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YOUNG CARER VOICES

Ani from Bay of Plenty

I remember the day we were woken by a knock on the door.  I clearly see my mother’s face – the total look of disbelief – I was only 4. 

 

My father was a passenger in a car and suffered a severe TBI – my strong daddy, who used to lift me up and take me everywhere disappeared that day.  Nobody ever sat me down and explained to me why he was in the hospital, why he wouldn’t wake up but I was only 4.

My mother left my dad 6 weeks after the accident.  So, after 5 months I finally got to visit him every second weekend and half the holidays.  I would lie on his arm and watch movies.  He would fall asleep because “Tinkerbell” wasn’t his thing.  But he would still lie there and hold me.  That was our time and that was how we communicated.   He couldn’t talk and I couldn’t read. 

Time passed and I would visit and watch.  Help wherever I could.  Help to feed him, wipe his face and anything else I could. do.  But I quickly developed the role of his protector.    Everybody focused on making him better and nobody explained to me why he was in a chair, why he couldn’t walk and why he couldn’t talk.  Maybe they all assumed I knew.  But I didn’t.  I was always so scared for him, and my heartfelt bruised. 

It wasn’t until I was in intermediate that it hit me.  I felt different to the other kids.  When I visited my dad, I would help him whenever I could.  Because he couldn’t talk to me, I felt the only way we could connect was if I did things for him.  So, I fell into the young carer role.  I felt overwhelmed with emotions, and I didn’t know whom I could talk to I was the only person in my class who had a dad in a wheelchair.  I couldn’t talk to my friends because they didn’t understand. I couldn’t talk to my family because they were so focused on my dad.  So, I kept my emotions to myself.  I felt so excluded so I started to feel angry.  My grades dropped, my attitude got bad, and my emotions started to come out the wrong way.  Small issues became overwhelming.  I didn’t know how to let my emotions out and I didn’t think anybody was there for me, so I decided to cut. 

The cutting relieved my pain and allowed me to breathe.  I became addicted. 

But it became more stuff to feel guilty about and hide.  My family were so worried about my dad how would they feel if they knew I was cutting.  I was ready to end it all, ready to end the pain I was feeling.

I finally talked to my family and then it made things worse.  Everyone knew and the repercussions followed.  I thought everyone was angry at me.  I saw my dad cry for the first time.  It broke him and I realised I was giving my pain to someone else in my family. 

I am now 18 and spend more time with my dad and still have the role of a young carer.  I was lucky enough to be one of the young carers that has been working with Phoenix Rain

Ani from BOP

Ani from Bay of Plenty

I remember the day we were woken by a knock on the door.  I clearly see my mother’s face – the total look of disbelief – I was only 4. 

 

My father was a passenger in a car and suffered a severe TBI – my strong daddy, who used to lift me up and take me everywhere disappeared that day.  Nobody ever sat me down and explained to me why he was in the hospital, why he wouldn’t wake up but I was only 4.

My mother left my dad 6 weeks after the accident.  So, after 5 months I finally got to visit him every second weekend and half the holidays.  I would lie on his arm and watch movies.  He would fall asleep because “Tinkerbell” wasn’t his thing.  But he would still lie there and hold me.  That was our time and that was how we communicated.   He couldn’t talk and I couldn’t read. 

Time passed and I would visit and watch.  Help wherever I could.  Help to feed him, wipe his face and anything else I could. do.  But I quickly developed the role of his protector.    Everybody focused on making him better and nobody explained to me why he was in a chair, why he couldn’t walk and why he couldn’t talk.  Maybe they all assumed I knew.  But I didn’t.  I was always so scared for him, and my heartfelt bruised. 

It wasn’t until I was in intermediate that it hit me.  I felt different to the other kids.  When I visited my dad, I would help him whenever I could.  Because he couldn’t talk to me, I felt the only way we could connect was if I did things for him.  So, I fell into the young carer role.  I felt overwhelmed with emotions, and I didn’t know whom I could talk to I was the only person in my class who had a dad in a wheelchair.  I couldn’t talk to my friends because they didn’t understand. I couldn’t talk to my family because they were so focused on my dad.  So, I kept my emotions to myself.  I felt so excluded so I started to feel angry.  My grades dropped, my attitude got bad, and my emotions started to come out the wrong way.  Small issues became overwhelming.  I didn’t know how to let my emotions out and I didn’t think anybody was there for me, so I decided to cut. 

The cutting relieved my pain and allowed me to breathe.  I became addicted. 

But it became more stuff to feel guilty about and hide.  My family were so worried about my dad how would they feel if they knew I was cutting.  I was ready to end it all, ready to end the pain I was feeling.

I finally talked to my family and then it made things worse.  Everyone knew and the repercussions followed.  I thought everyone was angry at me.  I saw my dad cry for the first time.  It broke him and I realised I was giving my pain to someone else in my family. 

I am now 18 and spend more time with my dad and still have the role of a young carer.  I was lucky enough to be one of the young carers that has been working with Phoenix Rain

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