Comic Cori’s sad bat­tle

Luck­ily his mum was be­side him all the way

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - This Week -

When Kiwi co­me­dian com Cori Gon­za­lez-- Gonz Macuer’s Macu mum Ale­jan­dra starts star talk­ing about her son, so she can’t help but beam from ear to ear. She ad­mits adm that her first­born was al­ways in­cred­i­bly thought­ful, though a sen­si­tive and creative c soul who’d ask her h a mil­lion ques­tions ques­tion a day. “He was read read­ing en­cy­clopae­dias at three,” says Ale­jan­dra, smil­ing. “By the time he was four, he knew al all the plan­ets and all t the cap­i­tals in the w world, plus he would w write these amaz­ing p poems. “He’d sit down at din­ner and we’d have proper con­vers at con­ver­sa­tions. He would ask me, ev even at such a young age age, things like, ‘Why is the sk sky blue?’” Their bond as a fam­ily was tight, fur­ther c ce­mented by the fact that Aleja Ale­jan­dra, 57, had re­lo­cated the Go Gon­za­lez-Macuers to New Zeal Zealand from their na­tive Chi Chile in the early ’90s. Cori says, “We cou couldn’t speak English, so we just had each other in a ti tiny flat in Welling­ton. But I a al­ways re­mem­bered us be­ing happy.” When Cori turned 21, he left the fam­ily hom home to start univer­sity, but h he found

him­self do­ing some­thing he’d never thought pos­si­ble le – push­ing away y his fam­ily, in­clud­ing his beloved mum.

“I wanted to stay away from peo­ple,” re­calls Cori. “I felt to­tally over­whelmed about just be­ing g an adult, like pay­ing ng bills and do­ing a de­gree. gree. It felt like a hard time to me. I re­mem­ber think­ing i ki about b try­ing to get out of bed and it just be­ing the most drain­ing thing. ”

Taboo sub­ject

Cori, 36, ad­mits the word “de­pres­sion” had never been part of his vo­cab­u­lary grow­ing up. But when the univer­sity ther­a­pist di­ag­nosed him and he was put on med­i­ca­tion, it clicked into place.

“I sup­pose I al­ways felt that some­thing wasn’t quite right,” he con­fesses. “But I went to an all-boys’ high school which was all about rugby and ma­cho­ism, so that didn’t re­ally help. De­pres­sion was never talked about.”

Ale­jan­dra adds, “There was noth­ing around back then about de­pres­sion. I al­ways thought Cori was a nice, po­lite boy and, yes, sen­si­tive, but I al­ways felt we never re­ally had to worry about him.”

When Woman’s Day asked Cori to be a part of our Half It cam­paign to raise aware­ness of the im­por­tance of tak­ing the time to lis­ten to those with men­tal health is­sues, he im­me­di­ately wanted to cham­pion his mum.

Th The ac­tor-turned- d co­me­dian, who starred in cult Kiwi vam­pire clas­sic What We Do in the Shad­ows, says that ther­apy in NZ is re­ally for those with the cash to splash. And for him, he de­pended on his mum to lis­ten and sup­port him through his dark­est times.

“Not ev­ery­one can af­ford ther­apy,” he ad­mits. “Not ev­ery­one has $100 a pop to talk to some­one, but a lot of peo­ple do need to talk to some­one. I am lucky that I have had Mum there the whole time. She’s been amaz­ing, even if I haven’t been the best son at times.”

Last year, Cori hit a re­ally rough patch. He split from his part­ner and sud­denly found him­self a sin­gle dad to his three-year-old daugh­ter Frankie. He once again started to push away those who were near­est and dear­est to him.

“I might have known what I was up against in my 20s, but I didn’t keep my eye on it like I should,” he ad­mits. “I know it’s al­ways there, but I chose not to ac­knowl­edge it for a long time. tim But then it came to a head h last year.

“I went to a place called the Tay­lor Cen­tre with my mum, and the big­gest thing thi there is that they give i you free ther­apy and they an­a­lyse you. You see some­one ev­ery week. Now it’s ev­ery fort­night and that’s the first proper ther­apy I’ve ever re­ally got.”

There are only lim­ited avail­able spots at the Tay­lor Cen­tre, a com­mu­nity men­tal health cen­tre in Auck­land’s Pon­sonby, but Cori man­aged to get one. It’s one of the very few places in Aotearoa where Ki­wis can re­ceive free ther­apy ses­sions.

But Cori’s not sure if he’d have got there with­out the help of his mother.

“She is my best friend and she’s al­ways been there for me,” he smiles. “Even if I wanted to hide away, she would be at my door, get­ting me to talk about things. And I ap­pre­ci­ate that more now than ever.”

Ale­jan­dra con­cludes, “Me lis­ten­ing to Cori is just a nor­mal part of be­ing a mother. I’m al­ways go­ing to be there for him. I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s just what you do!”

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