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Preacher releases book for carers

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 09:12 01 August 2010

DESPITE her deep love for her husband, Halesworth author Dorothy Coutis has often found life difficult to bear after she became his carer.

Faced with the frustrations, hardships and hopelessness that can come with the challenging role, she decided to work through her problems by writing about them and turned her thoughts into a book to help others in her situation.

DESPITE her deep love for her husband, Halesworth author Dorothy Coutis has often found life difficult to bear after she became his carer.

Faced with the frustrations, hardships and hopelessness that can come with the challenging role, she decided to work through her problems by writing about them and turned her thoughts into a book to help others in her situation.

Mrs Coutis, who writes as Dorothy M Stewart, is a lay preacher based at Halesworth's United Reformed Church and also visits a number of non-conformist churches in the area such as Emmanuel Church in Bungay and Woodton Church.

One Day at a Time: Meditations for Carers, deals with different difficult aspects of being a carer, each chapter featuring a short reading from the Bible, a passage from Mrs Courtis, a prayer, and then a self-care suggestion to give the reader a boost during their long day.

Mrs Coutis' husband John was diagnosed with dementia two years after he had taken a fall down the stairs in the night. On closer examination he was found to have frontal lobe impairment due to multiple sclerosis, vascular dementia, and possible early Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs Coutis was plunged into her role as carer and like many others around the country found the sharp change in her life difficult to handle.

It was when she was reading one woman's commentary on the Bible when she decided to write the book.

“The woman who wrote it seemed to have the perfect husband, the perfect home, and the perfect job,” she explained. “She was so smug and made me so frustrated and angry that I had a mini-tantrum and chucked the book across the floor.

“I thought I need a text that says: 'God knows what you're going through,' I need someone to tell me 'you can get through this.' I wrote what I thought I needed, and I did it the next day, and did it for the whole month. Then I thought it might be helpful to other people.

“There are so many people struggling at home behind the four walls. We never see them and most people outside don't have a clue.”

One Day at a Time: Meditations for Carers is Mrs Coutis' eighth book. Others include Bluff Your Way to Publishing, The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers, and the children's book It's Hard to Hurry When You're a Snail.

She was also the ghost writer for Terry Wogan's book Wogan on Wogan.

One Day at a Time: Meditations for Carers costs £8.99 and is available locally at the Sign of the Fish, the Halesworth Bookshop, the Orwell Bookshop in Southwold and branches of Waterstones.

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