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Friday, September 27, 2013

Taking small steps...

A little while ago I wrote a post about the strain of having a  relative who was struggling with mental health issues. The strain wasn't just this person's behaviours but also from the pressure of other family members who felt that 'it was up to me to solve the problem'. Since then, I have found a wonderful organisation called Arafmi which offers support for carers/friends/relatives of those who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses. 
I now attend a support group meeting in New Farm most months and have found it so helpful to understand the illness affecting the life of our relative. It was so empowering to share 'my story' and see other people nodding their heads as they also had a loved one who had similar behaviours; no judgemental reactions, just empathy. 

As well as the support group meetings, I have attended an Arafmi workshop on coping which I found most informative and this, plus what I have learned in the support group, has made it so much easier for me to work out strategies of dealing with issues when they arise. I understand our relative's behaviours better and, in turn, I have been gradually helping others in the family be more informed. 

I know that if there should be a crisis, there is a 24/7 counselling hotline provided by Arafmi, and, as well, appointments with  counsellors are available in New Farm 2 mornings a week. There is also a small library and already I have borrowed a recommended book which I have found very helpful. 

The problem for our family will not go away, but at least we know we are not alone. 


Nanette said...

That's good you found Arafmi, it's such a great organisation.It's hard to help, be supportive as well as take care of yourself if you don't know what you're dealing with.

Michelle Ridgway said...

I am so glad you found this wonderful group. It is a very difficult situation to deal with especially someone you love in your family. I hope it gives you some peace knowing there is somewhere to turn. Xx

Becky said...

So glad you found a group for support

Susan said...

I can almost hear some relief in your voice as I read this. It does help to know you are not alone.