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“I've been a carer for 20 years, and there is still much to do. Being an educator for One Door has lifted my self-esteem to be able to talk about mental illness so freely; I enjoy sharing my story.”
In terms of One Door, what is it that drives you?
I started off having a mental illness in 1969 and that's when I was diagnosed with OCD and I went through 20 or 30 years with addictions and some really hard times in terms of my mental health. I guess you could say anger drives me. It’s anger and resentment. It's the 'why me' and you have to get over that and have a form of acceptance. An, "Okay, this is you. This is going to be your life. How can you make the best of it?" The best of it is to get out and do something about it and hopefully to change the system.
What advice do you have for someone with mental illness and someone who's a carer?
Well that's really interesting because the main thing that I can't help my daughters with, is I can't instil in them hope. They have to build that hope within themselves. All I can do is inspire them and help to change their attitude to have hope. That is the hardest thing, to keep them motivated, to seek change and improvement because the recovery journey is for the rest of their lives. But, just keep practising and making efforts to improve.
What’s one thing you would want everyone to know about mental illness?
I just want them to listen and to feel empathy. To express empathy. That's all. It's simple enough, isn't it? Really to just express love.
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