When dad left us I had to step up. I left school and took his place, providing the financial and practical support at home for my mum and younger brother and sister. Mum was in bits so I was the emotional support too. I was the only one in the family that had a job so I worked extra nightshifts for double pay. I drank to unwind and then drank more to be able to sleep. At first I hid the alcohol in case mum drank it and later I hid it because I was ashamed about how much I needed it. I smuggled the empties out on my way to work.
Then, six months ago I had a bad panic attack on the bus on my way to work. Instead of a journey to work it became the start of a long, long journey to recovery, from hospital to Blenheim. Looking back I can see now that I became an adult in my teens and somehow I became really good at fooling those around me so that they trusted that I was in control and was able to cope and look after them. I am now in my 30’s and I am still living at home looking after them but I have changed, at least I am more honest to myself now. I know that I am resilient and I also now know that I need support too and I have it.