Cameron was diagnosed when he was 19. I’m not going to say its always been easy, there is a lot of misunderstanding about schizophrenia and we have had to deal with that from within our family and the community. However, rather than getting upset, as that got us no-where, I focused on educating others about schizophrenia and that it is an illness; it is not Cameron.

I joined a carer's support group for support for myself, it helped to be reminded that we are not alone and that there are other families out there experiencing similar things to us. Cameron was linked in with some community groups and a support group for young people with schizophrenia. He was lucky that his close friends stayed in touch and when he was well enough was encouraged to get back in touch with the local footy and cricket clubs, who he had played with since he was a kid. You wouldn’t believe how much this meant to him - that he was still welcome and accepted.

With Cameron's permission I try to work in collaboration with his treatment team so that I can reinforce strategies at home. Cameron prefers for me to attend his psychiatrist appointments with him, so that he doesn’t miss any important information or get it confused, but also so he feels supported in being honest about how he is travelling. We are lucky in that Cameron has always told us what is going on for him, even when he becomes extremely unwell. I know that this is not often the case, but Cameron seeks us out when experiencing symptoms. He has never been aggressive towards the family, and we have never been the focus of any of his delusions or paranoia. For this I feel extremely lucky.

Cameron has good days and not so good days, thankfully currently the good are far outweighing the not so good. I understand that we are on a journey with Cameron and have hope that things will continue to improve. He continues to have a strong relationship with his sister and is currently looking at moving out into a unit and living independently. He wants to look at going to TAFE and “getting on with his life” as he puts it. He continues to hear voices at times but is confident with strategies he has learnt to manage these.

People worry that he’s not ready to live alone, or go back to school, but Cameron says that he can't just sit around and wait for a cure, when he knows this is something he is likely to have to live with for the rest of his life. We are on a journey, we are moving forward and we are supporting Cameron to live his life.

Recovery is possible for everyone - it is a process of change, through which you can improve your health and wellness, live a self directed life, and strive to reach your full potential

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