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

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Nothing like all at once…

There is nothing like being hit by everything at once, and this is exactly what has happened to Chris of late, and it is no wonder he is struggling as much as he is. He was always worried about the birth of Cora, after all Chris is someone who worries himself silly that he isn’t this perfect person he wants to be and fears he is failing his children, which of course isn’t true but he believes it and beats himself up over it, cue going round in circles.

So what he didn’t need was to lose his social worker a few weeks before Cora was due and even worse that he found out the way he did and she never really did say goodbye and hand him over etc it was all handled poorly. Then to add to that his dad suffered a few weeks from bad depression, ended up in a psychiatric ward Chris was once on and it dragged up a load of memories combined with guilt and a whole load of other things. Not to mention when I went into labour his mum refused to have our children and it came close to him missing the birth so he could look after our girls, thank goodness we were saved by amazing, very kind neighbour! Then he found out recently his mother has DVT’s again in both of her legs. To top it all off he was then introduced to his new care coordinator, a cpn.

To be fair after everything he has been through lately he is actually doing a lot better than he would normally manage in such a highly stressful situation. It’s enough to push anyone to the limit but he wasn’t that great before. In all of this he also had a change of medication, which has been upped today to help. His CPN is also providing a lot of support for him and its going to be a take it one day at a time at the moment. I’ve been doing an awful lot with it being the school holidays, having just had Cora and now Chris who isn’t eating, is sleeping an awful lot and needing prompting to get him to do anything at all really.

Fingers crossed things get a little easier in the next few days. I really feel for him that all this has happened, it wasn’t what he needed at all.


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Not knowing what to do for the best.

Most days I get up and go through the same routine of taking the girls to school and playgroup, housework, feeding Cora, changing nappies, cooking, picking children up, putting them to bed, you get the picture. This normally goes on around catering for Chris and his needs, appointments, medication, talking to him, waking him up, making sure he’s ok etc. However last night was a bit different as after all it hadn’t happened for a little while and the last time it happened when I had a very young baby in the house was getting on two years ago when Willow was a baby.

I was feeding Cora, I knew Chris wasn’t feeling too good; he had gone for a lie down on the bed and hadn’t eaten any tea. He came downstairs and went in the kitchen, I called through while I was feeding and asked if he was alright and what was he doing, he replied with nothing. Something however didn’t sit right with me, I wasn’t happy so I stopped feeding Cora and lay her down while I went to see if he was ok. I walked into the kitchen with an unexplained knot in my stomach and saw him taking tablet after tablet. I quickly gathered them up before he could take anymore and locked them into the safe taking the key and placing it in my pocket. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was suicidal and didn’t really know. I asked what he had taken and how many and he answered my questions roughly, I took the key and checked the safe to confirm what he was telling me was more or less correct. This then left me in an awful situation… What do I do?

In all honesty I always doubt what to do now, I know the issues are will he even go to hospital? Whether his overdose is enough for anyone to worry about? Am I wasting an ambulances time? Will he even stay in hospital? Will anyone actually do anything or will they send him home a couple of hours later? Just to name a few. So this leaves me feeling pretty helpless, pretty worried and watching him like a hawk. I have previously been told that what he had taken would make him drowsy if taken too many of but still I am no medic, I just didn’t know. After I asked him if he would seek medical help he said no he would be fine and fell asleep on the sofa, I kept an eye on him and after awhile roused him to see if he was ok. He was pretty confused and had slurred speech, he wasn’t able to stand properly, he came out with random questions and when I asked him if I could get him an ambulance he just refused saying again he would be fine he just felt exhausted. I spoke to him for ages and all the time his symptoms were easing off and I made him promise me he would see our GP in the morning which he accepted. Only one problem now, it meant I hardly slept a wink for worrying about him.

He saw our GP today, I took him there and explained what had happened, he was now without any symptoms other than a little tired and groggy. I also asked what I should have done with regards to getting him help; he said I could have called an ambulance as the drug he took would have meant he needed to be watched for so many hours. This is the thing, if I hadn’t just had Cora I would have probably taken him up in a taxi and got him seen but I couldn’t, I was powerless to get him anywhere and at the moment when his family aren’t able to help in any way, shape or form I couldn’t get anyone else to take him up or look after the girls either. All a bit of a nightmare really and I honestly hate being in that situation, maybe ringing if I am worried regardless next time is the way forward, I just hate being treated like a pain in the butt.

Our GP asked if he wanted to spend the weekend in hospital which he refused so instead he has an appointment to see whichever GP is working tomorrow morning in case he is bad again over night. Sadly I couldn’t even contact his CPN today because she has had a few days off so I can’t get hold of her until Monday. He has some PRN medication I have given him tonight, hopefully that will see him sleeping through until morning without problem.

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My mum cares for the carer!

Awhile ago I did a Blog called ‘who cares for the carer’ because most of the time I don’t feel like anyone is really bothered about me or how I am, apart from of course, my family. Over the past week I have been so lucky to have my mum stay with us, look after all of us and allow me some time to recover and rest. I have said before and I will say again, I am close to my mum, I am extremely lucky to have an amazing relationship with her, I realise this even more so having seen the relationship Chris has with his own family. I normally speak to her every day by phone as she doesn’t live near us, but 200 miles away, I can spend a good hour chatting and she is always there to listen regardless of her own problems or tasks she needs to get on with.

When I was in labour, she text Chris to tell him she had booked her train ticket for the following day and would be there to help us and look after us all. She was amazing and spent a week with us before needing to go back, she needs to get back to work and I need to try and get back to normality. I couldn’t thank her enough, I am eternally grateful for the love and support they give not only me but Chris and my girls as well. I always say if I make half as good a mum as my own I will be over the moon. She really is my inspiration and although sometimes it seems that no one cares for the carer… my mum sure cares about me!

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Friday 6th July 2012

My gorgeous baby girl Cora was born on the 6th July at 6.04pm at home weighing 7lb 13oz absolutely perfect and looking just like her sisters. My labour was very straight forward and fast, no pain relief and everything was perfect. I slate Oldham for its healthcare all the time but there is one area I cannot fault, I couldn’t speak more highly of and have a lot to thank them for and that’s their Maternity care. I have always been given amazing care from some of the most kind and caring midwives who have done everything to make me feel safe and at ease.

Chris was the most amazing support to me throughout, he was very nervous but he made me feel safe, this is just it though I feel safe with him, I could have had my mum there, my sister, anyone I wished for but they don’t make me feel safe like he does, that’s love. He cut Cora’s cord, just like he has for all of our girls. He did a great job at helping me even though he was overwhelmed himself until my mum came to stay for a week and took over everything, she looked after us all. My mother is one in a million, I have so much to thank her for but I will save that for another blog.

I am fine, lost a little more blood than they would have liked but I am looking after myself. I also ended up rather unwell on Wednesday with a high temperature, lump under my arm, generally feeling rather ill and was prescribed antibiotics because my glands were all up, they are not sure what is causing me to be unwell but I am miles better now. My girls love their new baby sister; they have taken to her so well, I am so proud of all of them and how well they seem to have settled with everything.

I will leave you with a few photos Chris has taken.

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It is ok to cry

The sound of someone being sick is never something I like to hear but this morning while I was sorting the girls out for school, playgroup etc, I heard the familiar noise of Chris being rather violently sick and it brought tears to my eyes. It floods back memories of times he has overdosed and his stomach has just had enough along with the anxiety and worry of things in his life. This morning I could have just cried for him, rubbing his back and telling him he was alright just didn’t seem enough, I poured him some milk to help line his stomach and made sure he was alright.

I don’t like seeing anyone cry, it always gets to me but the one person that affects me the most is seeing Chris cry. This morning however Chris was extremely down and very upset, no surprise after the past few days and I just felt helpless. I held him, rubbed his back, kissed and cuddled him tight but what did I really want to do? Take the pain away from him, stop him from feeling like he did, and stop him hurting. He was feeling suicidal and extremely low. He kept saying sorry to me, why, I don’t know because the last thing he needs to say to me is sorry, he hasn’t anything to be sorry for!

I had been thinking an awful lot of how when Chris really needs people around him they aren’t there, how he always seems to be let down and that pattern seems to be the one his life has followed that was until he met me. I have been the only person to consistently be there for him no matter what since the very day we met. We have been together around seven years now and like I have told him many a time I don’t plan on letting him down now, I only wish he always believed me but then that’s where the whole part of the BPD comes into play. Here hoping he is feeling a little better about everything soon but until then he’s always got me.


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Selfish? Maybe, who knows

I haven’t blogged for awhile because I seem to be constantly under immense pressure from someone/something etc. I thought however I should update what has been going on lately. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am pulling myself apart about feeling selfish and guilty but at the same time wondering why anyone has put me in the situation I currently find myself in.

It started almost a week ago when my father in law started telling my partner saying he was depressed, etc. He ended up staying a few nights and his GP put him on anti depressants etc and basically he had to find ways to manage and overcome his feelings. To cut a long story short I was due on Thursday 28th June and was getting increasingly worried I would go into labour with him here which is a problem for me, a very private person with things like that baring in mind I am having the baby at home, a planned homebirth. Yet I didn’t feel able to say no, neither did I feel if I went into labour at 3am I would be able to send him home alone to no one. Cue me pulling myself apart over it and getting rather stressed out.

Friday he went home and I was pleased to get back to a bit of normality and be able to relax that if I did go into labour it would no longer be a problem. That was until Saturday when Chris said he was worried about him again and he was going to take him to A&E because he was agitated, now baring in mind I live and care for Chris I have seen all kinds of agitation in all severities and didn’t think it warranted quite a reaction, also because its rare they actually do anything when you do go… not like I haven’t been there, done that, got the t shirt 1000 times over. So off his dad goes to a&e, hours later, I get told he is going to be staying at ours, the crisis team would visit Sunday (today) and that was that.

Now this is where I am so cross, upset, guilty, selfish, I don’t know. I am still pulling myself into bits over it. The cause a crisis team is exactly that to me, I am worried this will all trigger Chris, now also bear in mind I keep all this pretty far away from our girls when its Chris involved, now its Grandad too, they need protecting from this. I am 3days overdue not that it feels like anyone actually remembers this and for once I just wanted the birth etc to be ok because the last two years of life sure as hell haven’t gone great. Who cares for the carer though? No one is the answer. It is now not just me looking after Chris and my girls, it’s now Chris, my girls and his dad with all his problems. As much as I do feel guilty and selfish I can feel myself running into the ground, I am now having to pack a hospital bag and consider going into hosp, everything feels like it’s been turned upside down.

I am not talking about someone who doesn’t have anyone else, he has siblings, other children, his mum is still alive, but he has put all this onto a very fragile Chris right at one of the most crucial, testing and life changing points in his life and selfishly at the moment I just want to say why are you putting all this on us now. I don’t know what the answer is, I am worried about having the baby, I don’t even know what I can do to change anything or even make myself feel any better. I just wish no one had put me in this position in the first place…


(I am hoping this made sense, I also hope it doesnt sound as bad as I feel over the whole thing)