Book Title, Author, Publisher & Year of Publication: The Voice Inside My Head by S.J. Laidlaw, Tundra Books (2014)
How long have you been a Young Carer? My mom has been depressed and an alcoholic my whole life, but my older sister Patricia (Pat) has been the main Young Carer in our family since we were young. It was only when Pat graduated that I realised I needed to step up and take over for her.
Who do you care for and how? I care for my mother and father by protecting them emotionally. I also cared for my sister when I applied for her to join a white shark marine program to get her out of the house and free her from her responsibilities to live her own life.
How has being a Young Carer affected your life? I learned my mother’s habits of using alcohol to hide from my problems, and at times I use weed as well. For a long time it seemed like Pat was the only Young Carer in our family, but once I realised what was going on and how being a Young Carer was affecting her, I stepped up to let her know I could take care of myself and Mom and Dad so she could pursue her dreams. When Pat disappeared during her summer at the White Shark Research Centre in Utila, I was the one who had the strength to go and find out what happened to her while my parents couldn’t.
I can also sense when others need care. Sometimes it irritates me because I feel like everyone’s needs come before my own, however it is a role I willingly step into when I know the person deserves my compassion and friendship.