I would like to tell you a little about my life as a carer.
I have always been a caring person as I worked in a day care setting, with people who had a variety of disabilities, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I damaged my back in a lifting accident, which led to me being unable to continue working in that role.
My sons both followed me into the caring profession which made me immensely proud of them. Having two sensitive boys there were always going to be problems as they both wore their hearts on their sleeves. And as you can imagine my hackles went up immediately, I could see a problem arising.
Firstly, my eldest son started to become quite ill during his A levels and suddenly developed Bell's Palsy, which led to him getting M.E. We had to fight for him to get the diagnosis and to get extra help from school, to get him through his exams. Managing to get three A levels was quite an achievement but it took a toll on his health and he has since found himself unable to work full time in the caring job that he loves.
Our youngest son was badly bullied at school and in the workplace, leading him to believe that life was not worth living and that he did not deserve to be here. Working in the mental health sector he found himself beginning to struggle badly, with his own health issues and finally he had to leave. Every day is now a struggle for him and he has attempted to take his life twice in the past.
Being a carer has its ups and downs and whilst my role is not of a physical nature, I am sometimes exhausted trying to keep the spirits up of my two wonderful sons. Finding time for myself is especially important to me and short walks, or meeting up with friends, help me to recharge my batteries.
I think being able to unload to good friends, or people who are in similar positions to yourselves, helps to put things in perspective.
I am a member of the Kirklees Mental Health Group which meet every two months, and it is a powerful group of people who thrash out problems with those in authority. I have learned a lot from this group and I can call on them if I have a problem.
I am also involved with the Kirklees Carers Count who specifically look after carers, rather like Mobilise with online coffee mornings, Tai Chi, meditation, quizzes etc. They also supply you with an advocate to help you with filling in forms and will come to tribunals with you to give you extra support if you need them. My church friends are another special group of people who are always there if I need someone to share my problems with.
"My husband died ten years ago, so I find myself looking forward to the Mobilise Cuppas, where I can chat to other like-minded people whilst giving myself a break from my worries and concerns."
As a disabled carer I often have to ask for help myself, as I am in too much pain to deal with everyday chores. I would suggest that if you are a new carer or an old one, that finding out where your help is in your own area is your first step. Like me speak to friends and family about your role and get them on board as well. Trying to go it alone is not an easy road, so let others help you if you can.
Living with a family of carers has its moments, but most of the time we can still find things to laugh about a long the way.
Love, Carol x
With thanks to Carol for kindly sharing her story with us. Remember if we ever feel alone, Mobilise's virtual cuppas run everyday through Monday to Friday where we can unload and discuss our caring struggles. And have great uplifts too! See if one fits into your week here.