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Gemma is a carer for her mum who has mental health issues after suffering abuse years ago that led to Brain damage.
“I gave up a lot to care for my mum but it is an act of kindness that I would do all over again.”
When unmediated, Gemma’s mum could be aggressive and considered a danger to others, she had to fight to take over her mother’s care at home instead of the alternative of her mother going into the care system.
“I single handily took my mum on and fought for her to be allowed back into society. Mum would sometimes be physically violent towards me. When I started receiving support from Steps 2 Wellbeing they gave me a lot of emotional support and helped me over the phone when mum would have ‘a moment’, as we would call it, helping me to see that all of my feelings were normal, the support helped me feel less isolated.”
Gemma’s mum is doing much better now on medication and is leading a fairly normal life. Gemma doesn’t have any other family to help or support her. Unpaid carers like Gemma only get a small amount of money and some respite from caring responsibilities at home.
“In lockdown there is not allot of respite for carers, be respectful and kind as you don’t know what people are going through.”
“I am lucky that we do receive some respite; it is scary at the moment as it is a risk letting someone in the home during lockdown but we have 2x 3 hour hours of respite a week. I use this time to go on walks to the beach, picking up drift wood and shells to do seaside crafting, or I go into another room to read or listen to calming music, things that are comforting and make me happy.”
Gemma heard about Dorset Healthcare’s Steps 2 Wellbeing service through her council key worker, at the end of six free private sessions it was felt she needed some more sessions.
“You might seem alone, but you don’t have to be, ask for help if you need it.”