Hello everyone, I’ve been a carer on and off for 3 years, caring for my partner who has a type of blood cancer. He was diagnosed when he was 27, I was 25, 3 years later we’ve received the all clear, but it relapsed. He had more intense chemo and immunotherapy which didn’t work and then radiotherapy which done enough for him to have a stem cell transplant. He’s just had the stem cell transplant and things have been really tough. For the first couple of years I think I’ve coped really well, we both have big families but the support isn’t really there so it’s just the two of us. I’ve continued working full-time throughout, apart from one occasion where I dropped down to part-time hours but unfortunately at the end of 2023, I was made redundant from a job I really liked and wouldn’t have left otherwise.
Since then, everything feels like it’s falling apart. I feel so exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. I started a new job in January when my partner was in hospital, which meant I was working all day then visiting him in hospital most if not every evening and weekend. He’s so fatigued and exhausted himself, I’m doing everything in the house, I’m cooking all his meals, dressing him, helping him shower etc and working full-time in a new job with more responsibility than before and I don’t know how much more I can manage.
Most days, I just sit at my desk and stare into space or out the window, I don’t do any actual work and it isn’t long before they notice and probably fire me. I’m in a probation period currently so they would only need to serve 1 weeks notice, pay me and that would be it. But I just don’t care enough anymore.
To top things off, my aunt passed away last week. Life feels really heavy at the moment and it’s tough navigating all these new feelings everyday.
Thanks for listening x
You and your husband need to talk about how to make it possible for you to keep working, because you are burned out. He needs support during the day so that when you get home you don’t have to do as much. Have Social Services done a Needs Assessment for him and a Carers Assessment for you? This should look at the support you need to keep working and keep well. Be kind to yourself, stop being Superwoman and start yelling for help. Putting on a brave face to get through awful stuff only lasts so long. It’s so sad your young lives have been so stressful.
Hi @SBNS You sound really low and my heart goes out to you.
Re-your job. Have you told your employer that you are a carer and how this is currently affecting you?
Your employer may well say they can dismiss you during probation with 1 week notice, but in reality they must have carried out a full and fair investigation of the issue they claim makes you unsuitable for the post. Putting them in the picture about your carer status would mean that, if it ever did come to it, they are more likely to extend your probation. You also have basic statutory rights, which includes protection against unfair dismissal on grounds that are deemed ‘automatically unfair’ (this would include taking time off to care for a dependant). But on the positive side, they may be able to offer you some adjustments to your role or working pattern that might help you.
So to echo @bowlingbun - start yelling for help at work. My manager is fully in the picture re-my situation and has been amazing, but if they don’t know, they can’t help you.
Thank you @Teddy123. I told my employer about the situation prior to joining, when I had accepted their offer and I was told I would be supported (in my experience that means something different to every employer/manager). I have a call with my manager on Friday so I might mention something then, the thing is this person is emotionless, I do not feel completely comfortable opening up and sharing how I feel but it might be the only option. I was considering asking HR for a conversation but I’m not sure if that will create more harm than good.
I have also scheduled a GP appointment next week and they have said they will fully support me, they offered to write a fit note but as I’m in my probation period, I won’t be paid if I go off sick. You just can’t win no matter what you do.
Thank you @bowlingbun. I think your comment has made me realise just how burnt out I am, I’ve googled the symptoms and I am experiencing every single one. We haven’t had any support, not even Macmillan support. It’s just me caring 24/7, working full-time and trying to live a normal life of any 28 year old. It’s so so tough.
I have a GP appointment next week, and I am thinking of asking my employer for support, perhaps an occupational therapy assessment.
Most people find our forum when they are exhausted and/or going through a crisis, so you are talking to others who know what it is to be a long term carer. Friends and family just don’t get it. I would suggest that you have some counselling, so you can talk openly about your feelings in absolute confidence. I found it life changing. My husband died suddenly, we were very close and talked over everything and anything together. My counsellor was very supportive when I was newly widowed, newly disabled, caring for son with learning difficulties and disabled mum. We all have a breaking point, I’ve met mine. For your eyes only, write down everything and anything that is worrying you, difficult, challenging, and then decide what you want sorted most of all. Realistically, you can’t change everything at once, but if you think about the top three, maybe share them with us, someone here may have a suggestion, or tell you how they dealt with it. Is your husband claiming all the benefits he’s entitled to?
@bowlingbun that’s really useful thank you. I love lists and being organised so I’m sure that will help get my thoughts out of my head and down on paper. I will also ask the GP to refer me for counselling, will probably go private as the NHS wait is so long nowadays. My partner is claiming everything yes and we are going to get an application process filled out for a grant but there isn’t that much resource out there for what you can claim financially. We are quite lucky that throughout all of this, we haven’t been met with financial worries but I have worked full-time all the way through which has of course helped.
I was disabled in a car crash 3 months after I was widowed. I had to work out how to do a lot of things differently to drastically reduce what I was doing, especially as son and mum needed me too, and I was left to run our business alone. Things came into 3 categories, must do, need doing, but someone or something else can do them, and those that can be avoided altogether. Money management was top priority for me. Meals could be simplified. In your case someone could help your husband get up, showered and dressed so you could concentrate on getting to work, and do some food prep and perhaps leave something in the slow cooker. I have a very large garden, my eldest son told me I had to do away with all the borders, shrubs and fruit trees. That was really, really hard as we had lovingly created our garden together, every plant had a story behind it, but I couldn’t do gardening any more. Now it’s just a quick whizz round the lawn with the mower, job done. No one knows when illness will strike, for a young couple it seems doubly unfair. You can’t do your work, the jobs around the home that your husband did and be nurse/carer as well. I forgot to mention a large freezer. I bought mine due to the epidemic. Whilst I like cooking, sometimes I run out of time or energy to do a meal. Eldest son now lives with me, grandson here a lot. I always have something quick and easy in the freezer, and the air fryer cooks quickly too.
@bowlingbun it’s so unfair this happens to anybody and you have been through so much yourself. Thank you for the tips, I really appreciate it and will take them on board for sure. I’ve spoken to my employer, I’m taking next week as annual leave (they were very supportive, I wish I said something sooner), I have a GP appointment next week and I will discuss my options with them, I am also looking into therapy as I think that is needed at this point. Thanks again and take care of yourself x