Carer urges more unpaid carers to seek support


Published Dec 18 2020

Mish Baker spent 9 months in lockdown with kids. She urges more unpaid carers to seek support, and everyone else to love & support them

Originally published in Women's Agenda.

For Mish Baker’s family, the lockdown in Melbourne lasted much longer than it did for most. Mish is immunocompromised and falls into the high-risk category for COVID-19, which meant that her, and her children, were in lockdown for a full nine months with no reprieve.

Mish lives with disabilities and multiple health challenges, among her diagnoses are level 2 Autism, Spondyloarthritis, Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and suspected Ehlers Danlos. She is also the full-time carer for her children, three of whom are on the autism spectrum.

Mish’s need for physical isolation from the outside world this year has meant that much of the existing support she received to help with her caring duties had to be cut or moved online. Mish says that she’s been experiencing extreme burnout, with the intensity of her challenges this year piling up to an overwhelming degree.

“I’ve found lockdown has greatly exacerbated my personal difficulties and has made everything so much more challenging for me,” she told Women’s Agenda recently. “Burnout has left me with even less energy than I usually have, and makes even the smallest task feel insurmountable at times.”

Reaching a crisis point after the sudden passing of her mother, Mish reached out to the government funded Carer Gateway for support.

She found it to be straightforward and supportive and has since received emotional and practical support – everything from counselling sessions to meal deliveries and a new laptop. It was just what she needed to be able to cope with her exhaustive caring load and breathe just that little bit easier.

“We do such an important role in providing care, receiving support doesn’t make us weak, it enables us to be stronger and be even better in our roles as carers,” she said.

Below, Mish was generous enough to share with Women’s Agenda what the past nine months has been like for her, and also offers some very on point advice for other carers who may also be feeling like they’re reaching their own crisis point.

 Full article available here.