My other half

Hi! My name is Angela and I’m 15 years old. One unique thing about me is my appreciation for aged people and babies.
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I have been caring for my identical twin sister for 12 years. My sister requires care because she has a physical and intellectual disability named Cerebral Palsy. She is completely wheelchair-bound. I have Cerebral Palsy too, but only mildly.
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My responsibilities for my sister include changing, feeding and generally looking after her. She needs constant 24/7 care. My Mum and I mainly care for my sister, as my Dad is getting older and struggles to do the things he used to do. I try to take over Mum’s jobs as I can tell when she’s had enough. I also run errands, such as washing, cooking and cleaning whenever I have spare time. I worry when I’m not around my sister or family as I need them and they need me just as much. I feel very guilty when I take time to myself so I can’t help my sister. Because I feel I need to help all of the time, I always end up taking over my sister trying to be independent. She gets frustrated when I don’t let her be her own person and be independent.
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Just like me I’d imagine other young carers would also have to fit in time for study and school. I struggle to find time for homework. Although I miss a lot of days of school due to appointments for both my sister and I, I manage to catch up during school. But at home, I don’t find time to do homework or extra study.
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A good day caring for my sister is when my sister is happy and is in no pain. My sister is constantly in pain after having 5 surgeries for her hips. Therefore, being in pain causes her to be very frustrated and angry. I understand that she trusts us not to get mad at her, but it isn’t fair. A bad day caring for my sister is when my sister is sad and in pain. I love my sister more than the world but sometimes it gets frustrating.
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Because of my caring role I am unable to feel stress free. Every time something goes wrong, I automatically think of the worst. I come from a big family with older siblings, but I feel as though they don’t understand what I do for my sister. They think that I shouldn’t help as much, but it’s not that easy. Being a carer has changed my life in every way possible. Overall I have had to mature before my peers. I’m so thankful that I have had the experience of being a carer and helping others. I would cope better with my caring role if my sister could have the same chances at life that I have. I would cope better if I could talk to others and make friends.
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Being away from my sister makes me feel like the worst sister in the world. I feel guilty for leaving her with someone and not being there for her if she needs me. I care for my sister because I love her and want to see her blossom into an independent young woman. I’m not afraid to admit that I think it would be so beneficial for my Mum, my sister and I if she moved into a disability home when she gets older – somewhere we know she will be looked after and have the chance to go out and have fun and talk to others. Being a carer has taught me to appreciate people’s help and that no matter what kind of day I’m having, there is always someone having a worse one.
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I would like others to realize that they are not alone. I know that sometimes it feels like your the only one going through this, but there are so many young carers out there that are struggling just like you. Try to keep a positive outlook on life and realize that things happen for a reason. My piece of advice to my fellow young carers is to always talk to someone. Let it all out, so that it doesn’t get bottled up and eventually explode. It’s always important to talk.
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Thank you for reading my story and keep smiling 🙂

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