Amelia ’s Story
My name is Amelia, I am 22 and live in Victoria. One unique thing about me is that I love all different kinds of music!
I have been caring for my mother for 10 years. My Mother requires care because she is diagnosed with bi-polar mood disorder.
I have to care for my mum because I am her daughter. In my culture and my own personal beliefs, I need to look after her because she brought me into this world, she is also my sole parent whom I love very much!
My role includes monitoring her mood if she is depressed. I need to do the household chores. I need to bathe her and help her eat. Do laundry, cleaning, cooking, paying the bills. Organising her doctor’s appointments and trying to motivate her to get better. When she is manic and bipolar, I need to monitor her moods. Judge whether she poses a risk for me or others and try to control her spending. As she can be impulsive and spend all our money that we need for shopping on 50 candles (true story). She can also be a little violent and disruptive as she won’t sleep.
I also have to wear earplugs at night to help me sleep due to her being very loud.
Just like me I’d imagine other young carers would also have to take on extra chores and cleaning and having to be aware of the person they are caring for.
A good day caring for my mom looks like: Being able to complete my goals of cleaning and taking care of her and myself with time to watch Netflix also!
A bad day caring for my mom looks like: Not having enough sleep due to my mother keeping me up at night, having to clean up after her mess. Calling and apologising for her behaviour and actions to others if necessary.
Being away from my mom makes me feel worried. I am unsure of what she would do or if she will also miss me too much. It’s an extra weight of worry.
Being a carer has changed my life because I have learnt to be able to properly look after myself and my mother. I know how to do all sorts of chores; I have a greater sense of empathy for others who are going through mental illness or caring for a parent. I have also been on a journey to look after my own life and get some independence.
Because of my caring role I am unable to get a proper night’s sleep, it’s hard for me to relax because I feel like there is always more to do.
Being a carer has taught me time management skills, being able to set goals to get organised otherwise I will also be feeling overwhelmed. It has taught me to be kind to people because you never know what extra duties they carry!
I would cope better with my caring role if my mother’s mood would be more stable, had more external supports to keep her on track with her medications and general health. If I had more hours in the day
I would like others to realize that it is OK to seek extra support, to put ourselves first sometimes because we give the best care when we are also being cared for. Also, that everyone’s situations are unique and looking after someone that has a mental illness can be emotionally but also physically draining.
My piece of advice to my fellow young carers is to be kind to yourself! Look into extra help! Let teachers know if you need more time to complete work, see if you can get government funding or extra supports that are unique to your situation. You are not alone. This is not your whole identity, and you are doing amazing by just doing what you are doing! You are a superhero!