Gary's journey has been far from easy.
After years of caring for his wife, he found himself unable to work.
“I had no one at all that understood this, not even my own family. I felt very alone and isolated,” he said.
It was then that he sought help from Your Caring Way.
Your Caring Way offered Gary a glimmer of hope. He can see things differently now.
With the program's support, he embarked on a journey that was as much about self-discovery and academic growth.
This is his story:
“My name is Gary, and I have been a client of Carers Queensland for a few years now and am delighted with the services they have provided me with. Especially around the counselling and support areas, as I have been a carer for my wife, who has a severe and complex Mental Health condition, for 18 years now.
As you can imagine or may have lived the same episode in this type of caring, you can easily lose direction, faith, hope and even your own self-respect.
You can sometimes have a chronic attack of the “poor me” syndrome asking yourself how the hell you wound up in this seemingly hopeless situation and question why you want to continue with this thankless lifestyle.
The answer is that it is because we CARE for others and simply want to see them do better in life than they currently are doing. Carers Queensland is that buddy, that friend, that ally who can and does sustain us while we dedicate our all to help the people who need so much empathy and support themselves, and without us to help them, they may not be able to survive in this society.
I was not able to work for several years because of my caring role. I had no one at all who understood this, not even my own family. I felt very alone and isolated!
I knew that I could do something more to help others in my situation. Carers Queensland assisted me with further education, where I thought big and reached out for something that I never dreamt possible while lost in the despair of caring for just my wife.
I have a very strong Human Services background, so I used my life experiences and my compassion to open my eyes and my life view. To focus more on the many others out there who also needed what I had to offer as a carer.
I used a career coach from Carers Queensland to help me into the Master of Counselling at Edith Cowan University and gained financial and emotional support on this journey of discovery.
I had never done this type of study before, and as someone who is not the least academically inclined found this daunting, to say the least. I had a student support officer from the Uni work with the one I had at Carers Queensland and with this. I am now at Graduate Certificate level and looking to achieve more.
This has changed my life considerably as employers in the Human Services field now also take my caring ability seriously. I went from being a carer on Centrelink to a Senior Manager on a salary of over $120k per year within four years.
At age 64, my life has finally just started! I am now in demand for my Counselling abilities in the areas of Mental Health, AOD, and youth Suicide. During my advancement in caring and helping areas, my own son suicided 2.5 years ago, and I was devastated and broken again.
Thank Lord Buddha for the fact that Carers Queensland also supported me during my grief, and as a result, I found ways to accept this sooner, grow from it quicker, and to help others through this very seriously disturbing time in their lives too.
Nowadays, I see things differently. Very differently, in fact! For years carers languished in silence. They were often abused for their help not only by the ones they cared for but also by the system, which did not acknowledge their relevance in life or society.
With organisations like Carers Queensland, you will now, in turn, be cared for and accepted for the totally vital roles that each and every one of us does as a carer every day of our lives.
No longer in silence and no longer alone, we can all embrace the wonderful work and support that Carers Queensland does for us with support and advocacy.
Thanks and very kind regards Gary.”