I did not even realise I was a carer, I just classed myself as wife and mother. My GP suggested I contact Gateshead Carers and they have made a huge difference. I met up with my Carer Wellbeing Facilitator and she was so lovely and friendly. I am not one to openly discuss how I feel but I just talked to her and she heard what I was saying. She suggested a break at the Gateshead Carers holiday home at Caldew House in Cumbria. We have not had a holiday in 8 or 10 years. Anyway just to be given a holiday was amazing and to actually go and RELAX was like winning the lottery! We spent quality time together in an amazing house, with the most peaceful surroundings. We planned days out as the countryside is beautiful. The rooms were so big you could all be together or find space to yourself. I did  not want to come home. However, I was so relaxed I had not felt that way for many years.

We would all like to say thank you for giving us this gift.

I do not think people realise how exhausting caring for anyone is. Your life revolves around their needs.

Since realising I was a carer I did resent not being paid a wage and having to pay full prescription and dental charges. One day I had to get a taxi to take my mother to the doctors and the taxi driver called me a lady of leisure. Well,I was having a bad week so I said “Actually my son has Autism and my husband suffers from severe depression”. I could not hold it in. People have asked me why I do not work!!! Where would I find the time and energy? Who will step into my shoes while I do that? Answer NO ONE. What kind of tiny pension will I get?

Also suggested by my GP was counselling. The idea of talking to a complete stranger was ridiculous. Gateshead Carers organised this for me and I went along. It was hard at first, but then you can vocalise things (instead of them going round in your head), and often sort through them. I can say that after 10 weeks I feel better. I know I will be back to Groundhog Day soon, because some things you cannot change but I can change how I deal with them which brings me onto my little garden shed – my sanctuary. It is a tiny shed I do my sewing and crafting in. It gets me out of the house and is a peaceful environment where I can hear the birds and watch the trees move and see the sky. I occasionally manage to squeeze two of my knitting friends in. This has made a difference, I can feel when I need space to myself and now have somewhere to go.