Carys Maggs speaks about her experience being a young carer.
Being a young carer is a huge responsibility and can take a lot of time away from your personal life. I have to be dedicated and supportive to the person I am caring for, which can be tiring at times, but I also like to look at it as something to do and something that keeps me occupied when I’m stressed or bored.
Although it can make me feel overworked or drained, I feel like helping a loved one is worth it and rather rewarding. I like to see it as an accomplishment when my care contributes to my mum’s wellbeing and I know that doing the housework helps my mum since it is hard for her to get chores in the house completed due to her physical and mental health illness.
Caring for someone isn’t just a responsibility I am having to do; it can also be considered as a learning curve for future life skills like living by myself or with other people. A lot of my friends that have gone off to university usually learn these life skills during the time they’re away from home and in their own accommodation. For example, I know a few of them who struggle to cook, clean, and do their own laundry which increases their stress levels as they already have other worries like assignments and money management. I think having the experience to look after a household and myself could really help in situations like these.
However, being in education like school or college while being a carer can become a little bit more complicated. I am currently studying at college and I do find myself in difficult situations like studying and getting my work done on time since free time at home can be limited. And when I am in a position where I have little time to finish an assignment it can really put me in a stressful position. In turn, this can affect my sleep and therefore my mental health, motivation, and self-esteem.
Not only this, but as a teenager being a carer can affect one’s social life. Personally, I do still get to spend time with my friends, but I know it’s not the same with every other young carer. There are times I have to turn down invitations to go out with friends which can be a shame. As mentioned earlier, I must be dedicated towards the person I am caring for. For other carers, a lack of social engagement can have a real impact on their social skills, with young people their own age, which may make it more difficult for them to interact with others in the future.
I would like to raise awareness of the difficulties that come with being a young carer to staff and students because I don’t think people really know how much effort and time caring takes away from our own responsibilities, goals and dreams. Also, I don’t think a lot of people really know what a young carer is which can be rather disappointing. This is an opportunity for me to let you know how a carers life isn’t just about doing a few chores here and there, It requires a lot of energy and struggle.
Written by Carys Maggs – 17 – Music Performance – BTEC National Extended Diploma level 3