"It is finding a place where you can try and participate again in life when you are struggling to keep going and where just getting out of bed every day can be a victory."
After you lose a child life hurts. If you’re lucky you have a good supportive network of family and friends who can stand by you as you try and survive. But even the best intentioned people around you don’t understand and can be thoughtless and unwittingly increase the sense of profound isolation you feel.
When as a bereaved parent you discover The Compassionate Friends you suddenly realise that you are not alone; that there are people who really do understand, who have walked in the same shoes you are wearing. The bond that develops between people who are going through or have gone through something similar to yourself is deep and real. Laughter and tears flow freely as stories are told and a feeling of re-connection to the world begins as the pain of the present is shared along with the joy of the memories of our lost children.
Amanda's mother always encouraged her to consider her future goals, and to not give up on the idea of working again one day. Amanda felt she didn’t have the confidence to ever return to the nursing job she had loved, causing her much grief. She developed a desire to help others with mental illness in their journey, and she felt she had a lot to offer from her own experiences. Peer support work became an ideal fit. Being a Peer Support Worker has been a very fulfilling role, and Amanda particularly enjoys promoting that hope that is so easily lost – the hope of getting better one day; the hope of recovery.
Jenni first became unwell in the 1980s, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression. It was in the early 90s that Jenni started attending Grow, a twelve-step mutual support program for people experiencing mental distress. When her father passed away in more recent years, Jenni decided to return to Grow once again: “I had some serious problems, and I needed support, and I couldn’t get it anywhere else,” she says.