Written from the perspective of a carer.
Caring for a family member who suffers from both a mental and physical disability does take a lot of emotional energy and time. Growing up caring for a disabled single parent has, I feel, made me grow up faster, mature quicker, in ways where little time is invested in my own personal growth milestones and priority is set over my loved one.
I remember growing up, with the lack of any family support, feeling exhausted at times, trying to manage my mothers’ psychotic episodes, and protect my younger siblings, which created a chaotic family home for myself and my younger siblings, where paranoia and walking on eggshells became the norm.
In school, I ended up being a very quiet child, and I mean very. I would cry easily, if I was asked a question in class and everyone turned to look at me, waiting for me to answer, but I would just start crying. Thinking back, I now understand why, spending most of my time around a chaotic and paranoid parent, who would blame me for very uncomfortable things that never occurred, made me feel invisible and misunderstood. But eyes staring back at me in class made me feel seen and threatened…maybe they see in me what my mothers sees when she suffers from an episode?
It was not until a neighbor alerted social services that help was given. Myself and my siblings were put into foster care, together thankfully.
As an adult today, I am grateful that social services were called and we were placed in foster care, although we were moved around a lot, and little interaction happened between our foster parents and us. We had shelter.