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


Tough times

I have not blogged in awhile; this is because things here have been far from good. Dealing with a very suicidal and unstable Chris at times, not knowing how to help him and having very little in the means of support from anyone that does. Even now he isn’t seeing his social worker until Friday. Even he has said he deems himself high risk in terms of how at risk to himself he is. Exhausted doesn’t really cut it to be honest, I am seeing patterns from where we were last year but apart from making suggestions on ways he can help himself and trying to keep him busy I am fighting what feels like a losing battle and feel pretty useless. Too many times has he this week disappeared on me, not taking his phone, usually in the evening and not returning for hours on end leaving me worried that he is ok. All patterns again I saw last year when he was extremely bad.

He’s gone back to avoiding me, not talking to me, disappearing all things that are worrying signs for him, at least if he is telling me how he feels I have some kind of idea, most of the time at the moment I am having to guess and this is usually when he’s high risk from overdosing. As I write this, I really feel like crying, hormones are more than likely not helping me at the moment. He doesn’t know the trigger behind his feelings so no one knows what to do not even his social worker.




First to blame, last to be heard.

Being a carer I have found something pretty hard going that is you’re the first person blamed and last person listened too.  Health professionals give the opinion most of the time that you are being a pain in the backside, your inconvenient, they know more about your partner/child/parent/friend than you do because you couldn’t possibly understand someone’s illness as much as them because they have paperwork to prove their knowledge. So your just ‘there’ half the time neither the professional or the patient just ‘a person’ yet for most people suffering with illness you’re the person that tries makes their life a little easier by every little thing you do.

I am so easy to blame, half the time only acknowledged when they have something to blame me for like

  • ‘Well why didn’t you have his medication?’
  • ‘Where were you when this happened?’
  • ‘Why didn’t you call us?’
  • ‘Did you lock his medication up?’
  • ‘Why don’t you control the money’
  • ‘If you’re so involved, you come up with his care plan.’

that’s just to name a few. Guess what? I AM ONLY HUMAN! At one point last year I was so upset with being blamed for everything, from all angles, health professionals, Chris family and even Chris himself. It was so easy to blame me when I was one of the few people along with my health visitor and GP that was actually trying to help Chris. It is so draining trying to battle against people who were meant to be helping and instead chucking their failures onto me. Half the time had they of listened to what I was saying we could have prevented most of the things that happened. Since when do they use the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ though.

This brings me on to the fact they don’t listen, it is all well and good asking me why I didn’t lock his medication up so he can’t overdose or why I was being human and sleeping, when I have told you what feels like fifty million times he can’t keep himself safe, his behaviour is worrying and I cannot keep him safe myself anymore, you chose not to listen and to put up with it so yes he has now overdosed, he isn’t in a good way and I could have told you this would happen!!! I felt like saying on many occasions ‘you may be able to go home tonight and not worry but this is my life, Chris life and our children’s life you are dealing with!’

This all then brings me back to the fact, like I have mentioned before that I actually recorded everything in the end so that if God forbid anything happened to Chris, I knew I had done everything in my power to do everything I could to prevent it because there was no way I was going to feel guilty and blamed for it. What all these people we have come across don’t seem to realise, apart from his Social worker we have gained since, is that if they listened to me they would gain valuable information that would actually really help them when dealing with Chris. I am not there to make their life harder; far from it and my interests are just that of Chris’ no one else.

I would also like to point out that Psychiatrist/CMHT/GP etc all have Chris permission to speak to me etc so the confidential legalities are not the issue here either, and after all it is rare I have spoken to them without Chris being there and asking me too etc anyway. Giving information to them is one thing and asking for information is another.




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Depot Clinic

Well every Wednesday is ‘bum jab day’ as it is known in this house. Chris goes attends the Depot Clinic for his weekly dose of Piportil. Today it was raining and we had just dropped the girls to Grandad’s, because taking three children with us is far from ideal, Grandad is more fun. Anyway we climbed up the stairs to the second floor, because you queue for what feels like forever in that place for the lift. As we went through the doors on the second floor the heat hit me, it was so stuffy and warm. Booked Chris in at reception where we were told there was a bit of a wait but they had called for other CPN’s to come and give them a hand. Chris and I found the only seats available and began to wait, I was starting to boil and my face felt flushed so I decided to get a leaflet to fan myself with. Sadly the only one I could find that wasn’t about STI’s, STD’s or Contraception was one about reproduction so I sat back down and wafted that in front of my face because after all it was less embarrassing than ending up in a heap on the floor after fainting.

Chris was called in about half an hour later where they apologised for the wait and she explained she had been the only nurse on Depot injections all morning. She prepared the injection and gave it to him, this is when I notice how they all have their own little techniques for giving the injection, one asks Chris to cough to relax his muscles, another asks him to take the weight off the leg he’s having it in, some put it in with caution and some look like they are throwing a dart. It is pretty fascinating to watch, doesn’t phase me at all and only once has it caused him any real uncomfortable pain. She also noted down his side effects and hoped that the new dose of procyclidine would help but to keep his social worker and doctor up to date with what has been going on so they can monitor them.

That’s his depot done.. for another week!



Side effects

After Chris’ depot injection was increased a couple of weeks ago his side effects have slowly increased, he has been taking Procyclidine to help get rid of them but it was getting to the point the dose he was on combined with the upping of the Piportil wasn’t enough to help block them out. He has been suffering with sickness, a stiff jaw, dribbling/spitting while talking, and tremor in his hands, agitation and head and tripping easily. So today after a bad weekend he went to see a locum GP at our doctors who agreed to up his Procyclidine in the hope it will get rid of these effects again.

His agitation has been really bad, distraction and keeping him busy hasn’t really helped and I didn’t have any PRN left for him over the weekend, this has been sorted this morning at the doctors so we have that to fall back on as well now. Off to Depot Clinic in the morning again and fingers crossed the Procyclidine will start to work on the side effects. Chris is asleep at the moment, he hasn’t been right since tea time, I am not sure what is wrong, and he wasn’t very forthcoming with telling me although I think he is getting a migraine. I have noticed recently a lot of people with mental health problems seem to suffer migraines, I get them myself but luckily they are rare compared to Chris who gets them often.

After all these appointment’s for Chris.. I have one with the midwife on Thursday for a check up on how Bump is doing.


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One in ten people..

..with BPD (borderline personality disorder) will commit suicide. This statistic was given to me by an inpatient Psychiatrist after I had, had a very long telephone call with him (back in 2011) about why I didn’t think Chris leaving hospital after one night was a very good idea. My reasons at the time were persistent overdose, wondering off early hours of the morning, self harm and numerous trips to A&E. His mental state was getting worse and he wasn’t complying with his medication, I wasn’t able to keep up what I had been doing to keep him safe without serious consequences to my health.

While normally I wouldn’t have minded being given a statistic, good or bad I found this one particularly inappropriate at the time, it was just really unhelpful under the circumstances. While I am sure he didn’t intend to cause me more worry than I already had, he didn’t really think about what he was saying and how it could affect me before he opened his mouth. It’s not something I worry about now or that plays on my mind, I mean there is no point in worrying about something you don’t know will or won’t happen, it’s not productive. I like to think he wouldn’t be the one in ten who committed suicide but for now I am happy making sure that we make the most of being together and spending time with the girls. I could (God forbid) get hit by a bus myself tomorrow after all; there are no certainties that anyone will live until they die naturally.

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My weekend

I have had a good weekend; my parents came up from London yesterday to spend the day with us on their way to stay with my Grandma in York. They are having a new kitchen fitted and didn’t need their oven anymore so they have given it to us, I am so pleased with it, its only about a year old and so much better than our old one, it was lovely of them to think of us like that. Chris enjoyed seeing them as well; he gets on well with my parents and as time goes by feels slowly more comfortable in their presence. It is always really nice for him to spend time with my dad in particular and gets a lot out of it. I was completely shattered by the time they left to make their way over to York.

I find seeing my parents when things have been harder of late more difficult, it makes saying goodbye hard and I could feel myself getting a lump in my throat, luckily the girls were fabulous and didn’t get upset like they sometimes do which does make it that little bit easier for me. It’s funny because I have my own family, my own responsibilities and yet my parents are such a huge part of my life, it just shows you can age but you always need your parents.

Today I have been exhausted, but things were made slightly easier by the fact Chris’ dad had invited us round to his for our tea, so that did give me a little bit of a breather as I didn’t need to worry about cooking etc and there were more eyes on the girls I felt I could relax a little. It was a lovely meal, we came home early enough to put the girls to bed on time because our Eldest hasn’t finished school for Easter yet, so tomorrow morning is just like any other school morning.. Mayhem!