'Kids called me and my mum names'
"My mum suffers from fibromyalgia, arthritis and agoraphobia and very rarely feels able to get out of bed. This in turn has led to her suffering from depression. I have two brothers younger than me.
"When my mum became ill, I was always worried especially when I was going to school because I was never sure whether she would be at home when I came home.
"I would never go on trips because I wanted to be with my mum and help with anything she needed. I used to sit on the bed with her, help with her medication and simply spend time with her.
"She got very depressed and on occasions tried to take an overdose. Two days were never the same and sometimes my mum would shout at me and say horrible things and this would really affect me. But the next day she would apologise, so I was never sure what mood she would be in.
"My school work suffered. I never seemed to get my homework finished on time, and I was often in trouble. At school no one understood how my life was. If I was upset they would just tell me to get over it, and that would only make me feel worse.
"I find it very difficult to talk to anyone about how I am feeling, and sometimes the other kids at school were really horrible, not only calling me names, but calling my mum names as well.
"My dad was diagnosed with a sleeping disorder and diabetes which stopped him driving, and during his bad periods my brothers and I looked after them both.
"For me the physical side of caring has been limited, but the emotional care that I provide really affects me, because I love my mum and dad and I cannot bear the thought of being without them.
"My mum is a lot better now, but it has been a long slow process and one that has been hard on my brothers and me."