Being a carer for his wife for 15 years has been an emotional event for Gary and his family.
“I care for my wife, who has a complex mental health condition. She has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and postpartum psychosis.”
“For the last eight years, I was telling the authorities I had a very sick wife, and they wouldn’t believe it. By the time she got evaluated, it was too late.”
Two years ago, Gary sadly lost his 17-year-old son to suicide.
“Her mental illness extended to our eldest son. He’d been a victim of her violence for 15 years.”
Gary faced an increased level of frustration and despair, but this experience also helped him see things in a different light.
“I was extremely depressed and disappointed about how my life had gone.”
“I felt the system had shut me down. I was operating from a very depressive side of things.”
“My caring role took all of my time. However, I didn’t let it get me.”
“I wanted to try and help other men going through the same situation, victims of domestic violence.”
“I wanted to shed a light on the fact that there are people out there with a mental health condition that can have an impact on your relationships.”
“I started a Diploma in Counselling and a Diploma of Youth Work and Community Services. “
“Then enrolled in a master’s degree in counselling at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. I’m at a graduate certificate now.”
Gary had used Carers Queensland’s services in the past. Two years ago, he heard about Your Caring Way and decided to join the program.
“When I first joined, I realised I was at a different level.”
“I had already done some study. With my coach, I created a plan where I could reach some goals which were to do more study in a higher area and find employment.”
“I still had this sort of depression. I had been out of the workforce since 2017.”
“Though I had no recent work experience, they helped me with my resume, and it’s been great since then. It actually worked very well.”
“They supported me with some hardware for my computer so I could study more, and this has opened the doors for me as far as study went.”
“I now want to do a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health. This has opened my eyes to a whole different lifestyle. I now know can study and achieve things.”
“I’ve been her carer for 15 years, but only identified and recognised as one eight years ago, after reaching out to Carers Queensland.”
Progressively, Gary started taking positive steps forward in his career and his life.
“I’ve been supported by Carers Queensland. You are probably the only people who have listened to me.”
“My wife has been fairly stable for the last years.”
“I’m part of the International Association of Coaching Institutes (ICI). I’m a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. “
“I was able to apply for a job with the Community Government Council based in the Northern Territory.”
Seven months ago, he moved to Mataranka, 100km from Katherine, to work as a Council Services Manager in a First Nations community that is home to fewer than 1,000 people.
“It’s fantastic, I love every minute of it. It’s very exciting, I’m helping people; it’s challenging as well, but I’m also getting a lot of chances to use my counselling skills.”
“It’s full-time public service employment and I’m still caring for my wife. She has now also got a part-time job for the first time in her life.”
“The support I got from Your Caring Way helped me stabilised my life. I even helped my wife find employment herself. It’s a very big thing for us. It’s kept me sane and alive.”
“The other side of that coin is that I know I’m not alone anymore. I know that I can reach out to Carers Queensland. This has changed my life.”
Gary is optimistic about the future and is grateful for being able to go through tough times and still experience joy.
As a male carer and a victim of domestic violence, Gary says his ultimate source of motivation are his two daughters aged 8 and 11.
“I’m going to use my knowledge and skills for counselling for my daughters to be able to cope with that behaviour, teach them robust strategies to be able to live with this, to understand a person who lives with mental illness and be able to get through it without having an effect on them.”
“We need to have a broader knowledge of mental illnesses and how these have an impact on our relationships.”
“I thank Your Caring Way and Carers Queensland for being on this journey with us. “
“It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had a rough ride, but Andrea my Placement Officer, went above and beyond to make sure we were aiming in the right direction and that we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”