Through the eyes of a carer for someone with a mental illness


Some things are meant to be.

At the beginning of November I got quite a shock when I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time, however with my beliefs there wasn’t an ounce of doubt that this was meant to be and Chris was over the moon. I had issues with spotting and cramping at the beginning and was under the care of the early pregnancy assessment unit where I had a scan at 5weeks where we saw the yolk sac and 7weeks which confirmed the heartbeat and foetus. I was discharged and put back under the care of the normal midwives at antenatal. At the beginning of all my pregnancies I become quite unwell with hypremesis, luckily this time it was managed with anti sickness medication.

At the beginning of December 2011 Chris was really struggling and our GP and his social worker were very worried about him, and while I knew he was unwell I personally didn’t think it warranted an admission to hospital as I’d seen him so much worse, however he ended up on a psychiatric unit the same night. I, in all selfishness was devastated, being unwell and pregnant myself I felt quite venerable but I knew I would have to battle on. I don’t like asking for help, I rather just suffer on alone but the next day I rang my dad who is a retired teacher and asked him if he would kindly come up and help me out with the girls and the situation. Chris was worried about me and asked for leave from hospital which was granted, he came home but I was still worried about him, worried about how I was feeling. Thank goodness I had my dad. Then on the morning of the 8th December 2011 I got up like any other day, left Chris in bed to sleep, sorted and took the girls to school and playgroup with my dad. We came back and I woke Chris up, he came downstairs and I was chatting away to my dad when all of a sudden I felt a huge gush and immediately knew I was bleeding (a lot). I told Chris and went to the bathroom where yes I confirmed I was pouring with blood. After contacting the early pregnancy unit as quickly as possible they told me they couldn’t see me for 4days and I needed to go to A&E, if I needed seeing right away. Leaving my dad with youngest and sorting out how the other two would get home, Chris and I set off to A&E.

Having got there and booking in, we were sat waiting for Triage, I was worried stupid I was going to bleed everywhere and everyone would notice. Before we had left home I remember just sitting crying that there was no way the baby was ok and I could feel my tummy wasn’t right. As we were waiting, Chris’ social worker walked through with another of her clients and immediately thought I was there with Chris, he was very agitated because of worrying about  me, I felt so awful I was now putting him through what I thought was likely to be miscarriage. She made sure we were both ok and said she would give Chris a call later that day. I could still feel I was bleeding heavily and hoping the triage would come back and start calling people through again, finally I was called, went in and explained everything to her along with the fact I was feeling more and more dizzy. She took my blood pressure and noted a few things down before saying she would be back in a moment… now normally this doesn’t happen and your put back in the waiting room, I was scared.  When she came back she explained that she knew I was worried but I had a high heart rate which was a sign of blood loss and she took me through to a room where a nurse was going to look after me. I sat down on the chair and burst into tears, everything just got a whole lot more real. I’m used to sitting in A&E, I’m used to hospitals and the staff, I’ve done it all enough times with Chris but this time it was me!

The loveliest nurse got me a gown and told me to get changed, she made me feel at ease and I felt very much looked after. For the first time I didn’t need to worry about bleeding and people seeing, I felt I had some dignity (even with paper knicks on haha!). That nurse disappeared and another lovely nurse came in, she made sure I was ok and said a doctor would be in to see me in a moment. Chris went to phone my dad to update him and to be honest I think he just needed the air and to get out of there. The doctor came to see me, I was to be put on a drip and Gynaecology would be called, At this point I said to her, ‘this is my forth baby so I know myself this doesn’t look good at all’ at this point the nurse came back and started setting up the drip, I was frightened, I just kept looking at the ceiling, what was happening to me?

Two doctors from Gynae came down pretty quickly, they examined me, cervix closed, great, tummy felt like a 11week pregnancy, great. It was decided to scan me to see what was going on, well they would have, had they been able to get, the in their words ‘a basic scanner’ from A&E to work. I was taken up to gynae and scanned, too my amazement and by complete miracle my precious little baby was kicking and wiggling about with a strong heartbeat. The reason I bled wasn’t found, it was put down to a ‘threatened miscarriage’ and I needed to rest. I asked if I could go home, they weren’t keen but they made sure I wouldn’t be left alone and people would look after me. My cannula was taken out and a very delicate me made my way home with Chris by my side.

I don’t know what caused me to bleed, could have been so many things, was awful to see Chris blaming himself, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. He still hasn’t got rid of the guilt no matter how much I say it wasn’t because of him, although I look after him day in day out, I couldn’t have done that without him, having him there was all I needed to get me through. He still doesn’t realise what he did for me that day, sometimes it seems your doing nothing but to me he was doing everything.

I’m almost 19weeks pregnant now, while Chris is worried, this little person was meant to be.


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Two places.. only one of me!

The most common problem I find in life is the inability to split myself in half so I can be in two places at once! Take for example this morning, I woke up to my three year old being sick, so no playgroup for her this morning. However I am meant to be at the doctors with Chris at 11am as he needs his next prescriptions and a review of how he is getting on. Now normally I would take my youngest with us but a sick three year old and doctors waiting rooms don’t mix, plus I would hate for her to give any bug she may have to an elderly or frail person. Where does this leave me? Well the first and about the only point of call is Chris’ dad, my parents live 200miles away in London, my sister is at University in Preston and Chris isn’t on good enough terms at the moment with anyone else in his family. I don’t really have many friends, and none I could call upon for help, being a carer can isolate you from people. After speaking to Chris’ dad who told me ‘I am going out in half an hour as Chris already knows’ leaving me completely stuck as to what I am meant to do, and while I understand people have their own lives it really feels sometimes that every time I ask for some help its refused.

So what am I going to do? The honest answer is I don’t have a clue, I can’t be in two places at once and while I’ve no one else to help me out there isn’t a lot I can do. Even if I convince Chris to go alone I will be completely out of the loop on his medication and Chris doesn’t always remember everything the doctor has said to him. Not to mention I actually had things to discuss with the doctor myself. Never mind, some things are just entirely out of my hands. I feel torn a million and one ways and while I manage a lot of the time to juggle everything very well there does come the times where I just can’t be in two place at once!


Diagnosis, medication, BPD.

I thought I would tell you a little more about Chris and his diagnosis and also the medication he is on at the moment, just to give a bit of the background information really. As well as being diagnosed BPD he has a ‘suspected underlying mood disorder’ but he has proven so complex that at the moment no one is really sure what’s going on. We are awaiting his Psychiatrist to hold a ‘case conference’ so all the psychiatrist will look over his notes and see if a few heads are better than one.

In terms of medication Chris is currently on…

  • 20mg Escitalopram
  • 10mg Diazepam twice a day
  • 50mg Piportil depot injection once a fortnight
  • 5mg Procyclidine three times a day to combat side effects from his injection
  • 1-2mg Lorazepam PRN for real emergencies
  • 30mg Lansoprazole because he has ruined his stomach overdosing

I can’t count the number of different tablets he has tried, or the combinations he has tried them in but touch wood at the moment this seems to be the best one we have found. There was even talk at one point he might have epilepsy or possible brain damage causing his symptoms from all his head injuries as a child, he’s had a CT scan and we are awaiting an EEG. As Chris uses overdose to either harm himself or with intent on committing suicide our GP prescribes his medication in lots of three days, so I am what feels like forever in the chemist! We have a safe where all the medicines go and when Chris is showing signs of being very unwell, only I have access to the key for his own safety, though in the past this alone still hasn’t stopped him overdosing.

As far as a form of ‘therapy’ goes he was deemed too unstable to have Psychotherapy, and he prefers not to see his psychologist very often at the moment. However he is awaiting news on whether he will be joining a ‘Therapeutic community’ should really hear soon about that because it’s been months since the application was sent off. Our GP sees him once a week and his care coordinator (social worker) sees him once a week or as and when he needs her.

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AWOL from a psychiatric unit..

I spoke in my last post about Chris going AWOL from a Psychiatric unit, this was back at the end of July 2011. I knew he didn’t really want to be there, but then again who would choose to be in one of those places? I went to visit him to take him some clothes at evening visiting time, I was shocked at the damage he had done to his arm the night before with his razor blade, he is a long standing self harmer but I thought this risk would be reduced with him being at the unit. I left him in what I thought would be their capable hands.

That evening at around 11.30pm I was just getting ready to go to bed when I had a knock on the door, then the window. My heart skipped, and as I looked out of the window I could see a Police car, my immediate thought after months of worry about Chris overdosing and constant self harm was, is Chris alive? I answered the door, really confused as to why this officer was there. He asked me if Chris lived here and was he in at the moment, at this point I didn’t even know what to think so I explained this is his home but he was in a psychiatric unit at the moment. As the conversation progressed it occurred to me that he thought I had been told Chris had escaped from the psychiatric unit. Not only had the hospital themselves failed to notify me they were sending the Police a real mixture of information and the poor Police officer seemed as confused about it all as I did. He left in search of Chris; I rang the hospital to find out what the hell had been going on, turned out on his smoking break Chris jumped a wall. After awhile Chris showed up at the house, so I called the ward back and they told me there was nothing they could do if he didn’t want to come back that he was to attend the following day to collect his belongings. The Police officer came back to see Chris, he advised he went back to the unit because in his words ‘I can see how worried your partner is about you’ but again he said there wasn’t anything he could do to force Chris to go back.

Chris returned to pick up his belongings the following day from the ward where the staff said to me while sorting his medication to take home ‘as you’re his partner do you have anything to say?’ So I said to them that it didn’t matter what I said anymore because no one has listened to my concerns about his safety before now, and again they were sending him home for me to deal with, I had to hold back tears. Their only answer was we can’t section him because he has mental capacity… so someone that is so insistent on killing himself, that has felt bugs crawling under his skin and has been in complete crisis for weeks has mental capacity then I honestly didn’t know what described someone that didn’t have mental capacity.

I took him home, locked his medication back up in the safe, hid the house keys and any money from him and once again everything was all down to me,  I was fighting with little to no help to keep Chris alive, on my own.


Stuck in ‘The Gap’

There has been talk on twitter lately about ‘The Gap’ which can better be explained here

Last year we went through a period of time which without shadow of a doubt was utter hell. Chris was in a state of complete crisis, I had the girls to look after as well (at the time aged 4, 2 and not quite 1) I found myself for the first time thinking the NHS were leaving Chris to die. In a 6month period, Chris overdosed over 26 times, quite a number of those landing him in A&E, the most severe one causing him to end up in Rhesus and spending three days in coronary care, yet they still sent him home.

Chris, who when in this state of mind, won’t seek help without a lot of encouragement and then will often change his mind, wasn’t very cooperative. The Crisis team did nothing but cause more of a crisis, our GP couldn’t do more than he was doing, his psychiatrist wasn’t even bothered and he only got his Care Coordinator (a social worker) half way through the battle. I spent nights sitting up with him worried I would find him dead by morning, the longest I would leave him for was to take our Children to playgroup and I would hurry as quickly as I could. A&E visits saw him sent home, crisis team visits were a waste of time, it felt like me, and me alone was trying to keep Chris alive. There was a time, when things couldn’t get any worse, I accepted that Chris would one day successfully commit suicide or die through the damage he was constantly causing his body.

If Chris left the hospital (A&E, MAU) they would on occasion ring the Police who either took him back or left him at home. The one time he escaped from a Psychiatric unit they sent the Police to find him, he showed up at our house after a number of hours and the Police came to see him, the officer basically said he couldn’t do anything but advise Chris went back.. Chris didn’t and again it was down to me to make sure he was ok. On occasion I hoped and prayed they would find him in a public place and be able to do something to help him.

This ‘Gap’ for me is the NHS can’t/won’t help Chris out and the Police lacking the ability to do anything. What I have written isn’t even half of what happened, some of this might not even make sense, it’s a highly emotional thing to look back on for myself, who lived of adrenalin for months on end just to get by and to do everything possible to keep my children’s lives as normal as possible for them, but as I continue with this blog I will write about the incidents I have recorded, remembered so you can get a view into my life.

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Who am I?

Sometimes I don’t get a lot of sleep, or my sleep is very broken, my answer to most people asking how I am is ‘I’m tired’.
I don’t get a lot of help and without me around to hold things together the basic running of my household falls apart.
I know a lot about anti depressants, anti psychotics, mood stabilisers and side effects despite having no medical background or training.
My voice can also be someone else’s voice when they can’t find their own in dealing with other people, and need someone to speak up for them.
Until I found myself in this position I wasn’t very confident, now I regularly find myself dealing with a number of different professionals, which has sometimes been a very draining battle with little success.
The list of things I do is endless, this list of reasons I do it is endless and the love I do it for is endless…. who am I?



As well as a mum to our three girls I’m also a carer to my partner of six years, Chris. He is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I would be lying to you if I said life wasn’t tough, of course it is but the four very special people in my life keep me going and make everything worthwhile. This blog is my views as a carer and a mum trying to battle through every day life I hope you find it interesting. Thank you.