Being a former care leaver from my local authority suffering with mixed anxiety and depression disorder, I would have to admit sometimes it is hard to know and feel when everything is going to be ok and when stuff is completely worse than it was before. I remember this one time when I got placed into foster care just after my 16th Birthday, my anxiety was running extremely high which everyone said was normal as I was going to a new home with new people, and not having a clue if I was going to see my friends ever again.
For me, this was extremely hard as before going into care my friends were the only people around me that understood what I was going through and how I was feeling on the inside of myself, but when I was placed into my first foster home, everything went from me being open about how I was feeling with my friends to me hiding everything away and trying to deal with everything on my own, which in turn was the worst thing I could ever of done.
I remember that when I did get placed into foster care, I was taken straight from the hospital to the foster home and all I was wearing was the clothes that I got admitted with and all I had with me was my college bag and my mobile phone. Turning up to a new home with literally nothing of who I was with me made me feel that I did not exist, which in turn effected my mental health more as I was already anxious about being there but at the same time, I felt that I was not even me anymore either as everything that I had that made me… me…. was gone and I was not going to get it back again.
After getting placed into the system, my mental health started deuterating extremely badly, I was feeling anxious all the time with my depression arising all the time making me feel extremely low and suicidal, but as part of me being in the system, my foster carer took me to see a therapist at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Statistics show that 45% of looked after children suffer with a mental health condition, which is correct, as in my experience in the fostering system, a lot of people start developing mental health issues once they enter the system because of a traumatic event at home before being placed into the system or because of being taken away from their family, which from this happening to me myself, it can affect a child badly. However, it is shown that children and young people often face a lack of security, reliability, and stability in their lives which personally in my opinion, I feel that this can also effect care leavers and children in care’s mental health as if they do not feel that they can rely on their foster carer of their support worker, their health can start to get worse.
For me, when I first got placed into care, I did feel that my foster carer did not want anything to do with me which made me feel that I could rely on her, however after time when she showed me that where I was placed was secure and that she could offer my stability by making sure that even though I suffered with mental health, I could still have a proactive life but most importantly do everything that I wanted to do before going into care. By her doing this I was able to feel that I could rely on her more and more over time.
I believe that it is always important to pass on great and important advice to current care leavers and even children in care, as even though they might not be going through the same things as I have, maybe one day my story can support them and give them the courage to speak out or even talk to someone about issues that they are dealing with.
Suffering with any sort of mental health while you are in the fostering system as a care leaver or a child in care, can always feel and seem like you are in your own, and believe me this is exactly how I felt when I first got taken into care, but the reality is that when you don’t talk to anyone about how you are feeling, a lot of issues come to affect you more and more until it’s too late to do anything, so if I was to give some advice to fellow care leavers and children in care, it would be to always feel and believe that you can talk to your social worker, personal advisor, foster carer or even anyone who is supporting you cause once you do, a lot of support can be there to help you go to the future that you want to be at.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger.