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

‘The Home Treatment Team is oversubscribed’

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Things this week haven’t got any better, if anything just continued to get worse. All his social workers, yes still those ‘temporary’ ones could do was tell him he had an appointment to see his psychiatrist on Wednesday like she was going to be able to perform some serious miracles and make everything go away. I managed to get him to his appointment with a lot less sleep than one needs to function somewhat normally and we sat down in the large waiting room in a notoriously hot NHS building. His psychiatrist called him through so I followed with his social worker and sat down in one of the little rooms where they often do depot injections. His psychiatrist talked through all the current problems, his social worker and I filling her in on the bits that Chris would forget about and giving our own opinions. After making my point about his diagnosis and how I thought he had some sort of mood disorder as well I was expecting her to come back with a few different things but not what came next, that shocked me. She actually said, yes I agree and said it sounds likely he has Bipolar, we discussed mood stabilisers for this and it was agreed he would start taking Depakote.

As much as I was pleased we were finally getting somewhere with what is wrong and how to treat it, I was disappointed knowing I was right; she wasn’t able to perform a miracle and that Depakote takes awhile to work so I would be returning home to face the same things as I had been dealing with all week and I was by this point really tired. After leaving the room the psychiatrist was in he went to ask for his depot, his social worker then dropped the bombshell that no one would be seeing him until Monday. My first thoughts were ‘Monday feels a lifetime away’ it really did, was no one taking me seriously, had my letter fallen on deaf ears?

Wednesday night was awful, I was awake all night, Chris kept leaving the house, he was agitated, suicidal, was suffering flashbacks and then coming back, he ended up drinking a bottle of Malibu before falling asleep at 4am, needless to say I was struggling, and I knew that regardless I had to be up at around half past six when the girls woke in the morning to get them all to school.

All week I have been trying to get people to listen to me, all week I have left messages, spoken into one ear of a person for it to float out of the other one, or so it feels to me! All they kept telling me was ‘phone EDT’ or ‘take him to a&e if things change’ which honestly isn’t the best of things like I have pointed out numerous times before. I managed to get hold of someone yesterday who I had been leaving messages for all week and they cut me short to go to a meeting saying ‘it sounds important so I will ring you back later’ Well they never did, and they don’t work Fridays so today I could have just cried while walking back from the doctors, but there was little point, it was so cold the tears would have probably just frozen to my face. Instead I had to hold it together, I was after all pushing the gorgeous little girl along who was looking into my eyes and it is up to me to make sure she is happy, she makes me strong when I could otherwise fall apart.

My health visitor was due to see me this afternoon, and I just went into everything, explained that I had thought about ringing CMHT again but I didn’t feel they were listening and I wasn’t sure how many times I could listen to them find excuses or problems. At least if I didn’t ring I didn’t have to put up with the upset it caused afterwards things for example wouldn’t be any worse. She decided there and then she would ring them and see where on earth we would get, when she finally got through both his social workers were on leave, the manager was also on leave to our astonishment so she asked to speak to the next manager in line. She started explaining everything that was happening, how there was just little to no support, how Chris was getting worse and that again no one was listening. The CPN who had actually only just given Chris his depot injection last week then asked to speak with me. I confirmed everything that had been going on, Chris disappearing, sitting on edges of cliffs, drinking, suffering flashbacks, not sleeping, struggling to keep himself safe and she asked what I think they needed to do. I again said he needed extra support in the form of the Home Treatment Team  but to this she stated that they were ‘over subscribed and were asking the question does this person need to be in hospital’ and ‘how would you feel about that’ for a start I made it clear the fact they were oversubscribed wasn’t my problem and that yes then he would need to be in hospital. She said she would speak to the team and get back to me. My health visitor left promising to phone me later to discuss the outcome.

Basically what happened in the next few hours consisted of the CPN from the CMHT coming out because ‘the HTT wouldn’t accept a referral without me having seen you’ This was far from ideal with me having all the girls home and not wanting them to hear what was going on, so I kept them playing in their bedroom while she was here. She again went through everything again and then she came out with the line ‘This is an ongoing problem for you though isn’t it Chris and do you agree with me that Sarah is just struggling to cope now’ Well I didn’t let him answer before I cut in saying I didn’t agree, that I had written a letter stating every reason why I felt this wasn’t an ongoing problem how Chris was in Crisis, how the flashbacks, severe suicidal thoughts, disappearing, drinking, not sleeping was all new and only happened when Chris gets to Crisis point. How it was obvious no one was listening to me and that I had sat there at the weekend and wondered what had happened with the Chris I know, because at the moment I didn’t recognise him. At this point tears filled my eyes while I battled to hold it together. She apologised and said she didn’t know about this, perhaps this was the junk the HTT had filled her head with? Who knows?

She said she would go back to the office and make the referral but if they accepted it he would ‘be lucky to get a phone call tomorrow and probably wouldn’t be seen until Sunday anyway’ in my eyes this was at least better than nothing and he now waits to hear off them, if he doesn’t then he hasn’t been accepted anyway. Again who knows?

My health visitor gave me a ring to see how things had gone, once I had explained it all and we had both agreed it was far from ideal she said she had done slightly better. She had spoken to our GP who had prescribed Chris some Temazepam to take before bed in the hope he would be able to get some sleep. At least if he got some sleep he would be safe at night time and I would be able to function better during the day because I would get some sleep too. He then booked him in to see Chris on Monday and see what they could help as well; they seemed to put themselves out more than anyone else has so far. I thanked my health visitor for everything she had done and she promised to ring me again when she was back in on Tuesday and see how things went. Weekends come around far too quickly at the moment, what a week!


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 “‘The Home Treatment Team is oversubscribed’

  1. I’m sorry! They seem utterly useless. I’m so glad you’ve got a decent health visitor, who at least sees you need help, and is trying her best and your GP is at least pro-active. I really hope the T works and he is able to sleep a bit and you can get some rest too!

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