Weekends in the Country
Born in the country but forced to live in a hostel for the deaf in Melbourne from a very young age, William talks about his isolation, depression and separation from family. This is a tragic story reflecting the lack of facilities and support for the deaf in rural Victoria.
There is no deaf school in the country, so I leave my family for deaf school in Melbourne.
I am only 3. I stay in a hostel for the deaf. It is like living in a factory with hundreds of other kids.
The hostel is strict and the workers show us no love. It is abusive. I am very lonely.
On the weekends I travel home five hours crammed into an old bomb with four others. I arrive late on Friday night and leave by 3am on Monday morning. I do this year in year out. It is exhausting. At home it is hard. I'm tired from the travel and with the little time I have I find myself lonely and frustrated.
In a country town everybody knows eachother, but they don't know me. To them I am different, I am an outsider.
I attend the hearing school at Cohuna, I am happy to be with my family but am lost at school and my education suffers, so I return to deaf school, this time in Bendigo. I am separate from my family. I leave school early to return home. The isolation becomes overwhelming, I am confused, should I stay, or return to deaf community. Depression sets in.
The Doctor prescribes tablets. I swallow the whole bottle and end up in hospital. I am released with no professional support and go crazy again. I leave Cohuna drifting all over the country. Nothing works. I move to Melbourne, I am still depressed, so I seek support.
I am ok now, but it has taken years for my depression to be properly diagnosed and treated. Many professionals are unable to communicate with deaf people. I am sure there are many other deaf people living in the country without networks and feeling isolated.