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

‘How do you do it?’


I am often asked ‘how do you do it?’ ‘How do you cope with everything?’  And the honest answer to that question is, I don’t know, I just have too with not a lot of choice. The thing is I just have to keep going regardless because without me I am not sure what would happen. That in itself is pretty hard, living knowing I can’t just break down. I am not going to lie though, over a year ago now when things were dire I went to see my doctor, the one who is currently on Maternity leave, I kept my issues with her and Chris issues with the other doctor, just so I was treated for ME. Anyway I remember telling her how low I was and how I felt stuck, how I couldn’t bear the thought of living like this, waking up every day to what I had to deal with but I couldn’t bear the thought that if I took the only way out I would leave my children without their mother. It was an awful feeling, I felt trapped, like I didn’t have a way out.

Anyway I battled through it with a lot of hard work and belief that things would have to get better. I don’t often go to church, I do have a faith, I believe in God and when things are bad I pray that someone or something will help me through. In time things did get more bearable, and the trapped feeling disappeared.

I had counselling earlier in the year, at first I didn’t know if it was going to be of any help but it was amazing, because by voicing aloud my feels I was able to recognise I have naturally got coping mechanisms I didn’t realise I had.  The thing about that meant I realised that for one I didn’t get through it because I was ‘lucky’ this time and two that I could apply the same mechanisms and strategies again to help me through the next time.

The stress of professionals that were meant to be helping made everything so much more unbearable, all the time I was thinking we were fighting them, that they were working against me and not with me.  I still feel now that there is a lot of responsibility placed on me to look after him that sometimes gets in the way of us just being a couple, they forget that what they provide for five minutes, half an hour, maybe even an hour, I provide pretty much twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.

Tonight the Crisis team came out, Chris has been very depressed, was feeling suicidal prior to their visit, they came to explaining medication to me and said they were giving me a week’s worth of medication. I trusted that is was why wouldn’t I? Until I checked it once they had gone and realised that they had given me two weeks’ worth, so now I have loads of tablets in the house that I am not comfortable with because he has been known before to get the key to the safe and overdose. It takes away some of the impulsivity but that is about all. He is seeing our GP tomorrow, I shall be handing them to him.

So touching back on the whole how do I cope thing… An amazing mum who will give up her time every evening regardless of what she is doing to listen to me ramble on, the sheer fact I have to manage no matter how hard, the coping skills I have already learnt and most important of all, Love, I love my girls and Chris more than I could explain and more than anything I know they love me.


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.

4 thoughts on “‘How do you do it?’

  1. I can identify with all of this and i really,really appreciate you keeping this carers blog.It has taken the isolation out of my daily slog that is a carers lot.Prayer helps to get me thro and music and marshmallows

  2. You sound like an amazing person. Kia kaha (Maori for ‘be strong’).

  3. You are one amazing strong and inspirational women, I am at a loss for words, the way you cope with day to day life, and then all that comes with it is just incredible, your love shines through, your dedication as a mother, a wife, and as a person is something people out there should take a good hard look at especially when they are whining about how hard they have it. ((hugs)) Angel

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