Jane

“I’d say I’ve been a young carer since I was 7, originally to my older sister. She’s autistic, with severe OCD, anxiety and a learning disability. Dad’s mental health has always been bad, and it deteriorated when I was 7, so life has just got more complicated since Mum’s diagnosis when I was a teen – she’s got leukaemia. So yeah, the combo of all 3 gets interesting as my sister needs routine but with Mum’s health that’s pretty much impossible and Dad really struggles with that – it’s definitely a juggling act that never ends. Despite being a young carer ever since I remember, I was only identified as a young carer by school when my grades completely crashed following Mum’s diagnosis, like I went from getting A/B to D/E. The GP still doesn’t recognise me as a young carer, but that’s a whole other debate…Friends wise it’s really hard – I never really get to see them as I’m needed at home. All my friends had play dates/sleep overs, whereas I could never really bring my friends home. Even now, time out is a massive rarity. Me wise? I never think in terms of me. I’m just the little unimportant one home-wise! But I have just graduated with a first-class degree in psychology. How I managed that with home I don’t know. I normally just try to crack on and keep going, though I can’t say there aren’t times when I just want to hibernate – I’m secretly drowning. But they’re my family, I’m proud to help and wouldn’t change them for the world.”

Twitter: @bayliss_j94