Header Image Riding the Depression Rollercoaster as a Carer
Mental & Physical Health Issues

Riding the Depression Rollercoaster as a Carer

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.

Picture of Tina

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.

Picture of Tina

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.

What Now?

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.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, feel free to check out  MotherGeek and GirlsGospel for more of my ramblings.

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This article has 16 comments

  1. Hannah Wood

    I have suffered with Depression from the age of 14 years and now 35 , it is a very hard time some people think “gosh get over it” but we can’t it is a illness so I know what you are going through but can tell you so many others like up and lots of help about now.

  2. Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    Having met Tina ‘in real life’ and followed her via social media for years. I often read her posts and wonder how on earth she gets through the day, never mind the week, month etc. So many responsibilities, trials and tribulations on one person – I do wish I lived closer, even if it’s just to bring cake over x

  3. Yeah Lifestyle

    I can’t begin to imagine how Tee manages to juggle everything and still make time for herself, she truly sounds like an amazing person, being there for everyone who needs her.

  4. Rebecca | AAUBlog

    I can’t imagine how tough being a carer must be, both physically and mentally. Some things to focus on like slimming world and exercise sounds like a good way to have something that is just for you.

  5. Rachael

    Oh my , wow what an amazing woman! You’ve come through so much, Tee and I am in awe of you. I cannot imagine what having to phone social services for your own child must be like but I am SO glad the system worked for you and your family and support was put in place for both your children. Incredible story and I’m so glad to read that you are managing your depression at the moment.

  6. Annick

    dear Tina, I don’t know you but from your little snippets alone I can tell that you’re an amazing and insanely strong woman ❤️. Though it may be exhausting at times, I hope you remember to take deep breaths and live in the serenity of that moment xx

    -Annick

  7. Olivia Jade

    Very honest post and I’m glad to see you are ok now, wishing you all the best 🙂 x

  8. Rhian westbury

    That’s so good that you’ve made some time for you and are trying to be more positive, I can’t imagine how tough it must be for you x

  9. Sherri

    Thanks for sharing your struggle. As someone who also struggles with depression, I get it. And when my son who I didn’t even have coffee with during pregnancy turned out with a sensory processing disorder, I too wondered what I did to cause this on him. We can only do so much. I’m glad you are getting the support and TIME you need to be you. It is so important and it is not selfish to need to be taken care of. If there is no you, then there is no one to care for everyone you care for.

  10. Andrea

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for all the hardships you have faced in your life, but am happy that you have begun to put yourself first. I hope your future is bright.

  11. Louise

    Aww, bless your heart, Tee. It sounds like you’ve had a rough time of it. I don’t think it sounds awful to need time to yourself. I think it’s natural. I very often wish I could just be Lou for the day instead of everything people need me to be. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be a carer on top of everything else. You’re a super star. Sending big hugs and hoping that every once in a while, that rollercoaster stops, and you can take a little bit of time for yourself 🙂

    Louise x

  12. Eva Katona

    This is so raw and honest. all these unfortunate series of life events are really hard to digest for a mentally healthy person too – let alone someone who suffers from depression. I hope you know that caring for others with mental disorder is the hardest job and you should be really proud for all the help you provide.

  13. Susie Wilkinson

    Depression is such a horrible illness, I have always found the company of animals to be the best relief. I have a dog now, and he’s a great therapist, I tell him all my issues, and he makes me get out of bed everyday and take him for long walks, and rewards me with undevoted love and cuddles.

  14. Rachel Craig

    Stressors can wear us out. Energy is limited, not limitless. Therefore there can be times that support is required. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Best Wishes for the future.

  15. Nichola - Globalmouse

    What an informative post. I really feel for you Tee, it sounds like you had so much on. I also find long walks are great for rebalancing and remaining positive.

  16. WhatLauraLoves

    For different reasons, I can totally relate to this. Trying to stay positive is difficult but completely worth it. Keeping focusing on what you’re grateful for, what you have achieved and looking for the good always helps to keep me feeling lifted xxx

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