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Coronavirus: Fiona – “I feel sick with worry about what the future holds”

Thinking about the impact of Covid on me and my family… I don’t really know where to start. I am coping and we are coping because we have to. I feel at the minute that there will be a cost to this coping and I am worried about what this means for the future – for my brother’s future, my family’s future.

We are coping because we have a family member who is extremely clinically vulnerable and needs to be shielded. My brother needs 24 hour care (including through the night) due to complex medical needs. At a time when we had very little support pre-Covid, we now have even less. How does anyone make a decision to allow others into their bubble? Carers who have families and lives of their own – we can make the decision to shield to protect my brother, but we can’t expect others to do the same.

As an adult sibling, I find myself at a stage in my life where I am determined to have just that (my own life). But it is so difficult to think about my own needs at a time when the needs of my brother and my family are hugely increased. My parents are not getting any younger and the needs of my brother are increasing. I really worry about for how long we can do this. What will happen after Covid? Will we get the care that we so desperately need? Or will we have to continually fight so that my brother can receive appropriate and dignified care?

Covid has increased anxiety levels in my family hugely. What will happen if my brother gets poorly and needs to go to hospital? What if one of us gets ill? How long can we cope without support? Will my brother be offered treatment if he needs it or will people not see past the disability? So many questions at a time of massive uncertainty and so few answers.

The biggest challenge for me at the moment is juggling. I’m working full-time and supporting my family and my brother at a time when I also feel quite lost in the uncertainty of the situation with Covid. I’m trying not to think too much about the ‘what ifs’ and just focus on getting through the present moment. I’m trying to make sure we can meet the needs of my brother and I’m trying to stay positive for him.

The thing that I would like people to know about being an adult sibling at the moment is that appearances can be deceptive. To outsiders, and my family, I am coping. I work full-time and help to care for my brother every day. Inside however I feel sick, sick with worry about what the future holds. How long can I continue to keep all of the juggling balls in the air and make sure that my family survives this?

All names have been changed.

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