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


Worst ward round… ever.

I don’t know where to start really, my head is a jibbering whirlwind of mess that has been building up for quite an amount of time with nowhere to go other than round and round. I don’t even know where to begin and more importantly don’t know when it is ever going to end. I haven’t blogged in quite some time, being ill, the children being unwell, Chris in and out of general wards, his care (not that you can sometimes call it that) and just so many other things. Today though something happened and when I don’t feel like I can explain things to someone, when my head is in a bit of a muddle, I thought I would turn here, to my computer screen with my white little piece of Microsoft Word paper, my keyboard, mouse and most important of all my blog.

I wouldn’t say I am an emotional person, don’t get me wrong, I cry when something awful happens or someone passes away, I cry with good news, a moving piece of music that’s played or seeing how much Chris suffers.. Ok maybe a bit emotional then, or maybe just caring. It is just something that is in me, it comes naturally without any force at all, so naturally that I don’t really realise what I do until it is pointed out.

I arrived on the psych ward today half an hour early for Chris ward round, this was after what might as well have been a military operation of childcare organising and to be honest it is all about the time keeping, mess it up and you’re in a muddle from there on in. As always the ward round had been made to suit every single person in the room except me, you know that person who lives in Chris house and doesn’t do much… That’s me! Anyway today’s time was particularly horrendous because it didn’t just land over one school run but the two I do at lunchtime… thanks to a friend I managed to wangle it so that all children were being picked up, cared for and most importantly, happy.

Once let in through both the doors, signed the book, pushed my way through various doors and acknowledged the staff members who had bothered to say hello to me I found Chris room, knocked and walked in. Sat on his bed, in a little room with nothing more than a place for clothes, a desk, draws and a shower room was Chris, this had been his ‘home’ now for almost fifteen weeks. I gave him a hug and waited until we were called through.

To my surprise I was called through on my own, this tends to usually only happen if I had requested it, if there was something they needed to know but I didn’t want to be so blunt in front of Chris for example. I walked in, to be met with quite a few pairs of eyes from various professionals and found myself a seat, I promptly sat down. The psychiatrist started saying that they didn’t have any evidence of what I was describing of Chris, just like the fact they don’t believe he has migraines or the fact he was ever being sick… or perhaps anything to do with Chris at all.  He went on to say they had looked back at his admission history and that is when these words came out of his mouth…

‘Up until 2005 Chris had, had two hospital admissions, then he met you and has since been in hospital more than six times’ I was shocked but instead of taking offence straight away I let him continue… to be met with more sentences about how we have four children and how I must be stressed and other ‘health professionals’ have said that this is having a negative effect on me…

I had heard enough, I opened my mouth and managed to get out a very tearful ‘are you trying to say this is somehow my fault?’ I was met by an echoing ‘no no no’ from around the room. I held my hand out in front of me before I had to listen to anymore and said ‘sorry I need a moment’ I got up to my feet, could hear everyone talking as I left the room, I was shaking, I felt sick, and was just so shocked. Outside the room, waiting, was Chris and his advocate, they could see there was something wrong with me and I asked Chris just to let me into his room, I could barely stand up.

I felt like no matter how hard I tried to stop the tears that every time I spoke they just came out again, that what he had said no one should have to listen to. Even worse that something that I told Chris that had happened to me actually contributed to his flash backs starting up so bad again at the time. Should I feel guilty? No, I never intended to cause him hurt or upset, I had no idea, and instead of exploring loads of causes it just felt like well before he was with you he was fine and now he is terrible, must be me then. This psychiatrist hadn’t even seemed to have looked at his general admissions either to see how many overdoses he had actually taken and attended hospital for even before he knew me! Here was me thinking they couldn’t possibly blame me for anything else….

Once I had returned to the room and they had back tracked over most of what was said, this psychiatrist unable to look me in the eye what so ever, the ward round finished and I was so pleased to get out of there. I was stressed, hot, exhausted, my head was now banging and I was trying to do everything I possibly could to hold back the tears.