I used to work in a great job and was studying at University, however I became unwell about four years ago and had to go to hospital following a psychotic episode.
I was then diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent treatment. I’ve been on medication for a few years, and have stabilised over the last year and a half. I’m looking forward to the future now, am doing the right things and am taking the right steps.
How has your diagnosis impacted your life?
Since my diagnosis I have become more secluded and don’t go out much. My self-esteem has dropped and I am a bit anxious about what the future holds for me. I’m not working at the moment and don’t know how I’ll go in a job. I’m also not sure what kind of job I want as I haven’t worked for four years.
The biggest challenge for me has been not knowing my diagnosis and not knowing anything about it once I was diagnosed. I also feel embarrassed about it and don’t want to talk to people about it. Today I know much more about my mental illness and am accepting it bit by bit, however, because of the stigma I really struggle.
Is there any advice you’d give anyone who has been struggling or experiencing issues?
Get support, because it definitely helps.
Instead of sitting around the house doing nothing, it’s good to have the support of MIFWA and their support workers to help you to get out of the house, to get on with life and to move forward.
I first discovered MIFWA and the NDIS when I was in hospital thanks to one of the workers there. Once I was on the NDIS, I was given a few options and I chose to come to MIFWA. I now have good support workers who are really helping me out.
What advice would you give someone navigating the NDIS?
I recommend talking to your NDIS Support Coordinator and Support Workers so that you effectively use what you are given. Through the NDIS I’ve had good funding and worked with a future planner and my Support Coordinator who informs me about what I can use the hours in my plan for.
If you’re not happy with a support worker, or if you aren’t finding it productive, speak up. About a year and a half ago I had a support worker who took me out for coffee however we weren’t doing much else. They were supportive but I just felt like we weren’t doing much with my time. I now have new support workers who take initiative, are more productive and are helping me to achieve my goals. It’s really good.
What goals are MIFWA supporting you with?
One of my goals is to lose weight, and my NDIS Coordinator found me a support worker who had knowledge about working out at the gym and could help me attain my goal. Once I lose weight, I’ll feel more confident in myself and from there that’s when I’ll probably go out more and socialise and ask MIFWA to help me with that.
Another support worker is helping me to start my own little business. She’s given me ideas and is helping me through the process.
Tell us more about your business!
I’d like to visit hospital staff who know of people in hospital who need someone to care of their animals while they are in hospital. It will help me and I’ll be helping them at the same time.
My support worker is helping me to come up with a logo design, business cards and all that kind of stuff. MIFWA have a few connections with hospitals and they may be able to help me get the word out. It’s pretty exciting – we’ll see how I go!