Case study of a carer

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By reaching out to Mind Jersey we can help support those who are acting as a carer for family or a loved one. As part of Carers Week we look at how the charity has helped one individual cope with the associated pressures of being a carer.  

“I remember stumbling through my life in a constant and lonely panic.  Not my whole life – but for the preceding 10 years – starting with nagging worries and escalating to helpless panic which to me felt as if I was running through the streets with my dying child in my arms, screaming and begging for help, but everyone I turned to just shook their heads.

I had watched my child over the years go from being a problem drinker, with vehement denial all the way, to becoming a completely incapacitated alcoholic.  We could not even communicate. There was also much trauma in the background for which I had tried to help by listening and by many trips to a counsellor for her.  But nothing helped and gradually the alcohol became her life and all else was lost.

Although she was making appointments with Drug and Alcohol services and even keeping them sometimes, when I tried to contact them, often leaving shaky desperate messages, there was no response, or, if there was, it was only to say that they could not speak to me about my daughter as she was over 18. These were the regulations. “But”, I said, “you need to know some things and I need to know some things and I need to know what to do!!”  Nothing and no-one could help me. I read every article I could lay my hands on, spent hours poring over all the research information I could find on the internet.  I bought books to try to learn some way or ways to understand this illness and what help was needed, what hope there was and what path to follow.  Little did I know.  In my ignorance, I could not help her.

One day, as I watched her walking away from me, confused and bumping into shop windows, I wondered if MIND Jersey, a mental health charity I had heard of, may know about alcohol abuse and mental health and be willing to give me some advice.  I found MIND Jersey on the internet and phoned the number given.  The person I spoke to listened, and said he could help me and to come in for a chat.  I grabbed onto this like I was reaching for a shining rope I had been thrown while desperately trying to keep a drowning person’s head above water.

I visited MIND Jersey several times and did a lot of weeping and talking and found out so much more about the mind of an alcoholic and how to begin to take control of my situation and about the best way to help my daughter.  I suddenly had support and someone showing me how to help my child.  Whenever I felt lost and not knowing how to handle a situation – there was someone on the end of the phone – or I could go in for more discussion and listen to good sound advice.  It all made sense, and was for me to understand and apply.

I found it very hard to put the advice into practice but I knew I had to and it helped to know I had someone with me.  I found out how to help her to help herself.  It has taken awhile but my daughter and I have come through this nightmare, and are now happy, strong, close and stable and the emotional traumas are in the process of being dealt with and accepted.  Her mind is now healthy and strengthening every day.”

Thank you MIND Jersey!

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