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

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Contingency plans

When it comes to getting ready for a baby its hard no matter who you are, so much to buy and organise and put into place, but when you are relied upon as a carer and due to have a baby that increases dramatically with things not many people will have to organise or sort out in their lifetime. A lot of things are unpredictable, for example I don’t know when the baby will be born, how I will be physically after or anything like that so I need to plan for every occasion.

One thing that occurred to me the other week while we were sat waiting for Chris’ depot at depot clinic was what would happen if I had the baby on a Tuesday night, how would he still receive his depot. Baring in mind I am hopefully having this baby at home as my other three were all homebirths and that even if I could find someone else to take him up for his depot he really needs to be around to help with getting the girls to school and looking after them etc. So I spoke with his social worker and we have arranged that if I have the baby on certain days a home depot will be arranged.

I also need to speak to my parents and ask them to be on standby in case I need them to come up and give me a hand, just like my labour/birth is unpredictable, so is how stable or not Chris is. If he isn’t so good an extra pair of hands to ensure the girls are still taken to school etc would be of massive help. Also need to get one of his parents to look after the girls if need be for example if I have the baby during the day or I end up in hospital, this is the bit that worries me the most because they arent always reliable. Fingers crossed this baby, just like my last two will come in the evening and the girls sleep through it all again.

As much as I am hoping we don’t need to use some or any of these contingency plans they need to be in place in case. Hopefully it will make things go smoother if anything does pop up along the way. Now that we are only just over 5weeks away from my due date everything needs to start falling into place. This is the thing about caring for someone with very little help, when you have to put yourself first because of health etc it gets very difficult so hopefully we don’t have to use any of my contingency plans and I will be able to resume back to normal pretty quickly.




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A little update

Well there has been so much going on of late that I haven’t had much chance to update here in awhile. My nesting instincts seem to have gone on overdrive and now I want to paint/clean/tidy everything within an inch of its life. This I have found has proved very useful in helping to keep Chris safe and occupied while afterwards giving him a sense of satisfaction that he has achieved something. I know to some it sounds so small but that’s pretty huge at the moment for Chris. Turning negative emotions into something positive is something he struggles with. He has helped me paint a number of walls and even do some wallpapering as well and while he has still remained very agitated and struggled with suicidal thoughts I keep trying to give him something to focus on and look forward to, in a way.

At the moment both Chris, his Social worker and I are trying to piece together events before our youngest was born to how Chris seems to be going downhill again now and working out the patters in his behaviour in the hope of stopping or controlling them better this time. I know he is already very anxious about the new baby and how he is going to be, this is mainly because he puts so much pressure on himself to get it right and be this perfect person I don’t think even the best father in the world could achieve. To me he is an amazing dad but he needs to believe this himself, I can say it to him until I am blue in the face but until he sees it, it doesn’t mean anything to him.

I am currently writing a blog called Contingency Plans to do with being a carer due to have a baby… look out for it!


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Who cares for the carer

The question I keep asking myself, and have yet to come up with an answer is, ‘who cares for the carer’. Few people ever ask me if I am alright, and I suppose sometimes it feels like they just take for granted that I do what I do regardless. I am really lucky to have amazing parents, as I have said on a number of occasions and although they are far away they provide an awful lot of time just listening to me and I just feel they are ‘there’ for me.

I tend to try and see a different GP to Chris, because I find that everything is always Chris related otherwise, and sometimes I just want to be taken for who I am, just me. When things were at their worst and I was doing everything on my own and every day seemed like a huge fight to keep Chris alive and get professionals to do their jobs I actually wondered who was looking out for me, who was helping me.

I asked on twitter today to see the response I would get, if maybe anyone else knew who cares for the carer and this was some of the replies

It appears none of us carer’s actually know. I tell you one thing, I care for the carer and anyone who ever wants a chat is very welcome to get in contact, and we will look out for and support each other I am sure.


Caring can be lonely

I find life is so lonely sometimes, a world full of so many people yet I sometimes feel like  I am the only one. Of course while the children are up and playing I feel far from lonely or on my own but once they are all asleep and Chris is unwell the world becomes a lonely place. Chris doesn’t make for good company, choosing to disappear on me altogether, sleep or sit in complete silence. It can be pretty tough; I have said before that the only way I can explain it is like living as a single parent only harder because I have Chris to look after as well.

I try and hold onto all the good things we do together when he isn’t unwell and all the memories we have built, knowing that when the time is right we will add once again to that collection but it can be so hard to remain positive, but on a brave face and just ride it out. I don’t think people realise just how isolated you can become while caring for someone. I am constantly juggling two or more things at once on my own with very little help from anyone else. Looking after someone with a mental illness for me is at its hardest while treading on eggshells, being the one at fault no matter the problem and having to wait till the person is well again for any amount of thanks because while they are unwell they don’t see what you do for them.

If anyone reading this is a carer for someone remember;

  • Don’t feel alone, remember there are many of us out there who understand.
  • Look after yourself even though it’s hard because if you are like me, everything crumbles unless I am ok.
  • Hold onto the good to get you through the bad/hard times.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself, you are only human.
  • Remember no matter how small, you have done something today to help improve the life of the person you care for.

That makes you pretty darn special in my opinion.