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This blog post has been written by Amanda Wilkes, CEO of the counselling charity HELP Counselling Services. HELP works alongside Carer Support Wiltshire, to support the mental health of carers in Wiltshire.

The title of this blog comes from my therapeutic work with couples in crisis. It is part of a process called the Daily Temperature Reading created by Diane Solee. Its aim is improving the communication within relationships.

Hopes, Dreams and Wishes are events, achievements, ambitions and fantasies that we all have. Some are realistic, like my hope to have a downstairs washroom. Some are a little more into the future, like my dream to visit Japan. Others are not likely to happen, like my wish to go into space.

Some of these dreams are all about me, others are together with my partner, my friends and my children. Some are within touching distance and others will take years of work and planning.

Some will come true, and others will not. The important part here is that they exist. Some will become a reality and they not only help us to reach further, but they allow our relationships to go further too.

The Loss of Hopes, Dreams and Wishes

I hope you are starting to see where I am going with this blog. Even as I write it, I can feel the tug in my own heart, the loss that I have heard so many carers articulate. Having your Hopes, Dreams and Wishes dismantled is not something that the carer immediately talks about. Normally they talk about the appointments, the lack of support and the loneliness. However, just under the surface we find the future that never was and the terrible loss of those dreams, and anger.

Whether it is the retiree who had been dreaming about spending more time with her husband before his sudden stroke 6 months before he retired. From the outside world, looking like a devoted wife but really she feels alone and cheated.

For the mum and dad who just hoped for the best future for their daughter before she was diagnosed with a learning disability and are now having to fight for every piece of support, just getting through each day is a challenge.

Or the young carer, who is watching his mother’s mental illness take away the love and support he needs to fulfil his own ambitions.

New dreams

When counselling became an opportunity for carers, they did not think they would be discussing their lost dreams. They thought they would be talking about the person they care for. It may seem that this is the most depressing of blogs, but just like in couples work, we look at what dreams they can have now.

Often, they are small ones, like respite so they can have tea with a friend, an organised trip to Torquay or a theme park adventure with friends.

Dreams are important – they keep us going, they give us something to aim for. Without them, and especially for carers, life can be one long day after another.

The work at Carer Support Wiltshire is vital. Not only do they provide support, advocacy, and expertise, but they supply dreams and they supply the opportunity for carers to create and make their own dreams.

HELP Counselling Services is proud to work alongside Carer Support Wiltshire, to support the mental health of carers in Wiltshire. For further information about the service please visit www.helpcounselling.co.uk

If you are an unpaid carer and feel you would benefit from professional counselling, please call one of Carer Support Wiltshire’s friendly advisors to see what may be available to you during office hours on 0800 181 4118 or by email at admin@carersupportwiltshire.co.uk.