Ask Sam letter

Asker

To Sam

Living with a diabetic.

Dear Sam,

I live with a Type 1 Diabetic. They are my sibling and looking after them with the help from my parents is hard. Often, when I am left to take care of their medication and treatment, if I get the slightest thing wrong, I get into a lot of trouble. I love my sibling and want to take care of them, but the pressure is really getting to me. I start worrying about them at all hours of the day, even at night. I wonder if I should get up and check that their medication is going alright. It's messing up my sleep schedule and how I behave during the day.

Got any advice?

A worried sibling.

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Living with someone who has a long-term illness can be difficult. There may be things you need to do to look after them - or things you can't do with them because of their condition. You might also have confusing feelings towards your sibling - because you care about them but also feel frustrated by their illness. It's important to take time to look after for yourself and your own feelings. If you’re overworked, worried or burnt out – you won’t be able to support them.

When someone has a long-term illness it can affect them and those around them. It's nobody's fault that they have a condition and it's something that can happen to anyone at any age. But it's not fair for you to have to do everything for someone who’s sick, especially if there are others around you who could help too.

It's not just your responsibility to make sure your sibling is safe. If you get into trouble for doing something wrong, perhaps you can talk to your family about how you’re trying your best and how their actions are making you feel. Your feelings are important and deserve to be listened to.

If you feel like you’re worrying all the time, your parents need to know how you feel so they can help. Your sibling's condition is going to affect you, but your parents should be trying to make the impact of it as small as possible. If your sleep and your routine are being affected, that's a sign that they need to help you more. It’s important to have time to take care of yourself as well.

It's okay to feel however you feel about your sibling’s illness. Your natural reaction might be to feel angry, frustrated and want to blame the person who’s ill. It's normal to feel this way but it can help to think about it in differently. Perhaps you’re more angry and frustrated with their illness than you are with them as a person. It shows how much you care about them that you’re angry this has happened to them. But try to see things from their point of view as well, as they probably don't like that they have to rely on others so much either.

Childline has lots of advice for young carers – which is what it’s called when you are looking after a member of your family who can’t take care of themselves. They also have advice about managing problems with sleep, stress and anxiety.

Thank you for sending me this letter, I hope this has helped. If you ever want to talk about this more, Childline counsellors are always here for you.

You can also try talking to other young people on our message boards – there might be other young carers who have advice and tips to help.

Take care.

Sam

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I would be especially interested in hearing more about how coronavirus might have affected you at home and at school. 

Write me a letter