Neenya tells her story of how mental illness affected her family and her as a carer
“I took her in to see the doctor, and was pretty amazed when he said she had schizophrenia. I wasn’t aware of just how much impact on myself and her and the family. In those days there was no support network for carers, the first few years was really hard, simply because I battled on my own.
A lot of things we were focused on her medication and getting her well but I was sort of pushed out towards the side it was like there was no need for a support network for me and so I just had to manage the best way I could but at the same time I was falling apart inside.
I just had no idea how to cope with it. It’s a 24 hour job you know, at 3 o’clock in the morning something can happen. It is still a big struggle. A few months ago I just lost it completely. I ended up in the psych ward in Broome hospital. So I was in there for 6 weeks, it gave me time to reflect on me, you know and the amazing thing about that was other members of my extended family was like “oh we had no idea”, because you always put this front up. You know everything is ok, everything is fine, when inside you are “oh my god”. I think mental illness should be something that should be spoken about and more openly.
Please go and see somebody, its ok to go there & say “I need help”. To me HelpingMinds means that there is an organisation that can really, really help you, not only in terms of you talking about problems you have but also to see things that you can’t see you know because your focussed on your problem.
They can show you that there are other things around you that you can do. It was a god send to me it really, really was because there was somebody, an organisation that said “hey, we’re here for you!”
Initially I didn’t want to go because I was ashamed you know, because for me to say “hey, I need help” was a no, no!
And it’s good because you have a cup of tea or coffee and nothing is placed on you, you know. You’re not obliged to say or do anything straight away. It’s amazing sometimes, you don’t know what your own strength is too unless outsiders bring it out of you. It gives you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve just got to persevere. I mean HelpingMinds they are a great organisation, they really are, I mean they saved my life…”