“Mental illness cost me my house, cost me my business, cost me my car - some days I physically cannot get out of bed.”
Ten years ago Robert Hint of Airds was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder type one.
“I went through a period of disbelief and it took about five years before I started to realise the truth,” the 57 year old said.
“Everyday is a challenge, I have these manic highs and these lows and there is nothing in between.”
Though their marriage fell apart, Mr Hint’s ex-wife Janelle became his full-time carer.
She said the diagnosis was somewhat of a relief for her.
“Things were happening and I didn’t know why, I even thought that I was the problem so getting the diagnosis helped me to understand what was happening,” she said.
“I knew nothing about mental illness so it was frustrating and confusing trying to sort out where to get help and how to deal with it all.”
Many carers often find themselves in the same situation.
South Western Sydney Local Health District have organised a Mental Health Carers Forum on Tuesday, September 6.
The event will be held at Wests Leagues Club from 2.30pm to 8pm.
Beautiful Minds founder Sandra McDonald said the forum was “music to her ears”.
“The local health district have realised they need to work more closely with carers,” she said.
“Carers will have the opportunity to speak directly with frontline staff, hear carers stories and participate in a question and answer session.”
Afternoon tea and dinner will also be provided.
Ms Hint said the forum was a great chance for carers to talk with professionals and learn about mental health.
“Carers need to be acknowledged so that they are not trying to hide things or cope with things,” she said.
“There is a lot of support out there, but without forums like this, carers may not know how to access the support they need.”
As a result of her experience, Ms Hint studied mental health and now works in the industry.
“Over a period of years I have had to accept that things aren’t going to be the way they were before but that doesn’t mean it has to be all bad either,” she said.
“Without the life I have had to live, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”