realized that all of my friends were in that constant giggling phase and how much it annoyed me. At first I thought it was just because it’s sort of annoying but then I realized it’s because I couldn’t. I couldn’t giggle or laugh out loud. I actually became one of those people who would substitute a laugh by saying “Ha, that’s funny”. I couldn’t remember what my laugh sounded like and to make it worse, all of the things that I was able to use as distractions were no longer working. Instead of giving me a momentary relief, they were just reminding me of the fact that I needed a relief from being me!  And so, I had to find new things to help me find or rather fake ‘happy’.

I changed sports; took up drama and debating and I was even a cheerleader for 3 days before I came to my senses – I have no rhythm and I am not flexible! I changed subjects and my career path and I secretly hoped that it would get better. It didn’t really. I mean, I had a lot of fun and made really amazing friends and experienced things that I will remember forever but when I was alone, I was still me and I was still sad and it still hurt.

But I was finally old enough to understand psychology and with the help of some older therapists I got to take a closer look into my life and figured out a few things that I could make peace with and let go and a few months after my 15th birthday I had an amazing revelation of forgiveness that helped me breathe a little easier. And for a while I was only sad sometimes. It was around this time that one of the therapists who’ve known me for quite a while mentioned to me that she noticed that was suffering from manic depression and that she wanted to help me. The thing was, I didn’t want to be suffering from manic depression and I was scared of what helping me would entail. So I brushed her off and said that she was overreacting and that I was fine.

That’s when I realized that my hiding techniques needed to be updated. I filled my schedule to the extent where I would pretend to have watched TV shows that my friends are talking about when in fact all I did was spend 15min reading TV guide between all of the other activities… Thinking about it now, it seems really crazy but to me, it was the only way I could ensure that I had no time to think by myself or about myself. The distraction was great, ok not really. It stressed me out a lot! I was so busy all of the time and never slept more than 3hours a night and as productive as that part of my life was, just thinking about it exhausts me. And when High School came to an end, that’s when my little plot went up in smoke…

I was really stressed and lost and couldn’t figure out how to ‘be normal’ or at least calm.  I spent a summer getting back to family and nature and that was pretty cool. I found a couple of reasons to smile and it made the bad times seem not so bad. And then my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 Cancer, my dad died, my life changed and I moved to London. I started a new life and hoped that I could run away from my depression. That didn’t work… As much fun as my new environment was, depression was creeping back in and this time its hold was a lot stronger than ever before. When I finished studying I started to see my life flash before my eyes and I was that confident that I was where I needed to be anymore. So, there I was: lying on the bathroom floor hoping that something would happen and magically it would all make sense again; that everything that I had been through would not have been for nothing; that I was strong enough to go back and face my life. Sadly that was not even close to what my mind wanted. I would spend days not sleeping and then crash by sleeping for 30hours straight. My eating habits were, well erratic to say the least and getting out of bed was a massive effort let alone getting out of the house. I did have a few friends who never gave up on me and kept dragging me out. I’m really thankful to them, because without it I would not have been able to make it through those years. But just like before, none of those mini distractions were able to ‘fix’ my depression and the thoughts that were stuck playing on a loop in my mind…

So once again, I changed my surroundings and moved to the other side of the world. I thought that maybe simpler would be better and that if I could just go back to the basics, everything else would make sense again. That’s not exactly what happened. Instead I just had way more time to myself and the loop of negative thoughts in my head just became louder. It was also during this time that one of my friends committed suicide. This rattled me a lot! More than most of the people in my life realized. See, to me, she had so much more to live for than I believed I did. And I was so close to the edge myself. Push the thoughts of ending all of it out of my head was getting harder. If Lacey couldn’t cope, what chance would I have of living a happy life? Or even just surviving?

But once again my friends came to the rescue. One simply talked to me about his problems and allowed me to realize that I was not completely alone in my misery, plus it gave me the opportunity to put my painful experiences to good use by giving him a little bit of advice. Then there was Chrisselle, after everything that she has lived through, she managed to turn it into something productive. All of her pain and anger channelled into making a difference. This life saving difference goes by the name of Don’t Lose Your Grip.  It saved my life. Chrisselle saved my life.

Not only did I have a way of coping with the loss of a friend and a reason to give a positive meaning to this pain but I also had something to do when being stuck in my head got too much. And one day as I was talking to all of these people on the DLYG twitter page, people who were also going through the things I was feeling, I realized that this was a great opportunity to talk about our fears and fight stigmas publicly. One thing lead to another and that’s how #TopicsToDiscuss was born. It’s an open platform that allows all of us and the DLYG followers to share their views and opinions on everything from Mental Health issues on Monday to Eating Disorders on Tuesdays and Self Injury on Wednesdays.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about these things openly and honestly but the way I see it, if we don’t, who will? We have the opportunity to educate those who have experienced our thoughts by sharing the thoughts we have kept secret for far too long. Occasionally we ask questions we do not even have the answers to and every once in a while someone new will join the conversation and we’ll be able to change their negative perception of mental health or eating disorders or help them see beyond the scares of selfharm. That, to me, is a victory.

Every conversation we have brings us one step closer to an accepting world. One without judgement.  One where love never fails…

Get me through today

Spent yesterday sitting around a table drinking and eating and chatting with friends…

This might not really sound interesting to any of you but for me it’s a big deal! I use to like going out and hanging out and just being out. But slowly it’s become harder for me to do these normal things. It’s effort for me to sit there and just relax; it’s like I’m always on edge; expecting something bad to happen or like whatever I’m doing is not enough and if I take my eye off the ball for a second my whole world will fall apart…

But yesterday was different. I actually had fun. I laughed out loud in public! And I wasn’t surrounded by the usual 4people who have become my social safety net. I was sitting there alone with people I haven’t seen in months and people who knew all about me even though I barely knew a thing about them; people who were judging me and expecting things from me and I didn’t mind it. In fact, I enjoyed the attention. It was really amazing!

It started with a very normal coffee and shopping for lunch for 30people followed by a slow drive out to the dam. Headed to the kitchen to cut some onions and wash some potatoes. Standing by the fire with a beer in one hand and sunglasses in the other. Just chatting and hanging out… Something I have not had the guts to do in a really long time. We talked all day, ate some food, had a few more drinks and talked some more. Here’s the thing though: even though I drank way past my capacity, I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t want to be… I could actually handle the social anxiety without a vice.

And you know what the best part was: waking up this morning. Waking up and not regretting it! Waking up and smiling because I remember the fun we had yesterday. Waking up and feeling revitalized because I made the most out of yesterday. Waking up and having hope that today could be filled with the same kind of… fun. Waking up and knowing that I can be happy.

Yesterday allowed me to get through today… I need to have more days like yesterday.

Worth the fight

I don’t do discussions about ED just because I care; I do it because I’ve been there. Every bite is a mixture between a victory lap and the sinking feeling of defeat. I don’t talk about mental health just because a few of my friends have tried to commit suicide, I do it because as soon as I open my eyes I have to start fighting a daily battle just to make myself get out of bed… And then I look at the person next to me and it seems to come so naturally to them. I don’t speak openly about self-harm just because I’m worried that my little cousins or even my kids one day will be stuck in this same pattern of pain. I do it for them and everyone out there feeling as alone as I have felt most of my life… to a large degree I do it for me.

There are a million things I feel I should say to all of you bothering to read this little piece of me but basically I just want you to know that you are not alone and slowly but surely we are all learning to understand not just the disorders and illnesses that mess with us on a regular basis but we are also helping others understand that there is more to us than a frustrating diagnosis. You are amazing and if today is not going that well. Just remember one little good thing that has made you smile in your life so far. You just need one little reason to smile, even just for a moment… It does get better and it is worth the fight.

You are not alone

Stranger on the other side of the world

I spent the best part of the evening Facebook Stalking some old fiends… most of these guys I haven’t spoken to in years. Some of them probably don’t even really remember me anymore but they were a big part of my life, of who I am.

As I liked random posts on their pages all of these memories flooded in, I remembered all these things we use to do and say to each other and I also remembered all of the things I never said.

Like to Ludi: You were my friend during a time when I couldn’t let anyone in

Gerhard: You helped me realize that my passion is not defined by those who hand out awards

Egle: Sometimes being nice doesn’t mean that you will finish last

Minouw: You were always way cooler than me and even though I never admitted it to you, you inspired me

Lara: It took guts to change the path your parents wanted you to take but that gave so many of us the guts to do the same

Malisa: I never meant to insult you; I just didn’t see all the other parts to you…

Even with all of this technology and ways of communicating, I still can’t bring myself to say any of this to them, not even from the other side of the world… So what’s stopping me? Well, probably a touch of fear and a bit of “what’s in the past should stay in the past” although I think it’s mostly just a concern that if I said these things to them it would mean that I want them in my life again… actively at least. And everything they represent. I’ve spent years trying to get away from or not revert back to the person I was back then.  

Someone filled with anger; a person who would rather have the world pretend that they never existed; someone who denied so many parts of themselves because they wanted to believe that they were normal; someone who really just wanted to get life over and done with to see how it all turns out; someone who would read TV guide and pretend to have watched the shows just so that her friends wouldn’t realize how close to drowning she really was. This person who didn’t ask for help and wouldn’t even allow herself to help her, this person who spent years observing the world and analyzing every aspect of it rather than just live and enjoy it, this person who was a lot better at pushing people away than allowing them in… I don’t want to be this person anymore… I can’t go back to that because it took me so long to get away from that.

Yet, I like my friends and I miss them. I wish I could just pick up the phone and call them and say, “Hi, how’s life treating you?” Maybe someday I’ll get there but for the moment it’s good to know that all of the moments I have survived and all of the people I have encountered in my life made a difference, they have had an impact on who I am and what I believe in. So maybe, just maybe I have left an imprint on a few of their lives too, maybe I matter to some stranger on the other side of the world…

When It Rains It Pours

You know those days when everything seems to be going wrong? Well my boyfriend’s parents have sort of been having that for the last 3months!

You can read about it on my other blog posts so I won’t bore you with the details now… Basically it comes down to losing everything you have except the clothes on your back through no fault of your own. Having every new venture you embark on crumble underneath your feet is not exactly a motivational beginning.

Obviously it hasn’t been all bad, there have been some amazing friends who stepped up and are holding their friend’s heads above water. And for this they are grateful. I am grateful. But it is not easy accepting help from others, especially when you haven’t really kept in contact with them as well as you should have.

For me as an outside, I get to chose what I focus on. I get to choose which story I tell. Do I tell the one about despair and how when it rains it really just pours, or do I tell the one of friendship and Ubunthu? Well I’m choosing to tell the one about people caring about each other; about people looking past their differences and focusing on the friendship they once had. We have this uncanny ability to drop everything [including a grudge] the second someone we care about needs us. If they are in trouble we run to them and crush every soul that gets in our way. It’s like we’re all super heroes who love that ability to catch someone when they’re falling off a 70 story building. We love being strong enough to help them fight their battles and in the end all we want is for them to be safe, we really don’t care about the ‘Thank You’ part.

I’d gotten so use to people doing the whole *you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours… or maybe stab you in the back if a better opportunity comes up* thing, that I find it refreshing to see how many good people there still are in this messed up world of ours…

Occasionally it is good to just take a little step back and while you’re looking at your life, realize that it really isn’t all that bad. Chose to see the good and then go see if you can help someone else out. It really is a great feeling that we don’t experience as often anymore. Go make a difference in someone’s life; just say ‘hi’ and ask them if they need a hand… it really is a good place to start.

I’ll remind you all that we should be working towards world peace, hey. But we’ve gotten a tad lazy so we should ease into it by doing all the little things again. Just smile and lend a hand and show you care. That’s it! It’s not just the huge things that should be given credit for peace; after all it is the little things that determine the big things.

Go make a difference… actually no, go be the difference!


PS: check out my friend’s charity event in the UK Bands needed! Models needed! Help needed!

Testing Trust

When I was 7 we moved to the other side of the country so for my 8th birthday I didn’t want to invite any of my new school friends. My logic being that back in those days parents invited kids who invited their children to parties, so if I invited those I considered friends, they would feel obligated to invite me and I would have no way of knowing which of them were truly my friends. So I spent the day with one amazing friend who also happened to live behind us. I never doubted that we were friends and will love her for the rest of my life.

Every year for about a week before my birthday I’d turn into a total bitch and to ensure that those who were still around on my birthday must be my real friends. Yeah, I know that’s pretty pathetic and manipulative but I was a weird kid so… When I was about 14 I realized how psychotic this behaviour was and I felt comfortable with the friends I had so I actively tried not to be that way but when I started cracking, I just made sure they knew how insane their friend was. Being the amazing friends they were they just laughed at me and pretended that it was perfectly normal.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because I think we’re all trying to trust. We’re always trying to ensure that we won’t let ourselves down; that the people around us are supportive and if everything goes up in smoke we’ll have someone to rely on. Sometimes we test their trust… sometimes we push them just to make sure that they won’t go anywhere. Well I stopped doing that and I completely believed that every single person in my life were deserving of my love and trust and then 2 of them completely blindsided me and 3years later I’m still trying to recover from the damage they did to me…

But thinking about it now, there is no way I would go back and un-trust them… To be honest I’d still believe them if they told me that they love me; I’d still believe every lie they ever told because once upon a time I saw something pure and amazing in them and if I stop believing in that- even though I can’t see it right now- then I’d be giving up on one of the things that makes me ‘me’. So yeah they messed me up and I still have some serious trust issues but I won’t let their mistakes haunt me for the rest of my life.

I know I deserve more than that and right now I have people in my life who are willing to give me everything I’m worth, I just have to let them… I’m done testing their trust; I’m just going to trust.

Sharing my view,


I’m a coward

I was sitting around for most of the day talking to some friends. I call them friends because they know more about me than the people I grew up with…

I can tell you about the number of friends I have on Facebook or Linked or about my follower count on Twitter like it even matters; I can tell you about my best friends in High School and I can tell you about my amazing buddies from college or that group of friends I experimented with on my 21st birthday but if you were to ask me right now where I’d go when it felt like my whole world was coming apart or even if I just needed a hug, I wouldn’t be able to name one person.

I think that’s pretty pathetic, actually I think that makes me a huge coward! In this day and age, I can’t even trust one single person in my life with the most important part of me? How messed up is that? I can’t pin-point the exact date it happened, because I wasn’t always like this. I use to trust. I just remember this series of moments where in I discovered the person I cared about most throughout my life, never even cared enough about me to listen to me and my mother, well let’s just say that I chose to believe the lie rather than believe that she could lie to me. And as it turns out my family has this deep dark secret no one wants to let me in on but I know enough to know that my father wasn’t who he seemed to be… So that pretty much rules out all blood relatives.

As for friends, yeah I have those… I’m not a total recluse but the thing is I know their lives. I know the problems they are facing and honestly don’t want to bother them with whatever pathetic thing seems to be bugging me right now. So here I stand… very uncertain and very scared… My friends are amazing but if I can’t trust my family, I have no hope of trusting my friends so I’m just stuck. Stuck in this place where I keep everything to myself and hope that the feeling will just resolve itself.

You know what the weirdest thing is: I’m writing something that any random stranger with internet can pick up on and even though I’ll never meet anyone who reads this, I’m still too petrified to let it all out. I know I’m just ranting and none of this really has a point, I just thought it would be a good idea for me to document this moment, so ten years from now when I find myself unable to trust my future husband I won’t have the excuse of: “I didn’t see it coming”.

Clearly I’m having a weird day and I’m not even upset about anything, except the fact that I wouldn’t have someone to talk to if I were upset. Whatever, I’m just having a weird day. I’m a coward for not trusting the people in my life, even though I have every reason in the world to trust them.


We shared a life

I think that you spend the first 5 years after High School trying to get over it or more awkwardly away from it.

It’s like you have to take some time out to re program yourself. This could mean forgetting bad memories or making new friends even though you already have great ones or simply just verifying that the person you are is the real you and not just a by product of adolescent pressure. I found that you sort of need to take a break from all the things you’ve come to accept as normal and constant to discover which of those things actually result in your happiness.

Then one day you’re sitting on the porch drinking coffee and a flood of memories from childhood rush through your mind. You’ve done all the discovering and have a pretty good idea of what really matters to you and now you find yourself comfortable enough to go back and re-introduce those constants and normalities you spent the last five years expelling. Like you’ve managed to purge your system of everything you know and replaced it with new knowledge that now allows you to go back and sort through life’s memories to determine which ones you still want to have when you’re 104 and telling your great-grandchildren about the good old days…

I’ve been reading a random Wilbur Smith book while listening to a mixture of Erik Faber and Butch Walker and all of a sudden I felt comfortable missing my old friends. Let me explain: I don’t really do regrets so for me to miss something is incredibly rare. Even on days when I miss something, I can’t wait to expel the thought from my mind but somehow today I like missing them. Missing these people I haven’t spoken to or even FB’ed in 4 years. People I grew up with and made mistakes with and actually had loads of fun with but never really considered having in my adult life…

Usually I’d chock it up to nostalgia or find some reason to say that it’s actually my psyche masking deeper and more complicated issues yet today I’m just enjoying the memories. The greatest thing about this fast pace life we live in is that I can actually do something to make sure we cross each other’s paths again. I can send messages and give them a call and pretty much pick up right where we left off all those years ago. It’s like I’ve given them enough time to find themselves so that I don’t have to look at them with the same wondering eyes of ‘when are you going to stop trying so hard and just be yourself already’ that I use to.

See, they always say High School is great for finding yourself but with me and my friends it was more like we found a hundred different parts of ourselves and by the time we left school we hadn’t quite figured out how to put those puzzle pieces together yet. After taking a break from constantly motivating and pushing each other, we have another chance to re connect and this time do it because we really want to be friends not just because our paths happened to coincide.

I guess that’s why they have a 5 year reunion… I didn’t go to mine; actually I’m not even sure ours went ahead~ something about a lack of interest. I always said that I’d never attend the 5 year reunion because we’d all still be in contact so I didn’t see the point, I was especially put off by the idea when I realized that 180 out of the 200 people in our class figured I’d be the one organizing it! As if!

What I’m getting at is that sometimes we need to get away from everything we know and walk away from the people who know us to really get an idea of who we are… Pretty much like it’s sometimes easier to talk to strangers about something that really bugs you rather than your oldest friends because they won’t expect anything from you; they won’t anticipate your moods; instead they will be willing to allow you to change… and if needed, they will be fine with you changing back too.

‘On one tombstone all our names should go: we shared a life’ is a line from a Lisa Marie Presley song and I think it’s incredibly true. It’s extraordinary that we can meet so many people throughout our lives and how all of them help make us who we ultimately become; even we have to let them go in order to really appreciate them in the end.

Just sharing my view,


High School Ends

I think it has something to do with the time of year or maybe I’m just getting to that age but I’ve spent a lot of the last week speaking to good friends I made in High School but rarely keep in touch with.

I’m tempted to believe that our final year was not like anyone else’s, like somehow we were different and special. This is probably false but to me and my friends this is the reality we choose to believe. While we were living it, of course we didn’t think about it much and figured everyone did what we did. It was only months after our final exams that I sat down to have a conversation – quite by accident- with someone I hadn’t spent much time with during our school years, even though we were in the same school for 11 years.

This conversation caught me off guard, I figured we’d just talk about our future plans and things we’re still trying to figure out but somehow she changed the conversation into a reminiscing session. Except she was remembering things I never knew. She told me how kids, some a few years younger than me, had pictures in their dorm rooms of me and were throwing darts at them- one of them use to be my friend when we were about 8. She continued to tell me that there was about 18 people in a club dedicated to hating me and a few of my friends and what made it worse was that these members were all our age, I sort of figured they’d have more important things to focus on than hate like maybe their futures!

The fact that I didn’t know about any of this when we were still in school shows you how bad they were at hating me… It’s also very convenient that I never knew their crazy glazed looks were those of loathing but sometimes I wish I would have known so that I could have called them on it. See, I have no problem with them hating me or calling me names, however I would have hoped that the people who shared all the opportunities I had and got the same great education I did, would at least have the decency to dislike someone they actually knew. Half these people I barely saw once in a semester and they weren’t in classes with me or any of my friends so somewhere between us not talking and not running into each other they formed a opinion of me in my absence…

That same conversation brought up the other side of the coin and how teachers would use me as an example to the juniors and even in some senior classes and how there was a fan club thing who use to meet every week and discuss silly things about me, including what I was wearing. Now, if you know me at all, you will know that fashion is not my forte and I basically put on whatever is on top in my closet- some days I end up looking like I really like the colour blue! I recalled a few people during my high school career coming up to me and going: “Look at what I’m wearing! You were the same things in orange last week!” And I also recall being surprised and pretty freaked out by the fact that someone else remembered what I wore last week when I don’t even remember! I guess it’s pretty cool to have people look up to you and if I managed to inspire anyone to be a better version of themselves along the line, then yippy!

I think it’s just the fact that I only discovered this afterwards and even some of my friends knew about it before I did, they just figured I already knew so they never bothered discussing it with me. I have to admit that my 5 closest friends and I were well, total geeks! We only needed 6 subjects to graduate and all of us had more and we had it on Higher Grade. Our transcripts look 3 times more pages than most people’s because we never really said no to new challenges. Then there’s the fact that we actually had keys to the school: as in our own sets of keys to get us into buildings while no one else was around… Total geeks!

It was a blast and I loved every second of it but thinking back I can’t help but wonder if by doing so much, we took opportunities from others? Combined with my 5 friends we had control of 3 charity organizations; the school news paper; school year book; school archives; drama club; debating club; cheerleading; social tennis club and we had our fingers in everything remotely academic. Nothing happened that in our school without one of us being part of it, even ditch days failed if we weren’t involved. I’m not trying to say that we ruled the school or anything cheesy from an 80’s movie, I’m just wondering if by seizing every opportunity we cost someone else the opportunity to find their true potential.

It’s been years since any of us actually went back to school but our paths keep crossing and probably always will. I never found the haters anything other than amusing and I think somehow knowing people looked up to me inspired me but I just hope that these kids who spent so much of their energy profiling me, managed to become adults who have been able to find themselves…

Sharing my view,


Inspiring Friends

Inspiration is a funny thing: no one has ever been able to pin point a full proof formula for inspiration. We have all been inspired at least once in our lives and usually it comes when we are at our lowest or just about ready to give up.

I have this friend and for years she has managed to inspire me, even when we don’t speak for a year, she still manages to cross my thoughts and give me a lift when I need it most. When we were still in school, I managed to end up in a situation where I was barely keeping afloat with my school work, extracurricular activities and friends and family. Now if we were to compare point by point all the things I had to get done on a daily basis, it would outnumber the amount of things she had on her plate, even weighing its complexity or importance would still put mine on top. But that’s not how I chose to see it back then.

Every day I’d sit in our registration period after meeting with at least 3 groups of people and compile my to-do list. By the end of the 15min period I’d almost be exhausted simply by staring at this daunting list on top of my normal class schedule. Just as I am about to go into a negative train of thought, I’d look up and sitting across from me would be my friend. She’d be laughing or smiling and I’d start to think: If she can smile then so can I. I’d start compiling a list in my head of all the things I knew she had to get done that week and compare that entire list to the first thing on my list. That’s basically how I made it through that unexpectedly chaotic year: I’d compare her weekly to do list to one thing on my list and after that’s done, I’d do the same with the second and the next and well, you get the idea.

So before I knew it I’d be through my list because when you take it one step at a time, it really seems a lot easier. Reading it back now, it sounds like a lot of psycho babble that I used to trick myself into not being overwhelmed by details and maybe that’s exactly what it was but to me knowing that I had amazing friends who worked really hard for all of their achievements and who managed to smile and in the process inspire me while they were under that much pressure, still makes me smile and reminds me that I can still do anything as long as I take it one step at a time.

I have amazing friends and they have spent years figuring out exactly who they are and in all fairness they’ll probably spend several more years trying to define what makes them unique. I’m just glad that to me they will always be those kids who managed to inspire me not to be scared of new challenges and overwhelming odds, kids who will be known as adults who changed the world, even if they only manage to change their own little corner of it.

Even if all they ended up changing was me, I still think that’s pretty amazing!

Thank you,


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