Today I am handing my blog over to Tee from MotherGeek! I became friends with her last year when I asked for someone who I could buy Scentsy from after giving them a review on my blog and trust me she is amazing. Find out a bit more about her here:
I’m Tee (or Tina when I’m in trouble).
I have been a family, lifestyle and travel blogger for over 7 years now.
I’m almost 35 and have suffered from depression for around 5 years.
I have always been a carer – I was classed as a young carer from being around 7 years old, as two of my sisters have special needs.
What Triggered My Depression?
I guess it all began around about the time my son was being assessed for Autism – I felt like a failure. Like I had done something wrong and was responsible for him not being “perfect”.
It’s been a long, hard road and there have been many ups and downs along the way. Some of which I'll share in this post…
2013 was an awful time for me.
There were so many bad thoughts whirring around my head, I felt like the world would be better off without me. I sought help though and counselling helped me a lot.
Thankfully, I didn’t self-harm; and I didn’t act on any of the thoughts whirring around in my head.
My son got his diagnosis, we got support in place and then things began to improve. For a while.
Another Dip In The Road
In 2015, things dipped again. My son was 4 and should have been starting school.
Unfortunately, there were no suitable places within our town so we had to fight to get him a place elsewhere. It took its toll.
He eventually started school in November 2015, and Just when things began to settle down, my mum passed away suddenly.
This left me parentless at 32, as my dad (and best friend) had passed away suddenly 9 years previously.
2016 passed in a complete blur. I have 3 sisters who all took our mum’s passing really hard.
Two of them have special needs and needed more support than most as a result. This fell to me, as did clearing our mum's house.
In between all of this, my husband was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This went on to attack his pancreas, which triggered type 1.5 diabetes.
Caring For Everyone But Myself
Suddenly, I was caring for my disabled 4-year-old son, typical 3-year-old daughter, husband and two special needs siblings. Needless to say, me time was pretty much none existent.
Hubby couldn’t physically look after our son, so I was permanently glued to our son when he wasn’t in school. We plodded along, not really going anywhere or doing anything – my depression being held under the surface by antidepressants.
Summer 2017 was awful.
My son’s aggression reached new heights and he frequently targeted his sister – 12 months his junior.
It got so bad, I had to phone social services and report her as at risk.
Imagine how that feels. To not be able to keep one of your children safe from their sibling.
Thankfully, support was put into place and our son now gets some overnight respite which gives all of us (him especially) a break.
His sister got some 1-2 sessions with young carers too, which helped her to understand her brother's behaviour and how amazing she is.
I grew up as a special needs sibling myself, so I know how isolating and overwhelming it can be.
Time For Me
In December 2017, I decided I had to start putting myself first sometimes.
I made a point of joining Slimming World so I had something to focus on for myself.
I took the dogs for a really long walk every single day and even did a few fitness classes.
That time to myself allowed me to breathe.
Working from home is isolating and overwhelming.
Saying hello to fellow dog walkers and having a chat about nothing, in particular, is amazing. Talking to people who see me as Tina and not a carer was refreshing.
For a few months, things were better.
Then my own health dipped. We still don't know why, but I have been warned by my GP to expect a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia soon.
Basically, my heart rate keeps dropping, my liver function keeps dipping (despite me being tea total for 8 years) and I am in constant physical pain.
I have been permanently exhausted for over 6 years due to insomniac children, but I feel physically spent at the moment.
As it stands, I am trying to be positive.
I am trying to focus on the stuff I can do, rather than dwell on what I can't do.
We survived the Summer holidays – which was a massive accomplishment. My depression is – for now under control.
As long as I get time out, I seem to handle things better.
For me, time to myself is the key. I need time to be Tina and not “Mum”. I know that probably sounds awful, but it helps me process everything, and sometimes its good to switch off the “carer” mode.
Tips For Fellow Carers?
- Ask for support. Contact your local social work team or outreach centres – They are there to help.
- Make sure you find time for you. Go for a walk, a swim, the cinema… do something you love once in a while.
- Have something to look forward to. I find this helps massively.