A Glimpse at my Caring Journey

It’s been a long journey with hills and sometimes mountains to climb and windy roads! The view on the journey was lost by the tears! Giving up was not an option but having the strength to fight was hard to find at times BUT it has been worth all the stress to get to HERE! Being a Carer for me has included having my son detained under the Mental Health Act a number of times! The trials of the Tribunals and the look in my son’s eye when I was not saying what he wanted to hear, was awful. He thought I was against him when all I wanted was for him to get better and I hoped I knew more than him!

The support I received on the journey came from many sources, my employer in the early days, the Police were fantastic, even when they had to do searches that were pointless, they had to follow the rules and they were very sympathetic. My son ran away a lot, he was very resourceful and was over the Border within hours of escaping from behind locked doors at the old Murray Royal. Sarah Cox, Carer Support in Perth & Kinross was initially a great source of knowledge, (you don’t know what you don’t know) but became an emotional support too and I still enjoy meeting her at Support meetings.

Some people were not so supportive and questioned why my son wasn’t working or eyes raised when I even mentioned mental health. At first I didn’t talk about his Mental Health as I confused Confidentiality at work with my home life! Once that was sorted in my head I would talk to everyone about it! And I mean everyone, for example, I had gone to visit my son in hospital and he didn’t want to see me, this happened a lot (and I travelled over 20 miles to get there and sometimes came after work from Edinburgh); anyway I digress, sorry, I went into Perth and ended up chatting to a shop keeper about my son and I shed a few tears, the shop keeper was amazing and I left feeling less alone, and she got a sale too!

When as a Carer we share our journeys with others that have no experience of Mental Health we educate, humanise and make Mental Health real to more people.

My son is now living independently, he is doing really well and I am so proud of him and love him to bits. He no longer hugs me or even tells me he loves me but I know deep inside he does. He is helpful to others and I am sure his new neighbours appreciate having him about.

It’s been a long journey (which has not ended) but I know I have made a difference to his life. He said to me once “ what happens to the people who don’t have a Mum fighting for them like you do for me?” Care in the Community only works if people are open about their Mental Health, and mostly they are not, maybe because people don’t want to know perhaps.

My son is still receiving daily support, he is involved in work experience projects and lives a relatively full life which I play a part in, I attend meetings and make sure he has everything he needs, and watch out for signs of change in his health and pray the only changes are for the better.

In Church recently we had Elders Service and I did the Sermon/Talk and guess what I did it on? OK that was easy, Mental Health, no prizes sorry. Anyway I covered Depression, Dementia and Schizophrenia, I gave examples of what people can do to help understand and support others. I talked about people talking about Mental Health and not hiding. This was well received, and a number of people thanked me for bring it out into the open. BUT, they still whispered to me, “I have depression” etc rather than openly discussing, but it’s a small step in the right direction.

By Tricia

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