Amy's story

Amy is 19. She lives with her mum in Shepparton, Victoria

A typical day

I get up. I make Mum breakfast, sometimes helping her get dressed in the morning. I make sure she has lunch, and then at night I make sure she has her medicine. 

I'm also a part-carer for my grandfather. He has seizures. He doesn't actually live at home with us, so sometimes I have to drop what I'm doing and go see him to make sure he's okay.

What it's like being a carer

I'm all over the place. There are moments when I feel in control and moments when that's been taken away.

On a good day, my grandfather and Mum don't need to go to the hospital. I'm able to do stuff for me.

On a bad day, my mum is having a moment and is really depressed and can't move. Or she's really elevated and manic, and I have to try and stop her doing something. I'm her whole support network, so I have to be there all the time.

Study and work

I'm studying at TAFE, doing hairdressing and make-up. My goal is to one day live over in South Korea and work as a beautician. I love K-Pop.

How I became a carer

Mum's been sick ever since I was a child. But for a while my brother was looking after her. Then he left and moved to Sydney to do uni and I had to step in. I had to drop out of high school to look after Mum. That was the start of my caring role.

Talking to teachers

Back when I was in high school, there were periods where I didn't go to school because I was looking after Mum. Then I went back after two weeks, and I was explaining to one of the teachers about being a carer. One of them actually turned around in front of everyone and said, “That's no excuse. You're a wagger”.'

Looking back, I wish I'd stood up to him. Know your rights too. They can't discriminate against you because you're a carer.

Not every teacher’s going to be like that. A lot of them genuinely want to help. Find those teachers and ask if they can help explain where you’re coming from.

Learning about being a carer

In the early part, when my brother was around, I watched him look after Mum. How he handled being a carer. How he talked to doctors, and stayed calm, at least most of the time.

Having my brother around meant that when I became a carer, I didn't have to start from nowhere. I was able to grow by looking at him, and learning through him.

Carer stories

Kris' story

It's okay for it to be hard.

Kris

Tom's story

It's good to see the difference I've made.

Tom