The Big Issue : Edition 439
If you have a question for our Agony Aunts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org If your letter is longer than the Great Wall of China we reserve the right to edit it. Milly Parker is the Yooralla Disability Ambassador. At 21 she acquired a brain injury (ABI) as a result of a car accident. It changed her life...for the better! Sick of being told she was broken and useless, Milly gave the world a two-fnger salute and is now a successful businesswoman, public speaker on disability issues and mentor. Her business 'Happy Yappers' has won numerous awards and is her pride and joy. For all the goss go to www.happyyappers.com.au Father Bob Maguire is the irrepressible 'mad priest' (self-described). When it comes to the Catholic Church, this selfess man of God is a perpetual pain in the you know where. Although the church hierarchy was done with him, Father Bob wasn't done with the church. In 2003 he established the Father Bob Maguire Foundation which continues to feed, support, nurture and uplift those who need a helping hand. Money is always in short supply so please consider supporting Father Bob's mission. You can read it all at www.fatherbob.org.au Shortly after I married I had a car accident and became a quadriplegic. My wife became my primary carer. I'm now 45 and over the last few years our relationship has broken down to the point where we are seeking a divorce. This is difficult for me as I have relied on my wife for my personal and financial well-being. What options do I have? -- Greg, 45, Swan Hill Ask the Agony Aunts We often think of the challenges facing ageing parents who are distressed about the fate of their loved one when they pass on, but we don't think about other types of isolation such as the one our writer presents here. It is indeed a vexed issue. Keep your questions coming and our Agony Aunts will do their best to answer them. ADVERTISEMENT The views and opinions of Milly Parker and Father Bob expressed in this article are not intended to represent professional advice. Says Milly: Anecdotal evidence suggests that a signifcant number of people who divorce have a disability, possibly because of the added pressures that it can place on a relationship. Any relationship breakdown can be tough, but the impact for a person with disability can be amplifed, especially where a partner has been the main carer. The fnancial implications can also be signifcant if it means fnding alternative accommodation and other supports. But no-one should be forced to stay in a relationship if they're not happy. There are organisations that can help you transition to living independently like Spinal Cord Australia www.scia.org.au. Hey, I've been there! It's tough, but four years on I'm living independently and as happy as a pig in the proverbial. Who would have thought I would be happy paying bills! Says Father Bob: Having a roof over your head, a person to pick up where your wife left off and a few bob in your pocket are immediate concerns. I understand that very well and there are ways to access those through various agencies. But I also know that one's psychological and spiritual wellbeing at a time like this is no less important. I often think of the parallel between being a person with a disability and a competitor in the Stawell Gift. The ‘Gift’ is Australia’s oldest short distance running race where "competitors are handicapped according to their form" but still expected to win. Well, I'm here to tell you that the way things stand for most people with disability, the odds are stacked against you. Whatever options you explore, consider counselling as part of the mix.