I am a carer
I am a carer for my daughter who was 17 years of age when we arrived in Australia. She is now in her 40s.
My daughter completed high school and then went to TAFE and trained as a laboratory technician before going on to a job at St John of God Hospital. Over the next several years she became progressively very quiet. She then quit her job.
Osborne Park Hospital diagnosed her with Schizophrenia. The social worker at the hospital referred the family to Ishar.
As a carer for my daughter, it was frightening at first. I didn’t understand schizophrenia.
I am one of 11 siblings (9 sisters and 2 brothers). At first, when they heard about my daughter’s schizophrenia, other family members were frightened. My nieces born or brought up in Australia were accepting of my daughter’s condition, but family members in Burma were culturally inclined to consider her to be ‘mad’. Now, over time, family members have educated each other and are supportive of my daughter’s needs.
My daughter’s strengths
My daughter is very bright and did well at school – she was one of the smartest in her class. She wants to get back into the workforce and is currently supported by Centrelink to gain work skills to return to employment.
My daughter shows strength and perseverance, and has responded well to counselling through Osborne Park Hospital.
She has learned to drive through a driving instructor. It was her father’s idea to go through a driving school. It took her some time to get the license but now she is a good driver.
My daughter is active in the local Salvation Army. She also goes to the Catholic Church – it was her personal choice to go to the nearby Salvation Army.
Now my daughter ‘worries’ about me, even through I don’t need help.
Services that helped me
When I approached Ishar (at the suggestion of the social worker at Osborne Park Hospital) I immediately joined the Carers’ Group.
One of the most valuable things I attended through the Carers’ Group was a workshop devoted to explaining schizophrenia. It helped me to understand people with schizophrenia. They are not doing this on purpose. They are very sensitive people.
I also belong to Carers WA.
I have learned that it is important to be welcoming and supportive towards people with schizophrenia – they need a lot of support.