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


Every night on my way home…

lunamoonI stand and look into the dark, night Sky, the street lights glistening, doctors, nurses and various other staff members coming and going, people of all ages going into accident and emergency and others coming out, with a variety of injuries. There are people making phone calls to relatives:

‘She had a boy, mum and baby doing well… No not weighed him yet but it was just amazing, the best thing I have ever seen, I am so proud of her…’

There are those who come out looking upset, one lady was in tears, I asked if she was ok, she replied yes before someone came by in a car and picked her up. My face is cold and my hands even colder, I am standing against a wall, a wall that makes up the main entrance of the hospital. As I stand there and wait for my taxi home, all sorts of things fill my mind, I have been doing this for over nine weeks now, rarely missing a day, and all I felt today was numb, so sad that nine weeks on and I still almost don’t recognise the person I couldn’t imagine spending my life without.

As I stared into the night sky, becoming less aware of what is around me, I take in the reality that what I thought might have been a small setback is actually quite deterioration in Chris. He rarely spoke to me anymore, the conversation mainly came from me, getting only a few words here and there from him, it was obviously taking everything for him just to concentrate on what I was saying without having to respond as well. His eyes, I can tell so much from looking into his eyes yet every time I do at the moment, it makes me want to cry. I am used to dealing with him mentally unwell but all the physical side of things is really new to me, even more so if the two are combined. I miss him, I miss cuddling up with him in bed, watching tv with him on the sofa, getting his medication out for him, taking him to appointments, I even miss the hours I used to spend getting him up in the morning, I just miss him being here, the company. Even worse, I don’t know when I will get that back again.

My phone started to ring, I was pulled out of my own thoughts, what for a moment was just my own world, my taxi pulled up and I got in, now so well known that I didn’t need to tell them where I was going. After varying questions about why I was there at the hospital, work, visiting and various others while I looked into the dark sky, the taxi pulled up outside my house. After paying my fare and wishing him a good night I closed the door and walked away, one last look into the sky, one last moment of being on my own before I enter my house and prepare to do it all again tomorrow…


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Chris has been getting worse…

I think I am going through one of the hardest times I have ever been through with Chris at the moment. He has continued to get more and more physically unwell, getting to the point where he was getting bad dizzy spells after vomiting. On Saturday evening he collapsed and bashed his head, the lump was huge, and where the door had swung back on his elbow he had a big bruise too. I was very concerned and they said they were putting him on 1:1 obs, so someone would be sat with him all the time, these would be for 48 hours to see what was happening.

After 48 hours he was taken off them, nothing else seemed to be done, he hadn’t been seen by general medics since he hit his head, he nearly fainted a few more times while on 1:1 but yet they had put him back to hourly checks, my logic, I didn’t really understand and I expressed my concern that if he passed out then no one would find him for an hour, I was very bothered about his physical health.

I asked for a ward round and was told it would be in a week’s time, I spoke with his social worker and said that wasn’t good enough and I wanted him seen asap. So yesterday one was set up and to be honest it was the worst one I have ever sat through it was basically

‘You are drinking excessive amounts of fluid to make yourself sick, we don’t know why but probably for attention’

‘You said you “passed out” the other day but we think you did that to yourself’

I explained that I was worried about the amount of drink Chris consumed but he was saying he was thirsty so could we look into a physical cause of his thirst but this was met with ‘but this is too excessive’ I said I didn’t agree he was trying to make himself sick for attention and that fluids weren’t an issue at home, this had deteriorated only in the last week or so, but he wasn’t really willing to listen.

Chris was then put back on 1:1 obs, his fluids are being limited to one drink an hour despite his constant thirst and no investigations into why he is thirsty. Last night when I went to see him he was sick twice (on limited fluids) and blew their theory over forcing fluids in to make himself sick out the water!  (Excuse the pun)

Over the past couple of days various staff on the ward have seen me get upset roughly three times, some have made me feel like I shouldn’t be upset that I should be the strong one for Chris or that they are sorry for upsetting me but actually fail to see why I am upset… How would you feel seeing the person you love being sick day in day out, deteriorating rapidly both mentally and physically to the point you are losing even the tiny bits you recognise of the person, you don’t feel like they are doing anything to help him and if they are they haven’t told you about it, that you have been told they are just seeking attention and are talking to you like your loved one is a set of problems or just a diagnosis and they have lost the person… the person I LOVE AND SEE! I think I have every right to get upset, every right to feel the way I do about this situation. I have not for one minute said that it can’t be psychological, but you cannot say that until EVERYTHING physical has been ruled out and there is one thing I strongly disagree with, that Chris is drinking excessively just to make himself sick.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, I don’t know if I managed to express myself well or not but this is my reality at the moment, a reality that is breaking my heart!