Jessalyn, caring for her mother

My name is Jessalyn, and I am 14 years old. I balance being a caregiver for my mom, managing a video game YouTube Channel, and being in the 9th grade. When people ask me how I do it, I tell them “I just hope,” hope for the best and keep a positive attitude.

I have been caring for my mom for four and a half years. She has a chronic disease called gastroparesis which causes a partial paralysis of the stomach and damaged nerves and muscles don’t function with the usual strength and coordination. I provide my mom with emotional support, medical support by helping her with her fluids weekly, and physical support through helping her out of bed and up and down stairs on bad days. My mother’s nurses teach me a lot about what medical support she needs in the house and how I can help her.

Although being a caregiver is stressful at times, it is wonderful to know that I can make another person’s life much easier. In the beginning I had a lot of anxiety and fear because I thought I might lose her, but I kept hanging in there and hoping for the best. My fear and anxiety has been my main motivator to keep going and help in any way I can.

The internet has been a great resource for me. You can really find anything online and I use it to research what I can do to practise mindfulness and reduce my anxiety. Caregiving can become quite stressful at times and those resources can help.

During my caregiving journey, I have become so much more aware of people’s emotions, even if they might not express it. I take the opportunity to proactively ask people if they need help and if they’re ok because not everyone asks for help when they need it.

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