My name is Becky and I am a Young Carers Champion with the YCiF Project that is being lead by the Children's Society. And I am a Young Carer.
Well, for starters, that's not strictly true. I am an ex-Young Carer. I used to care for my mum who had a catalogue of health issues and depression- something which at the time I was either to young to understand or was hidden away from me. However due to hard work and research I finally found out that my mum had depression and Addison's disease- along with a mis-behaving thyroid.
I started caring for my mum at around aged 6/7 and this mainly included emotional support-something which I think people overlook as a responsibility for a young carer. I also did my fair share of the physical work- looking after my younger brother who suffered form ADHD, getting myself and him ready for school, emotionally supporting him (although like many sister brother relationships we had our regular tiffs).
So why ex Young Carer? Well on the Sunday 23rd November 2008 my mum passed away along with my title as a Young Carer.
And this has to be the point in my life when I really needed my friends. Not just for support, but to just be there for me- give me a smile when I saw them at school, talk to me like a normal person their age, be my shoulder to cry on, my celebratory mate when something did go right. And not to pity me as I recall doing at my previous school. I went back to school on the Friday and I had the typical onslaught of people coming up to me and giving me their condolences to me and literally squeezed the life out of me and kept saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' over and over again. Then someone mentioned the word mum (which I think you will all agree is a pretty normal word to use) and another wave of sorry's came my way. I just remember thinking 'I don't need your sorry's, or your pity, I just want to get on with my life!'
After that I moved schools. Great I thought, another episode of 'sorry's'
I befriended a couple of girls who I still talk to today, and I remember them asking
'So Becky, who do you live with' And I replied 'It's just me, my brother and my dad'
'Oh, where's your mum' asked the curious 11 year olds
'She died' I said bluntly
Right on queue 'I'm SO sorry'. But I just said, "Don't be! Just treat me like you would treat anyone else"