Hi everyone. I’m very new to this. I’ve only been a carer for the past 6 months, and to be honest I don’t know if I really belong here - feeling a little like an impostor in many ways! My Mum is suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Luckily we both live in South London, so I am nearby, but I don’t drive. I work full-time as a primary school teacher, and in the last few months I have been spending most of my free time caring for or thinking about caring for her, usually staying at her house (my childhood home). For the past two months she has been feeling too anxious and unsafe to be at home alone, so I was organising people to stay with her, and I stayed over my half term break. Finally I managed to persuade her that this couldn’t continue and after many phone calls to 111 and the crisis team and a trip to A&E she was admitted to a great hospital. They are doing a wonderful job there and it’s only down the road from me. But the second I left her there, I fell apart emotionally. I think I was holding everything together for so long because I had to. We are very, very close. I’m single and most of my friends have partners and kids, so my Mum is usually the person I go to for support. It’s been incredibly difficult losing that alongside the stress of caring for her. My younger brother also has his own needs as he is Autistic, so the family have really rallied around him, but people are so used to me just getting on and coping that I’ve not had the same support.
I’m now off work because of burnout. I’m absolutely exhausted. Some days it’s hard to even make myself healthy meals, to put a wash on, etc. I’m making an effort to get dressed and leave the house every day, go to the park, do nice things for myself, but when I start to feel better I feel like the next day I’m exhausted again. I have my own mental health problems as well. I feel guilty for being off work and I’m shocked at how tired I still am after three weeks. I’ll sleep 8-9 hours and still be so tired. One moment I’ll feel OK and the next I’m crying. My GP is aware and I have a therapist who I see weekly which helps, but I’m still struggling to make sense of how hard I’m finding this.
I guess I just wanted to feel a little less alone.
Thanks for reading
You have done too much for too long, and have reached the stage where you cannot do anything for anyone for a while, I’ve been there myself. Something has to change. First you have to ask your counsellor about setting your priorities for the future. What you must do, what someone else can do, and what can be avoided altogether in future. How old is your brother? How serious is his autism? What plans has mum made for his future? When did he last have a Needs Assessment? And you, a Carers Assessment, both from Social Services?
Thank you very much for replying. I’m working with my therapist on having better boundaries both at work and with my family so I can have time for myself. My brother is in his 30s, he has struggled significantly with day-to-day life, but it’s complicated because of the dynamic between them. Mum has always made sure that demands on him are very low, because he had such severe anxiety and also suffers from depression. Making plans for his future has been something that everyone has put off for a long time because it causes him so much anxiety. This is one of the key things that we have realised needs to change moving forward. I don’t believe he has ever had a needs assessment from social services, although he has had assessments for his benefits - PIP etc.
welcome to the forum. I hope you find it friendly and supportive.
Its good to hear your Mum is finally getting the medical help she needs. You are doing well to maintain a daily routine whilst you recover from the last six months.
Does your brother usually live with your Mum?
Hi @panckesandtigerlilli welcome to the forum, you are absolutely in the right place. A carer is a carer no matter the length of time they have been doing it.
Carer burnout is definitely a thing, and it sounds as though you are finding out first hand just how totally exhausting and debilitating it can be. Give yourself a break and allow your body and mind time to recover. I’m pleased you have support from your GP and a therapist. Make full use of them both. The therapist should be able to help you come to terms with your experiences and formulate a plan for setting better boundaries going forward, so that you aren’t overwhelmed again once you go back to work and your Mother returns home.
I think you are starting to realise that something has to change. Get yourself a carers assessment, (that is focused on Your Needs, not those of the people you care for). Take as much help and support as you are offered, and push for anything you need which isn’t offered. Unfortunately we have to be our own advocates much of the time, but there is help out there if you know where to look.
Sending kind thoughts.
It is possible that he will be entitled to a care package of support. You too should have a Carers Assessment, these are supposed to focus on keeping the carer in work. Some tough love will be required. Your position must be that you CANNOT be expected to care for him, so it needs to be an URGENT ASSESSMENT. With regards to mum, make a list of all the things you do for her over a week, then shuffle it into three categories. Things that can be avoided altogether by doing things differently (ironing isn’t needed if all clothes are non iron, wearing jersey polo shirts instead of woven cotton shirts). Also a tumble dryer, and a dishwasher are vital. Then things that someone else can do, cleaning, some shopping, gardening. Is her house cluttered? My mum was a hoarder, absolute nightmare!
Yes my brother lives with my Mum. At the moment he is alone in the house, looking after the cats. He is safe to stay there on his own and can look after himself in a basic way. I have asked my Dad to contact him every day and make sure he gets enough support and he’s been doing that most of the time. I have been over for a few days to help him look after some things for the house - getting a plumber round and booking the cats in at the vets - but I’ve been very clear that I am not able to look after him.
@eastendgirl thank you so much for the welcome. I will definitely try and get an assessment.
@bowlingbun I will discuss with my Dad whether we can get an assessment for my brother. Hopefully when she gets out of hospital she will be able to do a lot of those things herself. She’s been getting shopping delivered for a while. Her house is actually very tidy, and she has a cleaner already. Most of what I do is emotional labour and supervising her.
So sorry to hear your not having a good time. its a horrid time of year for most carers. i was a carer for over 30 years. I would advise you to make time for your self. Do you have any Family members that can step into help you? Your in the right place as you will find this site very good. Join share & learn, peace of mind on the 12th December. & also on the 18th December there Christmas party. If you can treat your self to a massage eg reflexology or aromatherapy. Hope this helps. please do message me for a chat. You take care of YOU Best wishes Amandah
Thank you. I have been getting some support from my uncle and cousin, but at the moment my Mum doesn’t want them to visit her. I will definitely sign up for those things.
Thank you for your reply. Where abouts are you in the uk? I am in surrey. I cared for my late elderly Dad many years ago then for my late Hubby. So know its not easy at all. But at times you just need to say enough is enough & that you will be getting extra help in. Otherwise you will end up ill. Best wishes Amanda h
None of us are invincible. My husband died at the age of 58 from a massive heart attack, all four parents had been ill, our son had learning difficulties, and we were running a business. Start yelling “HELP” before it’s too late.
Hello @pancakesandtigerlili . I can really relate to the situation you’re in, I’m looking after my partnereat ihe moment and she has similar mental health challenges.
I’m not going to offer any advice but I just want to say you’re not an impostor for being here. Welcome to our tribe!
Hey OP. I’m another one who is in the same sort of shoes as you. You have been given lots of advice and I know it will be hard to digest.
You are still quite new to being a carer so try and fight your way out before you get stuck in the rut. Ask for help and support from family if they are willing to help.
I look after a very frail 71 year old Mum with the added bonus of a sister who may or may not be autistic (never been diagnosed - fine and dandy when she is going out but completely disabled and unable to do anything when she is at home!). No one has sorted anything out for her future and it’s all “hide it under the carpet”. Only God knows what will happen when Mum goes because I will be out of here faster than you can say “hello”.
Good luck and I hope things work out for you. Just keep coming on here to vent when you have had enough as I have been doing that for a few years. It’s helped me find solace when things have gotten too much for me.