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

Closing down, protecting myself too.


Closing down… mainly to protect myself, not saying anything means not having to deal with it for awhile right? Obviously I would never put Chris at risk through my selfishness but unless by me not saying anything would put him at risk I am going to protect myself for awhile. Something was said last night when I was visiting Chris that really upset me, I went home in tears and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. It made me question everything and instead I had wished I had come home worried about how he was feeling rather than seeking reassurance from staff before I left.

Chris had been having a tough evening but when he started punching walls and threatening to trash his room I convinced him to speak with staff, as always he dragged me along with him, which is fine if it means he will open up more. The member of staff he went to get was one who was on he felt he could talk to, he explained how he was feeling, I added in about him having punched the wall. Nurse asked me when I would be going home so I said I was going to leave before and had put my coat I was wearing on but at the moment I wasn’t really happy on just saying, ‘see you.’ He said he would speak to the doctor and see if he could have PRN and would be down shortly to speak to him.

I waited with Chris awhile while he paced his room, the other nurse came in and gave him PRN, said the first nurse would be down shortly to speak to him. After watching him punching the wall a few more times and trying to calm him down I went to see what was happening before I went home. Walked to the office and asked the nurse who brought down his medication, she said she didn’t know and looked at the other nurse. I just said I was wondering before I went home, basically looking for reassurance and subsequently regretted it when it was met with: ‘You may as well just go home, no amount of pills will make Chris feel any better, you know that, he will feel like this for the foreseeable, I will go and see him soon, I can’t give him anything to stop him feeling like this..’ That is when I switched off, I didn’t want to hear anymore, how was this helpful? I just nodded and walked out, trying my best not to cry as I walked to say goodbye to Chris.

I said my goodbyes to Chris and let him know someone would see him shortly and left, walking back along the corridor past the nurse’s office and asked to be let out, but apparently there was someone on the door. As I turned to walk towards the exit, I heard the nursing assistant ask if I was going home now but I carried on walking before the tears showed through. As I got to the exit a group of female patients said bye to me and one grabbed my arm as if to say ‘it would be ok’ they could see the emotion in my eyes. I stood waiting for the door to be opened and got out of there as quickly as I could without running. As soon as I got to the stairs and there was no one around I burst into tears, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Why did I bother asking? Why didn’t I just go home and not say a thing? It would have been easier to deal with worry than this awful deep feeling of sadness. I changed the route I took so I didn’t have to walk through the hospital sobbing.  I sat myself down on a cold, damp wall and cried and cried, this was the straw that had broken the camel’s back everything I had been holding in for days escaped as I tried to hold it together so I could get myself home.

The most shocking thing about this for me was the nurse that said it, before that I rated this person highly, they had always been helpful and reassuring, what happened last night just seemed so out of the blue, whether it was a bad day for them or what I don’t know but I see them differently now, and that is quite sad.


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.

5 thoughts on “Closing down, protecting myself too.

  1. I feel like I’m just polluting your comments, but I had to respond to this blog.

    When I was in hospital I became totally convinced that the nurses were deliberately planning to thwart my every move to prepare myself for the “outside world”, and I based this feeling on actual events and exchanges. What I now know is that the nurses were dealing with severe understaffing, overcrowding of the unit, and some administrative issues to do with the hospital being transferred to another authority. Their morale was low and responsiveness was highly variable. Whatever eased their duties seemed to be their prime concern. But it wasn’t their fault, and it may be that the nurse you spoke with has been subjected to work-related frustrations that you could not be aware of. In fact you may never find out the whole story. But I think you should try to suspend judgement in this case, and wait to see if there is a more sympathetic reaction the next time. I’m sure Chris’s behaviour must inconvenience the nurses somewhat, as mine did when I was in his shoes. This may just add to the other issues that must be dealt with by the nurses every shift.

    Just my 2p worth.

    • Not at all polluting my comments, It is nice to hear your opinion. I understand completely what you are saying and have reminded myself of this on many occasions but at the same time there was little excuse for talking to me like that. I have since made the person aware of how it made me feel in the hope it doesnt happen again.

  2. Reading this has made me so effing angry, Sarah. So this person thinks it fine to talk to their patients relatives like this? I don’t fckn think so. And they would appreciate it, if some of their family was in Chris’s position and they were spoken to like that? Yeah, right. This has really rankled me coz there’s absolutely no need for it. As if your situation is not bad enough, you have to deal with the ignoramusses who should know better. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! Hope you enjoyed the first day of your Maths and English classes. I wouldn’t imagine that you would need to much help with your English because I’ve been reading your blog for a time now and you write very well.

    Sending love and healing hugs from Bonnie Scotland.

    • I have made sure the person who said it was aware how upset it made me, I still don’t believe it was intentional but at the same time there was no need for it to happen.
      I loved my maths and english course thank you, I shall continue with it until it is complete. It was lovely to be just ‘Sarah’ for the day. x

      • Really pleased that you felt able to let the nurse know how their insensitivity made you feel, Sarah.Well done. Glad you enjoyed the first day of your course. You’re always so busy looking after everyone else so it’s great to hear that you’re doing something for ‘Sarah’. I’ll be following with interest. Hope Chris has had an easier day today, I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit.

        Sending hugs from Bonnie Scotland.

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