I recently shared my caregiving story with teachers, social workers and counsellors for a workshop event at Lakehead University entitled Support Matters: Young Carers - Who are they and why do they need support?
It was a rousing discussion that resulted in some of the participants asking me some really interesting questions, such as if there were points when intervention could have helped.
While I am not technically considered a young carer, which is typically categorized as someone aged 18 or under, I can certainly understand the unique circumstances young caregiver face.
I am still discovering the true impacts of this journey, even 10 years later.
Being a young caregiver can have drastically impact all aspects of life, including, but not limited to: falling behind on school, forming relationships and a higher risk for anxiety and depression.
By increasing awareness of the potential signs of a young caregiving, influencers can intervene and arrange for supports on an individual, social or community level.
My hope is that by sharing my experiences it will help support providers be more aware, empathetic and compassionate to young people, as you never know what might being going on at home.
Sometimes all it takes is simply asking, "How are you doing?" or "Is there anything I can do to help?".
Knowing that someone cares enough to take the time to ask can make all the difference.
Here are 10 potential signs of caregiver stress.