Catherine tells her story of how mental illness affected her family and her as a carer
“When you have a diagnosis for someone you love, especially a child it’s awful… you just want to deny it – it’s just not possible. Having a person in your life that was all over the place emotionally actually affected our whole family from being a really close, well functioning normal family and suddenly it’s not normal anymore.
My husband and I, we struggled to maintain our relationship because all of your energy will go into that person that’s got the mental illness. Your consumed by this feeling of grief. It is a real feeling of grief.
You have an expectation of this person because you know that they are very intelligent and you know that they are very sensitive and you think that they are going to make the world.
When you start off, and you think this is the end of the world for you. Try and keep that little bit of hope, try and keep that window open because there is a chance that the person you love will get well. Don’t give up.
But then I saw an advert for a place that was called HelpingMinds. It helped me learn more about what services are provided for people like myself. With HelpingMinds a sense of relief is that you know you are going to get support, what a sense of relief that is for someone who is struggling.
People think there is no hope, there is hope and working at HelpingMinds, working with people at HelpingMinds it just gives you hope all the time, because they are so positive. Some of the things that help me cope was definitely walking. I discovered my art again. I started drawing, scribbling.
I found that you can’t really worry as much when you are doing something with your hands and your mind is taken away from the traumas of your life. When you start off, and you think this is the end of the world for you. Try and keep that little bit of hope, try and keep that window open because there is a chance that the person you love will get well. Don’t give up”