Life before, during, and overcoming Psychosocial Disability - Maple Services
Life before, during, and overcoming Psychosocial Disability

Life before, during, and overcoming Psychosocial Disability

We often encounter someone with a mental illness and forget that there is a deeper story to uncover.

For some, mental ill-health has been present for as long as they can remember, but for others there was a different life before the diagnosis: a journey adapting to this new change, and an inspiring story of progress. Susan is one with an incredible journey to be uncovered.

Susan is a much-loved client of Maple Community Services, with Maple being her first ever provider since receiving her initial NDIS plan back in 2019. Aside from her enthusiasm for knitting, sewing, and grocery shopping, it was difficult for Susan to decide which passion places the top of her list – restoring old paintings or hitting the shopping.

Photo: Susan enjoying her favourite chocolate shake.

Prior to the NDIS, being diagnosed with a psychosocial disability, and experiencing hallucinations – Susan lived a very eventful and fulfilling life.

At 22 years old, Susan joined the Australian Airforce as a mechanic and worked there for many years, driven by the thought that “if the Queen could be a mechanic, so could I”. Following that, she worked as a receptionist at different workplaces throughout Sydney. After encountering problems within her personal life and a significant knee injury which resulted in surgery, Susan turned to alcohol and medication to ease the pain.

Shortly after Maple had begun their services with Susan, she had accepted that she needed help. Susan admitted herself to the hospital for further support.

During this time in the mental health cottages of her local hospital, Maple provided much needed and sought-after reprieve from her monotonous hospital room and routine.

“I can’t wait to move out, I swear my room is haunted – I always get the shivers!” -Susan.

Maple assisted Susan access the local communities 3-4 times a week, giving her the opportunity to get out of the mental health cottage for the day, tick off her shopping list, make personal appointments and engage in recreational activities. After nearly two years in hospital, these opportunities and the fantastic support provided by the medical team have aided Susan in making a swifter than expected transition from hospital to her own rental unit – where we are excited to watch her continue to flourish.

Photo: Susan doing groceries.

Susan is in the works of transitioning out of the hospital with the arrangement: 3 months involving 4 days a week at her new unit. Under this provisional arrangement, Maple’s dedicated support team will pick Susan up from the hospital to take her to her unit and help her settle in in a way that she feels in control and supported. Transitioning to a new home, particularly from a hospital setting can be quite a substantial change – and we are eager to make this a success for Susan. Once she hits the 3-month mark, Susan is set to move out permanently!

“I love the workers coming every day. I’m able to get out of the house, fulfill my daily needs, get my shopping done. This week we must take my neighbour’s cat to the vet too. Then we’ll go to Bunnings and get the doweling for my curtains which will be put up by a worker on Sunday” -Susan.

The joys of decorating a new home.

Photo: Susan and her support worker grabbing lunch.

Susan has made incredible progress in recovering from her knee injury and alcohol abuse, building relationships with her support workers and the communities around her. This transition moving out of the hospital is an inspiring milestone, and with perseverance, a kind attitude and the right supports, this journey is making great progress.

“I’ve been able to accomplish a lot with my healing process for my knee. And having access to appointments, I’ve really loved the company of my support workers… they take me to my favourite activity – shopping” -Susan.

Susan has a goal of going on holidays in 2023, she is considering a 4-day cruise from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, Susan says “That would be wonderful, I haven’t gone away in a while…. And the support worker could take me!”

We all wish we could go with you Susan, but here’s to more milestones and adventures in 2023!