I lived in my hometown of Sudbury until age 70, when I moved to Whitby after my husband passed away. I had been his main caregiver during a prolonged battle with cancer. My son would often ask me, “What are my plans going to be after my husband dies?” He felt that it would be best for me to live close by him, especially as his sibling lived a distance away. I agreed and came to live with him. He had to move to a larger house to accommodate both of us. I ended up living with him for five years.
My son had gone through a difficult separation, felt very much alone and was looking forward to me being close. Eventually, his need for emotional support strained what I was able to provide but I helped wherever I could – emotionally, financially and otherwise. I felt harried and harassed until things finally came to a head – I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was spending more and more time out of the house to avoid him, going to the library or the Senior Centre or wherever I could go.
In my walks to the Senior Centre, I passed by the Durham Mental Health Services main office and eventually I felt I had no other option but to go in and explore how they might help. The woman at the front desk was very helpful and calming and arranged for the crisis team to come as soon as they could. The Crisis Team listened to my story and helped me see how unhealthy the situation was.
I had several meetings with Crisis Services staff who were very supportive, caring and knowledgeable. With their help, I was able to find an independent living retirement home and I finally made the break that I needed to for my own health and my own sanity. They also connected me to DMHS Family Support and I started attending the family groups which I found tremendously helpful.
Right from the first person I encountered at DMHS all the way down, I got a lot of professional and caring support and understanding. I was listened to. They helped me feel less alone and also helped me find my way – I didn’t know where to go or what to do. With their help, I was able to clarify the situation in my head and decide which way to go. Also, the connections I made and the information I learned through the Family Support program were so valuable.
To be perfectly honest, I feel like they saved my life and my sanity. I feel that I have a better understanding of what was going on and I can think more clearly about what I can do and what I can’t do for my son. And I am clear now on my healthy options for my own life.