We are regularly calling for our carers to share their story with us and where we can, we like to share them with you. Below are the words from one of our carers who has bravely shared their journey with us. We respectfully and gratefully pass it on to you.
“When I really think about my life, I have always been a ‘carer’. From a tiny tot when I use to save stranded cats, to a teenager sticking up for the kids being bullied, to as an adult working with people with physical and intellectual disabilities, to now being my 40-year-old son’s unpaid carer, which started when he became unwell at 25.
I tell people, that I should be fitter than I am, as I do a lot of dancing – two steps forward, 1 step back, as I have travelled this mental health road with my son. Nothing prepared me for this, and all I had going for me, was my love for my son, and my spiritual belief. Hope is steadfast in my daily life, without it I may have given up, and I know hope is what keeps my son from giving up. I am amazed at how resilient we both are, especially my son, as I cannot be in his shoes 100%.
I have not experienced the trauma and grief that he has; I have not been in a mental health facility; I have not felt disempowered by decisions made by others about me, without me.
I have learnt that the way I cope is by learning, being involved, being curious, so over the last 15 years I have been on reference groups, gone to conferences and forums, done courses in mental health and integrative practices, which have all, to be fair, contributed to a better understanding of not only the mental health system but a gaining in knowledge that many many things could be done differently and better.
Mental Ill-Health is a growing concern, and it is not getting any easier for anyone. My observations, and by listening to people with mental health challenges, their carers, their support people, some doctors and nurses working in mental health, have led me onto another phase of my involvement in trying to make things better for those who face these mental health issues regularly.
I want to see TIME, SPACE and GROWTH be the benchmark of excellence in mental health practice. Through a variety of activities and training, and having a safe and secure place to live, to enable one to have the time and space to grow with one’s own meaning and purpose in life, so one feels connected to others not separate. Where, indeed, nurture does come from nature and healing happens naturally. I have not come across anyone who does not feel a sense of calm by being in a safe, accepting, and beautiful environment.
This is what I am committed to, this is my vision, this is me.”
From all of us here at Arafmi, we’d like to thank Narelle for sharing her story with us. If this resonates with you, and you would also like to share your story, we invite you to submit your details online and one of our friendly staff will be in contact with you.
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If you have any questions about this article or need someone to talk to, you can call Arafmi any time of the day on 07 3254 1881. It’s comforting to know that when you need to talk – someone who understands will be there – at any hour.