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

AWOL from a psychiatric unit..

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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.


Author: acarerseyes

I am a mum to four gorgeous girls, and a carer to my former partner of eight years, Chris who has a mental illness, BPD. I blog my experiences.. life is tough! We live in Greater Manchester, UK.

One thought on “AWOL from a psychiatric unit..

  1. I just wanted to say a few things about your blog. First off, I cried when I read it because as a BPD sufferer myself, my heart goes out to Chris. I know what it is like to be in that deep of despair. I am fighting out of it, but I’m fortunate enough to have a good medical support system. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you. I know you follow my blog now, but I wanted to make sure to let you know to please reach out to me if you ever need to talk. I’m hoping that maybe you can find a support group in your area that will be an outlet. I’m glad you are blogging and that I am able to follow you to see the other side of the darkness of mental illness. I will keep you in my prayers. Carolyn

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