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Never sought help until now - Carers UK Forum

Never sought help until now

A place for those 18-35 to chat about all things caring.
Hi, 25 year old here, caring for a parent with mental ill health, probably for varying degrees since I was a teenager. I've spent the evening reading through these useful forums. I've never really properly identified with being a "carer" mainly because I do get to do good things in my life despite supporting someone with long term mental illnesses. But in honesty it does affect and limit me in many ways and has taken a toll on my mental health I just dont like to admit it.

I sort of feel guilty even identifying as a carer and thinking that I may need some support myself, and I am struggling to share the ways it affects me and my worries about the future because of that guilty feeling. At the same time I feel emotional maybe acknowledging for the first time that I probably am a carer... I wonder if anyone related to the guilty feeling in the beginning or if the guilt stays with them? Guilt is one of the biggest struggles with my role. I hope I will share more of my story in time.

Thanks for reading and for the space :)
Hello Isabelle3006, and welcome!

It took me about 30 years to realise I was a carer. Up until then I'd seen myself as a brother, then when my son was born, as a father. It took a while to wake up to the fact that on top of that I was a carer. It wasn't so much guilt in my case as realisation that my situation was ignored by the authorities not so much because I was a parent, but more because I was a carer. That switched my attention away from one specific disability to carers as a whole.

But the word carer is relatively new compared to our main roles: we've known what a father or daughter, etc. is for hundreds of years. Carer was a word that only came into use in the early 80s, and took a good few years to gain any traction. So because it's an unfamiliar word it doesn't feel comfortable to use it. And that's a way for guilt to get in - because it sort of feels like you're seeking a status you don't deserve, especially if you think you haven't missed out as much as others.

Except it's not true. You are a carer. And that does restrict your life, often in ways you don't recognise.

So, we're glad to see you here! Please have a good look round and feel free to join in!
Charles_2112 wrote:
Thu Jun 09, 2022 6:45 am
Hello Isabelle3006, and welcome!

It took me about 30 years to realise I was a carer. Up until then I'd seen myself as a brother, then when my son was born, as a father. It took a while to wake up to the fact that on top of that I was a carer. It wasn't so much guilt in my case as realisation that my situation was ignored by the authorities not so much because I was a parent, but more because I was a carer. That switched my attention away from one specific disability to carers as a whole.

But the word carer is relatively new compared to our main roles: we've known what a father or daughter, etc. is for hundreds of years. Carer was a word that only came into use in the early 80s, and took a good few years to gain any traction. So because it's an unfamiliar word it doesn't feel comfortable to use it. And that's a way for guilt to get in - because it sort of feels like you're seeking a status you don't deserve, especially if you think you haven't missed out as much as others.

Except it's not true. You are a carer. And that does restrict your life, often in ways you don't recognise.

So, we're glad to see you here! Please have a good look round and feel free to join in!
Hi Charles, thank you so much for such a validating reply, I've just seen this. You've hit the nail on the head, I feel I'm just being a daughter/family member and that I should be wanting to do this. Sometimes I see things depicted online of carers and think "should I want to do this for the rest of my life?" and "I'm a bad daughter because I don't want to always do this". From reading here it seems like everyone has had their struggles with managing caring. I also feel that I shouldn't be complaining as my caree (a term I've picked up here!) clearly has it worse than me. I suppose I should not compare to others and recognise that all my feelings are valid.

Thank you again, I will certainly join in more, what a great place to have finally decide to step into :)
I'm not sure when I became a carer. Everything changed when I was 8 years old and my younger brother was born. Mum probably had post natal depression looking back, diagnosed with arthritis of the spine when she was about 40. Withdrawn and disabled when I returned from Australia in 1976. About that time the hoarding started......
You MUST put your own needs first or your life will be ruined. Children have to do what parents tell you to do. As an adult, this no longer applies. You have every right to have friends, adventures, a career, a husband, a home of your own, children. Don't ever forget this. If mum needs support, Social Services should help.

Dump the guilt. You did not give mum her issues. They are hers to address. Don't let her blame others. Don't try to jump through hoops for her. As soon as you try to please her by doing something, another wish will surface. Like shooting the ducks at a funfair shooting gallery. Feel proud for the support you can give. YOU must take control for your life, enjoy, live, love.