There has been a lot of talk on twitter lately about the false opinion people seem to have that people with a mental illness are immediately violent or criminal. This isn’t true, very few are, but when your brain is seriously unwell, especially for things like psychosis, things can happen that the person has very little to no control over. It keeps reminding me of a situation that happened ages ago now.
Last year, without any warning and in a period of time Chris was suffering from Psychosis he attacked me. I say it was him, it was his body but it wasn’t his mind, I wasn’t even looking into his eyes, I was looking into eyes I didn’t recognise, because he wasn’t behind them. Unless you have seen this yourself you will probably find it very hard to understand what I mean. It was completely unprovoked, and at a time Chris was seriously unwell.
One Sunday I had been sitting down with him in the living room, he had been complaining of bugs crawling under his skin and taken an overdose a few days before and had been hearing voices. The whole of the previous week I had begged several health professionals to section him because I was worried sick about his mental wellbeing and they hadn’t listened to me, even our GP. He had been lying on the sofa for awhile, his arms covered with cuts, when he got up all of a sudden and started saying really random things before going into the kitchen and smashing it up, you couldn’t see the floor by the time he had finished, he came into the living room where I was still sitting and started to smash that up as well. I begged him to stop and that he was ok and would he sit down, he threw something at me, I have no idea what it was, it missed thank goodness, then he returned to the kitchen. I stayed where I was and he came back into the living room and held me against the back of the sofa, with something to my neck, all I could think it was, was a knife. I begged him to let me go, not to hurt me, he let me go and walked away, it was a screwdriver in his hand, he dropped it, grabbed the car keys and sped off.
I locked the door, and dialled 999, why? Not because of what he had done to me, that was the least of my worries, but because I was worried sick about what he was about to do to himself. Two hours later the Police showed up, I gave them all the information, I answered their 27 domestic violence questions or whatever they were and told them I was worried sick about him, gave them all the places he goes when he’s contemplating suicide etc. They took his registration number and circulated it so that any ANPR would pick it up and officers were aware. They then left.
Awhile later I received a phone call from an officer who had found him ‘safe and well’ but Chris was refusing to talk to me and they were going to get him checked over at A&E. I thanked the officer and went about sorting the house. I thought that perhaps finally they would see how unwell Chris was, how much he needed help and he would now get it. How wrong was I! I have since found out that the officer took him to A&E an ordinary doctor decided he was fine so the police returned him to his dads. I also found out they had found him at his dads and were about to put the door through when he answered it.
Just a few things to add to this.. Chris hadn’t before that or since laid a finger on me, he’s shy, gentle, kind and very supportive and protective, it was completely out of character, entirely.
Could this have been prevented? Yes it could, if they had listened to me, he was even under the care of the Crisis Team at the time. It didn’t need to happen had they have done their job.
What happened after this? The crisis team visited him at his dads the following morning, he seemed ok to them, and he was still in his own world to his dad. That afternoon Chris had completely broken down, he was suicidal, he couldn’t stop crying, and he was scared because he was struggling to recall the previous day. His dad rang the Crisis team and told them they needed to admit him and he wasn’t taking no for an answer. All afternoon they wouldn’t with the excuse ‘he was fine this morning’ then ‘we don’t have any beds’ then ‘the manager doesn’t agree’ Chris had a doctor’s appointment booked for that afternoon anyway so I agreed to meet him at the doctors and we saw her together. He told her what had happened, what he had done, to this day thinking about the state he was in, the tears pouring from his eyes; he was shaking and visibly very ill, makes me really upset. She said she would ring the Crisis team and ask for him to be admitted as a matter of urgency. She was lovely, Chris returned to his dads were he received a call to attended a psychiatric unit, his dad took him up. He spent two weeks in hospital.
Is he some violent man I should be scared of? Not at all. Am I scared of him? Not in the slightest. He was very ill, he didn’t know what he was doing, I have seen Chris get cross before, of course I have but it was nothing like that and looking back it upsets me because all I can see is this very fragile person that no one would help. That day services hadn’t just let Chris down, by completely ignoring all my concerns they had let me down as well.