I am a carer with Autism

I care for my mother who has mental health issues and heart failure. I have been caring for her really all of my life as dad was in the forces and had to go away a lot. I have other brothers and sisters who have left home and started having children and getting married etc. I can’t help but feel angry, bitter and sad because of my situation. I was the only one that had to deal with the anger and emotional outbursts from my mother as she was told by a nurse not a doctor about her heart failure as if my mum new about it but no doctor told her. My dad was either buried in work or didn’t want to face reality. They would often have arguments and I was left in the middle of it all. Since covid my dad has had to work from home and so is witness to what goes on and I now have a bit more support. My brothers and sisters only recently know about my mums later stage heart failure. But she has had heart failure symptoms for years without being told. I have been to uni and told my mum that after I had finished I would be her career. I am struggling with a bad memory that I could not remember till recently when I had flash backs of being sexually abused at 14. I am also premenopausal so I have that to deal with plus I suffer from depression. Also my mums brother died recently so she is struggling with her emotions. It is also like she has given up as most days she does not get changed or washed. I am tiered miserable and exhausted.

Hi Larissa,

Your situation is so sad, but will continue, because it suits everyone else to use you as the family “sacrificial lamb”. My brothers did the same to me. Long story!

First, you need to remind yourself that as a child you had no choice but to do what your parents wanted, but at 18 you became and adult, and have every right to leave home and not do anything more for anyone else.

Having studied at uni and earned a degree, it’s time you used it. What did you study?
Has anyone told you that you are entitled to a Carers Assessment from Social Services? You don’t have to tell anyone else about this, be sure to have it face to face away from home.
Tell your GP how you are feeling, and ask for counselling. (I finally had counselling at the age of 60, I so wish I’d had it 30 years earlier).
Now start quietly looking for work, and develop an Escape Plan. Promise yourself that by next January your life will be different. Expect tantrums, comments like “you can’t because I …”
Keep reminding yourself that you are your parents daughter, not unpaid slave.
Good parents would want you to use your education, and have a happy life.

Thank you x

Thinking back, we probably have about one young carer like you every year who has “escaped”.
We can give you lots of support, just ask “how can I…?” and we will try to help.
When my own mum was very ill, after I was widowed, I had a very supporting counsellor. Someone who I could talk to outside the family concentrating on me, what I was feeling, and thinking what I would like to do for myself. It took me years to learn to put myself first (although I still have a son with learning difficulties).