A mum-of-four says she “would not be around” had a kind stranger not stopped her in a market to ask how she was.
Naheed Tahir, 55, has been an unpaid carer for her 30-year-old daughter Amber since she was born.
Her condition, which means she takes longer to reach social, emotional and educational milestones, leaves her “totally reliant” on Naheed, one of millions of unpaid carers in the UK.
Naheed has struggled alone after losing her mum 20 years ago and her friends did not understand her problems.
Pushed to the edge at times, she had a breakdown five years ago and recently broke down in tears when a man asked how she was.
Naheed, from Mossley Hill, Merseyside, told the Liverpool Echo : “I just started crying. I couldn’t answer.
“All he asked me was, ‘How are you?’, and I burst into tears. I just said, ‘I’m not alright’.”
“I think with ethnic minorities, you just think it’s your duty, you’ve got to get on with it.
“You’re not allowed to ask for help – it’s quite shameful, ‘Why would you ask for somebody else to help? It’s your child.
“It’s your responsibility to look after them.”
Naheed had been pickup leaflets from various stands, including including one run by Local Solutions, a charity supporting vulnerable people across Liverpool and North Wales.
Realising something was wrong, the man urged her to get help from the charity’s Carers Centre which gave her advice and helped with a free carer’s assessment.
The help also extends to respite breaks for carers, as well as advice and help with transport costs.
Naheed says without the encounter she may not be here today.
Now a volunteers with MyTime which offers breaks to carers, Naheed wants people to know some help is there.
She said: “It is really satisfying for me to be able to help somebody because I don’t want someone to be in the position that I was in.
“You need to look after yourself to be able to do your caring responsibilities. My daughter needs me, and if I don’t look after myself, how am I able to look after her?
“That’s what MyTime, Local Solutions and the whole organisation has taught me. I need to put myself first because it is very difficult for all carers.”
Local Solutions’ chief executive, Tom Harrison said: “The unconditional care shown by our teams and in our communities has provided the hope and energy needed to keep on going and empower people to reach their full potential, even in testing times.”