As a doctor, I understand the mental condition of my son better. I can discuss with the psychiatrist about the type of medicine, dosages and suggest possible changes as he recovers. Other than this, I have to learn to walk the same journey as the rest of you.
What have I learned in this journey?
Medication is important for recovery. As caregivers, let us learn all we can about the condition of our loved ones i.e. the medicine given and its effects including side effects. Give feedback to the psychiatrist so that medicine can be adjusted as needed.
However, their recovery is also dependent on us as caregivers. Whether we are primary or secondary caregivers, learn all we can. This is where my wife and I want to thank Caregivers Alliance for their help.
Attending the C2C class has given us much more information and skills needed in our journey. We wished we had attended the C2C class earlier.
Here, I want to be honest and open about it. My wife and I have argued many times through our journey. Also I have not responded appropriately many times in my journey with my son. All of us are affected by their illness. To caregivers who have not attended the C2C class, I urged you to do so.
To the “tertiary” caregivers, you can do your part also.
Who are the “tertiary” caregivers? All of us.
Whether you are their schoolmates, colleagues, relatives or employers, show understanding and gentleness. Offer your hand to reach out and help them in their life journey.
Show empathy, not sympathy.
Give them a “HAND UP”, not a “HAND OUT”.
As a society, we can let those with mental conditions journey by the wayside.
Alternatively, we can widen our roads to include them as fellow travelers in this journey of life.
No one left behind!
To an INCLUSIVE society!
Dr Joseph Khoo
When my son was diagnosed with schizophrenia 8 years ago, I felt overwhelmed although I tried to put up a brave front
Feeling lost & confused, fearful & guilty all at the same time, I struggled very much on my own initially. Much later, by God’s provision & intervention, I came to know about CAL & registered to attend a C2C class. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Through the comprehensive & practical training, I acquired valuable knowledge & skills as a caregiver which enhances my confidence to help my son in his recovery like problem solving techniques, communication skills, empathy. On top of that, the honest sharing & interaction with fellow caregivers is cathartic! The sessions provided me and the other caregivers a safe platform to pour our hearts out.
I am now more consciously applying what I have learned into practice with my son. At the same time, I also share stories of hope & recovery from various testimonies to encourage my son. Today, he is able to hold on a job, mixes around more confidently and is much more independent! After benefiting from C2C training, it is only right for me to pay it forward! My husband & I realize there is so much more that needs & can be done to support caregivers many of whom are struggling alone so that they can have hope and encouragement to press on. To this end, we feel called to play our part in CAL as trainer & support leader. For those in the community we cannot come for the training, we go to where the caregivers are to share with them the training under the ITS (Individual Training & Support) scheme. It has been a joy to be a blessing to these caregivers to meet their needs in whatever we can. I can foresee that as CAL continues to grow, the extent of support & help to this community will be of even greater impact! I am sure many will come to appreciate the work of CAL just as I am!
Written by Jill Khoo
Wife of Dr Joseph Khoo