Barbara* came to CatholicCare when she was struggling to support her grandson, who was kicked out of home and now living under her roof.
He was battling with serious mental health and substance abuse issues, and she didn't know how to help.
"I had no one to discuss it with. Some of my friends discussed the problems with me but they would make remarks as such 'well you should just kick him out of the house!' That wasn’t going to be an option. Someone with mental health issues.. you couldn’t put them out on the street, and he’s my grandson - he’s not just a stranger who just happened along," said Barbara.
Barbara's family told her she was being too lenient on her grandson and that she needed to be stronger, but this went against her nature and she wanted to help him. “I needed some support because I was floundering around feeling very alone… I kept thinking I should be doing more.”
Barbara came to learn of CatholicCare’s counselling services through her local council. She thought she would be ineligible to access the service as she wasn't from the Catholic faith, but they assured her this did not matter.
"I thought, I need to speak to someone who could get a handle on the situation and just discuss it more than anything else I think. And my counsellor was marvellous,' said Barbara. "She helped me to feel positive about what I’m doing."
“I suppose it’s easy for outsiders and family members to sit back and say ‘you should do this or that’ but they are not actually here. [My counsellor] really understands what I’m going through. And the counselling is tailored to my needs,” says Barbara.
Barbara has found the emotional support she needs through counselling, along with affirmation on her decision to continue supporting her grandson.
"She kept reinforcing what I was doing and kept saying you’re doing a great job, and the fact that you are keeping a roof over the boy’s head is marvellous. And I’ve found I’m coping much, much better now," says Barbara.
“Counselling has helped Barbara to continue to stand by and emotionally support her grandson, whilst also helping her create boundaries for her own emotional protection in the process,” mentioned her counsellor.
"I just seem to feel so comfortable with [my counsellor]. I’ve been very fortunate to meet her. I appreciate it very much and I think other people would do the same. Because it’s a very hard existence you know, you go to bed and you can’t sleep thinking about if everything’s alright..."
“Counselling helped me to feel positive about what I’m doing. I feel so much more positive about myself.”
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*At CatholicCare, we respect everyone who comes to us for help and many are working towards a fresh start in life. While the stories and quotes are true, client names and images have been changed to protect their privacy.