#UnsungHero, Naomi Johnston is a full-time carer to her son. Naomi has been caring for her own mental health by drawing and wants to help other Carers by posting her beautiful illustrations each day on our Making Space for Carers page. Here is one of her most recent illustrations which is very close to her heart. This picture is very different to her usual fun and cute style of drawing, it is accompanied by her own poignant message to Carers.
Naomi was a nurse for 16 years so she can empathise with how the pandemic is affecting medical staff and those on the frontline. Now that Naomi is a Carer and has been for the past 19 years, she completely understands what being a Carer really means as she explains, “As a nurse, I would see a patient being discharged to the care of the family, feeling our job was done and so I believed it was…. What never occurred to me as a qualified nurse was the impact on the family as a whole, plus the full-time care giver.”
“When my son came along it made me have some understanding what it was like to be in a life changing situation. Don’t get me wrong I loved him the moment he was born, but life changed that day and as a child without difficulties is born into a family, you adjust and have different goals for the future as we did with our other children. If it was just a matter of the care side of things fair enough, but it’s not. It’s the phone calls, the professionals, the asking for help to get the right support for the future.”
“During lockdown I set myself a task of sharing a drawing each day to raise peoples’ spirits, but also to keep my mental health in check; its my way of giving. I am downstairs at six in the morning when the sun shines through the window and welcomes my day, so this inspires my creativity. My son has helped name some characters over the weeks and also been inspired to colour a few in.”
Naomi has her own distinct style of drawing and often include a snail, a spider and a ladybird. Ophelia the Ostrich was posted on a wet miserable day to cheer everyone up, it certainly made us smile.
With nearly two decades of caring under her belt, Naomi shares her top tips for other Carers.
- Try and get some sleep
- Laugh, even if its forced, we quite often find the forced laughs are the most funny
- Find a few moments just for you
- We are human, this means its ok to have a tough day
- Be kind to yourself
- Notice the small positives as they all add up
- Stick to a good routine
- Chocolate helps
- Remember you are amazing!
Naomi, thank you for your pictures each day and for your recent drawing for Unpaid Carers, ‘The Forgotten.’ While we stand outside at eight o’clock each Thursday night to clap for carers, let’s remember Unpaid Carers who don’t clock off each day. You are not forgotten, we know what goes on behind closed doors, we don’t live and breathe it like you do, but you are not forgotten and we are here to support you.
Contact us on 0333 006 9711 for information, advice and support.