Looking after someone can be emotionally draining. At times it can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed. It can also mean that you have no time for a life of your own, no time to meet up with friends and talk about your worries, and that you become lonely and isolated.
Sometimes you can find yourself getting angry and resentful towards the person you are looking after because of the demands they have to place on you. This is a natural perfectly natural way to feel, but it is not healthy for you or the person you look after. In some cases it can lead to carers experiencing poor mental health.
Perhaps you would still prefer to carry on with your caring role alone, and that you don't want to accept practical help from others. For many people, it helps to talk about your feelings with others, especially with people who will have had similar experiences to you and will know how you feel.
There are plenty of people out there who can listen and help with advice and support.
Essex Carers Support Organisation aim to support informal carers of any age, regardless of the nature of the disability. They are dedicated to ensuring that carers within Essex are given the highest level of advice and support, and work for unpaid, informal family carers in Colchester, Tendring, Basildon and Castle Point. They are there to provide advice, information, guidance, and advocacy.
Essex Carers Network provide support for carers who are looking after a family member with learning difficulties. The Network aims to keep carers informed as to what is happening locally, regionally, and nationally.
Supporting Carers in Essex provide support services to unpaid carers in the Essex area. Tel: 0300 770 8090, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other information and advice
Carers UK is a charity set up to help the millions of people who look after an older, disabled, or seriously ill family member or friend. They provide specific advice on Getting Enough Sleep, Coping with Stress and Depression, and Coping with Resentment and Guilt.
The Carers Trust offer advice to carers on Taking Care of Yourself, and on Getting the Most From your Counsellor.
Mind has a useful section on their website for carers, explaining how to cope when looking after someone else, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.
The Samaritans run a 24-hour helpline where you can talk in confidence about your feelings. You can call them on 116 123 (24-hour helpline).
The NHS has partnered with Public Health England, Carers UK, Carers Trust, and Age UK, to produce a guide for carers called A Practical Guide to Healthy Caring. This guide is for anyone looking after a family member or friend, or who has some kind of caring responsibility. It covers a wide range of subjects from what it's like to care for someone, to assessments, getting help, and useful technology.
The Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) has some useful resources for carers, and provides free courses across Essex which help carers manage their caring role. For further information visit the Support for Carers page on the EPUT website.
Essex Libraries offer a variety of services and activities that may benefit carers. If you find it difficult to get to the library, you could receive the Home Library Service, or ask about a Friends and Family card. Alternatively, access e-books, e-audio, e-magazines and online resources at a time to suit you, from wherever you are. Many libraries hold regular drop-in sessions, advice desks and social activities; have a look at the events list for the latest information. Libraries also have booklists that you might find useful if you are caring for someone with dementia, mental health problems or long-term conditions.