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How I Found Independence After Being A Young Carer

Trigger Warning: This article mentions abuse

When I was five, my dad crouched down and asked me if I wanted to live with him. I chose to live with my mum because she had schizophrenia. My mum’s diagnosis meant that she did not always have a handle on reality, but still, she fought hard to be a mother to me. Nevertheless, as a child I believed I had more authority and would dictate where we would go and how we would spend our money. When you’re a young carer time is flipped on its head. Being a young carer is about supporting your vulnerable parent through bills, errands, sanitary chores and also emotionally. Also, as a child I was dealing with my parent’s divorce and I blamed her for that, so, from the age of five I was quite abusive towards her. I would slap and shout and try to discipline my mum. By the age of ten she decided she wanted to go away to France, but my Dad did not want me to go to with her, I agreed to live with him until I was seventeen. That meant I could claim my life back and be a child.

Being completely honest, leaving my mum did not always feel like the best choice. Eventually, she came back to England and lived in Sheffield, near her brothers and sisters. When I visited her for my 18th birthday, I took a cake to Sheffield to share with my cousins, but before I knew it my mum commanded me to throw the cake in the bin. She believed there were creepy things on my cake. This scene later escalated to her screaming that I was Lucifer and security having to pull her away. That day I cried. I could no longer be the strong one. I was disappointed that after all these years my mum had come off her medication and I was afraid that I had made the wrong choice to leave her. But sometimes, when you are about to experience a breakthrough you face setbacks.