Courtney looks after her mum, who has multiple sclerosis. She knows that carers need their own support, so they can continue to support the person they care for.
Courtney: My name's Courtney and I'm a carer for my mum, who has multiple sclerosis.
I became a carer in about 2003 when I was eight years old.
Whereas now I don't really see it as a label, I see it as an aspect of my life, of my personality.
Because MS is so unpredictable, you never know what each day's going to bring, so some days, my mum might be extra tired, so I will pick up the slack and do triple the amount of work around the house, or whether it's online banking with paying bills or remembering appointments.
Talking to other carers does help. Because they're in similar situations, they have similar occurrences and things that happen at home.
Carers need that support because I think they're the main people that will not source it. Because they're giving so much support to that person, they often burn themselves out and they feel a bit overwhelmed. They can, you know, get themselves into such a rut because they're putting all their energy and focus onto this person and none onto themselves, so it's really important that they do reach out and understand that there are resources and people out there that can help give them that assistance, give them that guidance and time off just so they can be themselves and recharge for a bit to then continue doing the wonderful role that they're doing.
Connecting to services does definitely help you get through the rough times, because without those services and resources, and even just knowing that they're there, it does take that little bit of pressure off you.
This is where I'm up to on the form with that type of stuff.
I do find counselling to be a big, big help.
I've used it for many different things, from, like, my mum's illness to my parents' divorce to just general school drama, so it's nice to have someone else in the safe space where you can go, "Hey, this is how I'm feeling," get that off your chest so you can give the best care that you can to that person that you're helping to look after.
Caring for my mum has enriched my life a lot. It makes me a lot more patient, it makes me a lot more loving, it makes me a lot more humble and it makes me a lot more happier.
My relationship with my mum has always been very loving, very caring, your normal mother-daughter dynamic, but because I've had to care for her and see her in a different light, in a more vulnerable light, and me having to take on the parental role, you just get a whole new appreciation and respect for that person that has to go through that but at the same time, it just brings you so much closer than you can ever imagine. So, I love her to bits. She's the best.
‘I became a carer when I was 8 years old. I don’t see it as a label, I see it as an aspect of my life, my personality. Caring for my mum has enriched my life a lot.’