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

They could only make it worse…

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****Some people may find this triggering****

It all started last Friday when Chris had been struggling for days becoming more and more impulsive and suicidal, not sleeping properly, not eating, threatening suicide. He had given his CPN a call and asked to be referred to the crisis team. She decided she would speak to her manager and ring Chris back that afternoon. When she contacted him back they weren’t going to refer him to the crisis team because ‘they wouldn’t accept you at his point’ but agreed that he needed someone to take her place while she was on leave, she then said she would ring Chris on Monday to ‘see how the weekend has gone’ and with that they ended the call.

On Saturday Chris was having an awful day, he couldn’t settle, he was agitated, he wasn’t himself at all, he didn’t seem right but I couldn’t really put my finger on anything directly. That evening he left the house and I wondered where he had gone, I tried not to immediately panic as sometimes he does randomly take himself off for a walk etc. Next minute I get a text from Chris saying he had taken a load of tablets, well I felt sick, and dread and panic shook my body. How was I here and he goodness knows where with tablets poisoning his body. I managed to get hold of him and convinced him to ring an ambulance if he wouldn’t tell me where he was. He did and was taken straight to hospital.

On arrival to hospital Chris was placed in Resus, his speech was slurred, could hardly walk, he was short of breath, very confused and his heart wasn’t working correctly.  I had checked the safe and found a huge chunk of medication missing, more or less all of what he is prescribed had gone, and once again I felt sick, thinking he must have taken around thirty plus tablets. He was moved from Resus up to a medical ward where he was placed onto a cardio telemetry to monitor his heart. All this was happening while I was at home, worried sick and unable to leave my gorgeous girls to be with him, especially as Cora is breastfed. I didn’t sleep for worry, I didn’t know what was happening and I was scared of losing the person I love dearly, the father of my children.

The following morning Chris had an ECG and was told if everything was ok with his heart they would be able to get a psychiatrist to come up and see him. He had the ECG and thank god all was well, the doctor rang for a psychiatrist to come and see him and Chris began the wait. He waited and waited and waited until the evening was in sight, he then asked a nurse about what was happening, they found out the doctor would be up to see him between the hour of four and five.

The psychiatrist arrived and spoke very briefly with Chris about what had happened, how he wanted to die, he hadn’t regretted it and that he still felt suicidal. It was agreed he would refer him to the crisis team and if Chris needed help in the meantime he was to call them. Chris left the hospital to come home and notify me of all that had happened, it turned out he had taken almost fifty tablets. I was pleased to be able to cuddle him, kiss him, I was pleased he was ok, he was alive.

Monday came and he wasn’t great, I was trying to keep him busy, five o’clock came and went and his CPN hadn’t called. He was really struggling so decided to ring and speak to the crisis team about the referral as he hadn’t heard anything. They told him they had spoken to the doctor on the ward and he hadn’t referred him and to contact his CPN in the morning. Chris was now feeling even worse than before, his emotions were building and I was worried. Once I was sure he was asleep i began to cry, and cry, and cry, how could this be happening again? How can this be?

Tuesday morning, I woke up from my half dozing state after one awful night of trying to sleep with all this worry with the raw emotion from the night before. I got the girls to school and playgroup and returned home to make a phone call to the CMHT manager, I needed to do something, I couldn’t just leave it, I was appalled and upset, extremely let down, not only me but they let Chris down too, they had let our family down.  I picked up the phone, dialled the number and waited for the familiar voice of a receptionist to pick up the phone, I requested to speak with the manager and then waited, the annoying hold tone beeping down my ear, my heart beating fast with upset and worry.

I explained what I knew of the conversation between him and CPN on Friday, what was going to happen, and that she had never rang the day before. I then went on to ask if he knew about the events of the weekend, they didn’t have a clue, no one realised, no one had been told and now it was his job to go and find answers to my questions. He was to ring me back as soon as he had any information for me, I hoped he would.

A couple of hours later i received the call back from the manager, he had been able to contact the crisis team who had informed him that the doctor had gone to make the referral but once speaking with colleagues had taken it back and decided against it and then well just forgot to tell anyone, including the most important person, Chris in all this. Not only hadn’t he referred him he had also then not even notified his care coordinator that any of this had even happened over the weekend. To top this off the crisis team then wouldn’t take a referral off the manager because he is a CPN and was basically out ranked by the doctor who had decided it wasn’t necessary. The plan was then to see Chris at home and get up to date information on how he was and if Crisis team was still needed then they would base it on more up to date information. This went ahead and his CPN agreed Crisis team needed to be involved and went back to complete the paperwork for the referral. She put it through and the crisis team accepted.

To be continued…..


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.

One thought on “They could only make it worse…

  1. What I’d like to know, is if the doctor who had made a decision to refer Chris for further treatment/help (ie to the crisis team) had made a simillar decision but for a patient who had cancer/or another medical condition, yet then changed his mind, and “forgot” to tell anyone, including the patient and the patients family, would an almighty stink not be raised? I get the feeling that there is an awful lot of washing of hands of patients with severe mental health problems, and that because BPD is a difficult condition to deal with that they kind of just hoped Chris would “go away”. Maybe am wrong, but that’s the impression I’m getting. Having lived with someone and been their advocate for 2 years, with BPD, I certainly got that feeling with some health care proffesionals.
    Am sorry, I feel for you, I hate that the system seems to keep failing Chris, and you. 😦 I hope the next installment brings better news!

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