I always think it takes a special type of person to care for someone else. It's not a career I would choose personally, but I admire those who do. It's a job that many are good at but what about those people who find themselves in a caring position due to personal circumstances?
I think sometimes the professionals can take a more objective view of caring. I'm not saying they are never affected by a patient but they don't have the emotional connection that is there when you care for someone you know and love.
My first experience of a carer was when my father became ill. He had strokes, suffered from a deteriorating condition and suffered the early stages of dementia. On an evening when my mother came home from work, all I wanted to do was escape. Caring was lonely, and upsetting. My rather used to apologise when I helped him, and this was heart-breaking. He needed help to the commode, but would then apologise, and that always plays on my mind. It wasn't exactly the dream father-daughter relationship, and not a situation we ever imagined ourselves to be in.
I lost my father nine years ago and he is regularly on my mind. I am proud to have had the opportunity to care for him.
Of course I care for my children too, but around 18 months ago, my husband's epilepsy worsened and I have had to care for him too. I suppose my point is that when you care for someone you love, someone in your family, it's hard to actually admit that you are a carer. From my point of view I don't feel like one, I'm just doing what I can in the situation I am in. Caring in these situations comes unexpectedly, it's one of these categories you slip into without even realising it. You have to change and adapt your life when illness occurs, and this can be difficult to come to terms with - for everyone, and especially the person being cared for.
My town has its own caring charity and I was surprised at the number of young carers in the area too. My children help out when my husband is ill, and sometimes I feel they take on responsibilities that at their age they shouldn't have to, however we are united as a family. I have shown them what to do when their father is ill, explained about the different seizures, and they have also had talks with our local epilepsy charity which was helpful. Don't think for a second that my children are far from perfect and misbehave regularly. They are still young and sometimes they don't fully understand what is going on. Maybe they don't know how lucky they are because a lot of young carers are from one parent families, hence why the children are the carers.
Caring is hard, harder than a lot of people assume. Watching someone you love, be ill everyday is awful and this must have an impact on the children. Your own needs are last on the list because everyone else has to come first. You have to be there for another person, on demand and it's hard to make any future plans.
Let's just give a shout out to ALL carers, especially the young ones!
Are you are a carer or do you know someone who is? What's your experience?