Hi everyone, I’m new to this. I’m relatively new to all of this seeking help generally.
I have probably had some kind of caring duties since I was 16, I’m now 25 y/o. I’m supporting a parent with their long term mental health, mainly in the form of emotional support and presence (being home and available in situations that are difficult for them, which are a lot of situations), and trying to help them face situations that make them anxious, probably more things too. Because my caring is more emotional than practical that has sometimes made me feel I’m not really a carer, but it does impact my life and my freedom is quite restricted, things like never having stayed away for more than one night at 25, despite having the money, friends, partner, confidence, etc to do so. That’s just one example and I tell myself it’s minor, but I do find myself feeling low and anxious, I am so used to putting everyone else’s needs first I have lost sight of my own hopes and wishes.
I have had counselling for approximately a year as I am training to be in the field myself (which makes me feel even more ridiculous for struggling!) and that was helpful. I was always recommended to reach out to carers support but never managed to, due to feeling so guilty as I feel my caree has it worse than me and here I am complaining. Why do so many of us feel guilty? Anyways here I am, I’m scared to even share more information as I’m feeling guilty, worrying that if my caree knew I was writing this then they’d feel a burden to me, which they aren’t as I love them dearly, it’s just difficult.
Thanks for reading, looking forward to connecting with others.
Hi Isabelle, and welcome!
No question that you’re a carer. Emotional support is often unseen and unrecognised, but it is draining - especially when it’s full on - because you’re trying to support someone else and also support yourself to manage the toll that takes on you emotionally. And it’s even harder if you’re trying not to let the stress show when you’re supporting your Mum.
So it’s really important to do something for you. For me, it’s usually photography or chilling to music, maybe reading a book. I’ve been working through the Terry Pratchett Discworld books recently.
But whatever works for you. What do you do to unwind?
And then there’s the need for a break. You’ve managed one night away - you could try that again, or you could push it to two nights, maybe, and see how things go?
Providing emotional support is exhausting and you are definitely a carer. It obviously impacts on your own life because it restricts your freedom. I bet you are being trained to tell any carer that they must make time for themselves? You must make time for YOU also and I agree build up slowly as in trying to go away for 2 nights. Do you have anyone else who would 'step in ’ with regard to providing emotional support whilst you are away? Baby steps to get a better quality of life are the way forward. The sad thing about caring is in the vast majority of cases, it does not improve but gets harder and harder which is why it is important to get a security system early on.
We are all facing similar challenges with caring here and we do get and give support so I really hope you find it a safe place to chat.
You need to take a week off from caring, for yourself, and to give you some insight into what happens.
I find it so much easier to cope if I know that in X weeks I will be away from it all in Crete, I don’t even have email access after one stupid member of staff kept emailing me about my son’s lawnmower cable!!!
When their carer is not around, it’s amazing what a caree can do at times. Normally it’s so easier to say they can’t do things, when they can, it’s just easier for someone else to do them instead!