Session 1: The Need for Two Separate Identities – Illness & Loved One

A Caregiver Engagement & Fundraising Initiative by Word Image and Margaret Ong, Author of One Husband Two Men



As caregivers, we must learn to separate the loved one from his/her illness. This shifts the emphasis to the illness as the problem, not the person living with it. But how does one do this?


In the first session of four, Margaret, caregiver and author, shares how she overcame her struggle to separate the illness from her husband, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.


This is part of Margaret’s efforts to help fellow caregivers of persons with mental health issues, and to raise funds for CAL. Together we hope to empower caregivers to achieve a high level of well-being and resilience in their journeys.


Participants are invited to purchase a copy of One Husband Two Men via Word Image. A portion of sales from books purchased between now and March 2022 will be donated to CAL.

About the Book

This is a detailed account of how to preserve yourself and your family while helping your loved one recover from mental illness in dignity.


Margaret candidly shares about the journey with her husband whose bizarre behaviour eventually led to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. A true love story of empathy, courage, commitment and perseverance. She now understands her “limit after going through this humbling experience dealing with schizophrenia.”


She writes, “The journey of primary caregiving has helped me to mature spiritually and taught me the core meaning of faith, enduring love, empathy and social responsibility for others. It has opened my eyes to see the plight of those in a similar boat as Leslie’s.”


This book is an excellent read and reference for those needing help intervening and advocating for better outcomes, a better life, better relationships and a successful, intact family in the throes of schizophrenia and other major mental illnesses. – GLORIA WALKER

Indeed there are many valuable lessons for readers out there, especially caregivers of people with mental illness as well as mental health care professionals… – DR. RADIAH SALIM

About the Author

Prior to 2013, Margaret Ong was Vice President at Hewlett Packard, Asia Pacific & Japan, located in Singapore. After her husband’s diagnosis, she became a Caregiver Volunteer Trainer with Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL), facilitating the caregivers-to-caregivers (C2C) training programme since 2014, and participating in advocacy talks against the stigma of mental illnesses.


Since January 2020, she has been involved in the inception of Caring for Life (CFL), a non-profit organization that seeks to establish a community approach to early identification of suicide ideation and care. She is currently one of their volunteer trainers.


Details

Date: 1 December 2021, Wednesday

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm, including Q&A session

Venue: Online via Zoom

Details will be emailed to all participants by 25 November 2021, Thursday

Speaker: Ms Margaret Ong

Caregiver to Spouse with Schizophrenia

Author of One Husband Two Men

Registration URL: Registration is now closed.


We welcome everyone to join us for an intimate caregiving sharing by Margaret.


Past Sessions

Session 2: The Shift in Mindset Towards Caregiving (English)

Session 3: Destigmatization Starts at Home (English)

第四节: 照顾者的奋斗与胜利 (Chinese)

Session 5: Journey Together for An Inclusive Society | 第五节:携手同行共创一个包容的社会 (Bilingual)

 

Post Event Update


How was I ever going to keep the spark alive in our marriage? Could I possibly make the ride worthwhile and continue to be devoted to him every day? Was there going to be a fairy tale ending? When would he fully recover and be my knight in shining armor to protect the family again? These questions kept haunting me whenever I hit a low point. Fortunately, hope whispered, “Try one more time.”


How does one keep the love alive with a spouse who has a mental illness – and who is in denial of his condition? How does the family cope and remember to keep the person and the illness separate?


Over 60 enthusiastic participants recently joined the book reading session and Q&A that kicked off our series of monthly sessions with Margaret Ong, author of ‘One Husband Two Men’, and caregiver to spouse with schizophrenia.


They heard intimate accounts of Margaret’s caregiving journey that has spanned two decades, and picked up valuable takeaways such the ‘BRIDGE’ technique, an acronym coined by Margaret to detect the onset of the illness – being observant; displaying understanding, not disbelief; and how to separate the illness from the person.


Margaret also read excerpts from her book.


A participant, Teo Wan Nah, expressed her gratitude, saying “The session was insightful and helped me understand the illness through Margaret’s caregiving experiences. Thank you for her personal sharing – it took courage to share something so intimate.”