A disabled woman who had to act as a carer for her equally disabled and epileptic mother had to keep a “brave face”.

Most children look back to their childhood and think of their parents caring for them, but Branwen Mann, 24, from South Oxhey had a very different childhood, as she remembers having to be her mother’s carer from a really young age.

In her early years, Ms Mann would help with little tasks like handing out medication.

But it wasn’t until between the age of ten and fifteen when her role as a carer became clear, as she recalls one frightening moment.

She recalled: “I was caring for my mum, but at that time I did not realise I was a young carer. I heard a noise and went into my mums’ room and found her on the floor having an epileptic seizure and an asthma attack together.

“The left side of her face had dropped, and I thought she was having a stroke.”

Using her initiative, she cleared the area from dangerous objects and put pillows around her for comfort as the seizure went on for five minutes.

She said: “I started helping her to get up and I realised that caring for my mother would be something I was responsible for.”

The family dynamic was slightly different than traditional in the Mann household, as Ms Mann suffers from a series of ‘invisible’ disabilities, with her mother and her sister all facing some form of disability.

As a result, the trio relied on each other to help with their individual needs.

Watford Observer:

Branwen Mann took it upon herself to care for her mothers disabilities, despite her own (Photo: UGC)

In some incidents, Ms Mann would have to take control of her mother during a seizure while also calming down her panicking older sister.

Caring for her family became a full-time job for Ms Mann, meaning she always prioritised keeping an eye out for her family over exploring other careers and branching out socially.

She said: “I look back and I wish that there was someone there that had spoken up and told me there were people out there who could help me.”

The family sought for professional part-time carers but were unable to have one licenced due to her mother’s complex requirements.

“It is difficult living with these, needing additional support, and not receiving it due to the perceptions of others.

“To this day I have not been acknowledged in my role in caring for my disabled mother. I knew then I looked after my mum, but I did not know there was a name for it.”

Research from Action for Children has revealed that young carers spend around 25 hours a week looking after loved ones, equivalent to being unpaid £240 a week or £12,000 a year.

January 31 also marked young carers awareness day, which campaigned for greater support for young carers and their needs.

But Ms Mann hopes to make people know that there are also young disabled carers who receive even less support than other young carers.

“The disabled young carers and disabled young adult disabled carers are a family problem, that is consistently overlooked.

“It is a part of the story of a complex family unit. Understanding not just the parents experience, but the child’s story is also part of the understanding of the bigger picture.”

If you are in a similar situation to Ms Mann, she is offering help and advice through email: connatecic@outlook.com