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

Seeing things, AWOL.. I am drained!

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I think it is fair to say at the moment I am mentally exhausted, not really a surprise there though is it? I am worried most of the time at the moment about the deterioration in Chris and I am not sleeping particularly well or restfully. My evenings are spent visiting him and to have to watch him so distressed takes a lot out of me, worrying is truly exhausting.

On Thursday night I was sat in his room waiting for him to come back from smoke break, he was taking longer than normal but I wasn’t worried because staff are sometimes too busy to keep to the exact time. I sat and waiting getting increasingly bothered by the fact Chris was still not back. A nursing assistant knocked and came in, he was removing the vomit bowl Chris had been sick in, he grabbed the bowl and I asked where Chris was. He said he didn’t know and that he has assumed he was in the toilet, I said he wasn’t then he told me he would be back in two seconds. I felt slightly sick by this point wondering where he had gone. I sat and waited for two more minutes when another nursing assistant came in and asked if I had seen Chris… ‘no, but could you tell me where Chris is because he went down for a smoke’ she said ‘oh, would you like a cup of tea’ No actually I didn’t want a cup of tea, I wanted to know where Chris was, I had had enough of waiting in his room and walked the corridor to the nursing office, there was staff looking everywhere, it was clear they didn’t actually know where Chris was either. Nursing assistant F told me to come into the office and said they were presuming he had gone over the wall at smoke break. I felt sick, I couldn’t stop shaking and as they were still trying to work out what to do I asked to sit down. Before waiting for anyone to reply I sat on the nearest chair I could find, relieved to sit down before I fell down I was trying to stop myself from shaking.

The nurse had told me that the person who had taken everyone down for a smoke hadn’t even realised that Chris was down there and because there was quite a few of them it was hard to keep tabs on everyone. In other words they hadn’t even realised Chris had jumped the wall. I listened to her on the telephone to hospital security and then reporting a missing person to the Police again. I couldn’t believe this was happening again, not to mention she had said ‘this isn’t like Chris is it, has he ever done anything like this before’ clearly either forgotten Sunday or didn’t know about it to begin with.

Chris came back awhile later, he was distressed because he had been seeing the person who abused him as a child everywhere, and he had followed him back to the ward. Once Chris had finished answering questions with the staff we both went back to his room where he was getting more and more distressed, for a good ten fifteen minutes he was telling me that this person was standing in the corner and he wanted me to ask him to go away. There wasn’t anything in the corner, or anywhere else in his room, but it was clear that Chris was seeing something that I could not see and he was scared. I spoke to the staff before I left about what was happening and they agreed to try and get a plan in place with the doctor the following day and tried to encourage me to go home and get a good night sleep. I was exhausted and even more drained than to begin with from all the worry he had caused.

Leaving the airlock the door clicked shut behind me and I began to walk down the stairs to get my taxi home. I got half way down the first set of stairs and saw a nurse who has always been great and Chris gets on well with, I filled him in a bit about what had happened and various other topics of conversation because I hadn’t seen him since Chris last admission at the beginning of the year. I felt better that there was going to be someone good, looking after him and maybe that peace of mind would allow for a slightly better night sleep for me. I made my way home feeling slightly better that at least for tonight he was in very capable hands.


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.

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