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Caring and Mental Health

written by Louise Gurl 25/07/2016

Having a carer’s assessment for the first time was a really nerve wrecking experience. I was anxious as it would take place in front of the person I care for, how would they react to what I had to say?

The assessment was carried out by a person I didn’t know and I had to express how I feel my caring has an impact on me and explain what I do for the person I care for.  This assessor was my Mum’s Community Psychiatric Nurse known as a CPN. The person I care for had just come out of the hospital after being sectioned due to stressful situations affecting her illness.

"Do I risk having a break during the weekend and balance the commitment of caring at the same time if that is possible?"

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The CPN asked me questions and I had to rate how each question affected me, how am I supposed to know how something like providing emotional support affects me?! I just do it, it comes naturally to me. It becomes difficult at times and I’m aware of that, but how am I supposed to juggle everything? How can I put across that if I do not help the person I care for then no one will? That is a lot of responsibility for a young girl of my age. It’s OK for the people who check on Mum’s medication such as her CPN to make suggestions but I’m the one that has to live with the consequences when the suggestion does not work, and I have to be there to pick up the pieces for everything to be normal. Whatever is normal for me and the person I care for that is, as at the moment everything feels up in the air and I’m waiting to catch it.

When the CPN suggested that I have break known as a respite or have access to a carer group, how can I do that? I have my own anxieties about trusting someone else with the person I care for’s care plan, so do I risk having a break or have a break during the weekend and balance the commitment of caring at the same time if that is possible?

Saying I find it difficult to care for the person in front of the person was difficult, but in a way it was good for that person to be aware that sometimes they can be a little difficult and might make them be more relaxed around me and makes conversations more open which has helped my caring a bit. We can discuss how her illness makes her feel like a prisoner in the house, and how she worries about how people perceive us. All of this has allowed her to let me have a little time for myself which I have no idea what to do with! Except to write this blog and help others like me feel like they are not alone as caring can be a very lonely place at times and we are not alone, we are helping each other make our caring roles a little more manageable. 

If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email info@timetochangewales.org.uk

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