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

A letter


Dear Chris’ CPN (obviously her name would be here but I am not disclosing that)

Sorry I couldn’t be there today to talk to you in person, we couldn’t get anyone to look after the girls so I have taken them out. As you know we don’t like them hearing conversations regarding Chris’ health because of the topics that could arise.

I don’t really feel at the moment that anyone has the right picture about what is going on with Chris at the moment. This is partly because he struggles to explain how he is doing; he won’t give full answers unless the questions are clear for example if you ask how he is he will answer how he is at that moment in time. If you want how he has been since you last saw him you need to ask for that specifically or he won’t tell you. He also doesn’t have a very good memory and just forgets to mention things that are very relevant. I also haven’t been able to speak up as much as I normally would, I am not sure why, only think that having such a change in support could have caused it. Not only did we lose his social worker, I had a change of health visitor and my GP went on maternity leave as well. Since all this has happened I haven’t spoken up as much as I should have done.

Another problem is that Chris just won’t see people when he is at his worst, hence walking out of the doctors last week. It is rare then that anyone but me sees’s it. Same reason he doesn’t go to a&e when he is really bad or he walks out. As you know he has been very bad of late and has had me very concerned. Starting from last week when I got really worried about just how bad he had become. Rapidly going from happy and like dealing with an excited little child to low, depressed, suicidal, angry and agitated. Making him very unpredictable from one moment to the next. His first overdose he was trying to attempt suicide, the only reason he never succeeded was because I caught him taking the tablets and and took them away but he still had a huge concoction left to take. The following three were all self harm from what he had told me. Having me holding onto the key to the safe only works to an extent, I won’t keep hold of the key if he decides he’s having it back, if he is pushing me for it, I’m not causing myself risk over it, I have the girls to think about too. I also can’t guard it while I am asleep, I do my best but I do have limitations.

‘Go to a&e’ is fine when I don’t have such a young baby, I can’t take her with me at 10 o’clock at night because he is unwell and he won’t take himself, nor is there anyone else to go with him. I don’t think people realise this leaves us with quite a problem and is why he often doesn’t seek help after an overdose. I try and prevent things with Chris, I did warn both his social worker and our GP months back that I saw the same worrying patterns that I have in the past. I still feel we are heading in the wrong direction. The trouble is I don’t always know how best to help him but sometimes it feels like everything is left up to me and right now with four young children as well it is pretty difficult. I feel people forget that I am the person at the end of his anger, frustration, his pain, I pay the consequences of him overspending all the time. I end up trying to keep him safe when he can’t keep himself safe and end up with very little sleep not because of Cora but him. Sometimes I am once again left feeling like there isn’t much more I can do to help him or if there is it will start negatively affecting me. Chris isn’t the only person involved here, it affects our whole family.

I have always maintained the fact that the girls have to come first, they only have us to protect them where as he is an adult. I don’t have much help with them from friends or relatives at the moment which adds to the pressure. Things should be easier when they are at school and playgroup and I don’t have to continuously worry about splitting myself into five.

Chris at the moment finds it really hard to distract himself, he struggles even being out, we tried to go out with his camera but he was overwhelmed, struggled to focus and handed the camera to me instead. His ability to distract himself varies, sleeping at the moment appears to be the only thing that works but then he spends most of his time asleep. Then when his mood is more ‘up’ he can’t sleep or doesn’t sleep very well continuously waking up. He doesn’t feel able to enjoy the company of the girls at all and pushes me away often. He doesn’t want to be close to anyone at the moment.

What more do I think I can do? Well not a lot more than I currently am doing at the moment unless anyone else has any ideas. I am always willing for other people to try and help me in ways to look after him.

What do I think he can do? Try explaining how he has been better so you have more of an idea about how bad things are/have been.

What else could be done? More support when things are awful to take a bit of the pressure off me. It puts a lot of strain on our relationship at times. Out of hours causes the biggest concern, I feel completely hopeless in what I can do. It is all well and good saying how ‘we can help him/we can do this/that/other’ but at the weekends, or in the night it is ME on my own. This weekend is a bank holiday, Chris really struggles with them, always has, maybe I am just more aware because of the choice of getting help out of hours usually consists of hours of waiting in a&e by which time he has normally walked out anyway and taken himself home. Or a&e after overdose consists of him usually remaining in for 12hours obs and then me spending he following day convincing him to say and see someone from psychiatry. I have been there so many times before. Except having a young baby at the moment would prevent me from doing an awful lot because she has to come first.

Right now things are as you can see very tough. I hope you now have a better understanding of how hard things really are at the moment.

Thank you,


I dont plan on showing this to anyone at all but felt it might help some what in expressing how I feel. It has made me feel a little better for getting out anyway.


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.

2 thoughts on “A letter

  1. Please do pass this letter on to all involved in Chris’s care – they need to know & unfortunately the best way to get something done is, in my experience to put it in writing. Your letter shows how caring (& non-critical/non-judgemental) you are & clearly states the main problem you need help with (ie out of hours support). No harm can come from sending this to your GP & Chris’s CPN. It may not make a difference but I hope it will & I think its worth a try. If you really don’t want to, that’s OK too, – you are doing a great job. Keep blogging.
    (have been reading blog for months now & following on twitter so obviously only know you within these domains – but am in awe of all you do.)
    Sue x

  2. I know it’s easy for me to say as a ‘professional’ although I’m sometimes embarrassed by the work I do and the effect it has – but I wish you would send that letter – because it’s clear you aren’t getting the support that you need. It may not be available but I’d want to know what I’m doing badly and what the service I try to provide isn’t offering. I know you talking about the ‘magic wand’ in your other post and sometimes the answers aren’t there but we (who work in this area) can sometimes actively make things worse by lacking empathy and understanding even when there is little to be actively offered.
    I’m sorry it’s so hard for you and that you aren’t getting help. I know that doesn’t help much but i didn’t want to leave it unsaid either.

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