I was a shy young girl. I would daydream about what kind of man I would marry. But family members often told me that I would never get married because I am blind. They also told me I would not have children. I was raised in a strict Italian family. I was not allowed to go out and have boyfriends like other teenagers. As I got older I developed a strong spirit. I dated many different types of men. I enjoyed the freedom. Then I settled down. I studied and worked very hard. Now I have a long-term partner. We have been together for seven years.
Encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about
Thursday is R U OK? Day. It aims to prevent suicide. People are encouraged to talk to people they care about. It is important that little problems do not turn into big problems. A friend of mine lost her husband this year to suicide. She encourages people to talk to each other. I also have another friend who has had a hard time. I think I was one of the few people he talked to about it. It is really important for people to know that we care about them. There are also many support agencies that can help.
Pets make great friends. They can make us feel good. But looking after a pet is an important job. There are many things to consider when choosing the right pet. You need to think about how much space you have. You also need enough time and money to look after them. Organisations like the RSPCA can give you information. Your local vet can also be helpful. Research can help make sure you find a pet suited to your needs.
Being touched is something most people take for granted. But being touched is very important to me. People do not often touch me because of my skin condition. I am not sure that it is fear. They might just be worried they will hurt me. But it won't hurt me. Even a casual touch can be very exciting. And a hug or a kiss can be the best feeling in the world.
A woman using some wool to make a needlepoint image
I've participated in many craft-related volunteer efforts over the last few years
There are lots of different ways you can help in your own community. It can be very satisfying to help others. You might also learn new skills. Volunteer work is also a wonderful way to make new friends. I have been involved in many craft-making activities. Helping other people makes me feel good about myself. I feel like I am making a difference. I am sure you will be able to find opportunities that interest you. Victoria's Volunteering Portal has many ideas.
Steph St . John has faced plenty of challenges in life. She is a single parent. She also has a mild intellectual disability. Steph recently started a leadership course. She is the first person with an intellectual disability to do the course. Steph wanted a new challenge. She also wanted to get some confidence back. Steph has learned valuable new skills. She says she has learned a lot about herself. Steph now wants to find new ways to use her skills. She wants to get more involved in sport. She also wants to help improve the lives of people with a disability.
My husband and I are Deaf. We use Australian Sign Language to express ourselves. It is known as Auslan. The Deaf community is an important part of our lives. We were concerned when we heard that our Auslan use is getting smaller. We recently attended a presentation on this issue. But I came away feeling unsatisfied. I want to know why so many children are not exposed to Auslan. I think Deaf children should be taught Auslan. They need to have pride and confidence. Then they can teach the next generation. This will keep the Deaf community strong.
I smiled as I handed the grandchildren back to their parents. It is not easy to look after someone else when you have a disability. I have a vision impairment. I found it very tiring looking after my grandchildren for two weeks. Julie also has vision loss. She is now living with her elderly mother. Julie says her mother has become very needy. Julie has had to cut back her work hours. She has become depressed. Kathy has also started to lose her vision. But she decided to put her needs first. Kathy decided she could no longer look after her father.
Living with a mental illness in a small town has many challenges. But there are also opportunities to help make a difference. Five Edenhope residents support each other in a small group. They meet every week. They talk about the challenges of living with a mental illness. They have also been performing skits for local school students. The skits make students aware of different life issues. They show different ways of coping. They also show where to get help. The skits have made a difference for both the students and the group members.
A new study has found many parents with mental illness do not get the support they need. Many fear losing their child. Kate wants to have a baby. But she is worried about what would happen if she got sick. Anj did not get the support she needed after she had her son. But now she runs a playgroup for parents with a mental illness. The women in the group help support each other. There needs to be more parenting services and support. People also need to be told about what services are available.