Emma's Story

I care for my mother who suffers from mental health issues, which means I also have to look after my younger sister. My older sister used to help care for my mum but recently moved out which left me with all the responsibility when it came to caring for my mum. I didn’t really have any idea about what was going on as mum didn’t really talk to me about it much at all. I was just thrown into being the oldest child in the house and doing everything. But mum talks to me about it now because she has to.

I spend a lot of my time trying to shield my younger sister from having to deal with everything. For example I can wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning to hear my mum crying downstairs and she won’t tell me why. I then go and check that my sister to make sure she is asleep as she has to be OK for school in the morning.  I sometimes place a bean bag along the bottom of the door so the sound of mum crying doesn’t wake her up.

Some times it can affect how I’m feeling, I could be having the most amazing day ever and I walk in the house and mum’s having a bad day and all that’s happened disappears. My sister doesn’t understand  and when mums crying, she doesn’t explain a lot about how she’s feeling she tends to brush it off. I then have to try and explain and that annoys me a little bit because then I have to deal with it and sort my sister out. I’ll do my best to hide it from her don’t want her to know how ill mum is. I want her to have a normal childhood because I didn’t have that

A bad day would be mum not speaking at all so I would have to do all of the shopping, cook the dinner, clean the house and after that I’d help my sister with any homework and then focus on my college work after that, but then again that’s quite a normal day for me.

I do things for my sister which my mum can’t do, like going to my sisters’ parents evening and award nights but I also do the simple tasks like reading her a bedtime story, something I never got as a child.

It’s hard for me to go out with my friends, one year I was invited to a friends birthday meal but I couldn’t relax and enjoy myself like everyone else as I was too worried about what was happening at home. Its can be quite hard for me to make friends as I find it hard to get close to people, I do have a best friend who completely understands my situation but she’s never been round my house. I’m not able to have people over.
I do struggle at school due to me being tired from having to do all the things I do at home I also get quite agitated about how mum is. During my free periods I usually go home to check on mum. My attendance for school is pretty low, and I find it hard to get my coursework done in time; I have been threated that I’m going to get kicked out of one of the course because I’m not meeting deadline. I’ve not really told anyone at school I’m a carer. 

I wouldn’t really want to move out at the moment because I don’t want to leave the responsibility of looking after mum to my sister. I would rather she moved out first and then I would like to get support for mum and then move out myself.