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

How is Chris? Does anyone actually know?


As I sit here, the girls at school and Cora fast asleep, I find myself mulling everything over. It is far from helpful. Recently I have not blogged as much, not because there isn’t anything to say but because I feel like all I can do at the moment is moan. I am even getting a little bit fed up of hearing it in my own head! The thing is, when I set out blogging, telling our story, I wanted it to be real but that comes with the sad fact, that at the moment the reality means there is a lot of sadness and upset and I do moan a lot because our situation is so truly difficult.

Chris has been given escorted leave with me and staff are giving the impression that his risk has lowered, normally I am happy, see it as a good sign so why not this time? Why can I not see it like he is getting better? Is it because the only thing I can see that has changed is him not having gone AWOL in awhile? Has anything else actually changed? Do staff even talk to Chris enough to know how he is thinking and feeling? Many questions with too few answers. All I know is in the whole time I was out with him last night I felt sick, it didn’t sit right with me but I feel I can’t just keep saying ‘no, sorry I don’t feel happy with it’ when staff seem to keep making me feel like he is lower risk.

At the moment I dread visiting the ward, not because I do not want to see Chris but because things still feel awkward with the Nurse that upset me a few weeks ago, secondly everyone seems to talk about Chris like he is ok (so where am I looking) and I come away confused and possibly more upset. If he is as ok as some people would have me think then why are we still going down the road of sending Chris to a unit/rehab/secure hospital? I feel like on the one hand he is too ill to come home and have therapy but on the other he’s ‘doing so much better’ ‘his risk is lower’ ‘he doesn’t need as much support’ so what, how is Chris? Who spoke to him last and what did he say? Has anyone spoken to him? Do you use his traffic light cards anymore (that is a whole different blog post)?

It would seem at the moment communication is pretty dire between everyone, I feel almost like that is my fault because I stepped back to protect myself… mistake? Maybe so.


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.

9 thoughts on “How is Chris? Does anyone actually know?

  1. I’m glad you’ve written this update and it doesn’t come across as moaning, it comes across as real ! Given the situation, I think its amazing you can blog at all, especially when its so personal. I think the sytsem is unable to respond to patients needs (in mental health) until a crisis, then when the crisis is “stabilised” they breathe a sigh of relief, and compared to a crisis, underlying needs (eg. therapy) go onto the back burner (again).
    The system & its professionals should be helping Chris, you can’t do it alone, and I think you did the right thing to step back for a little while, so you will be there ongoing.
    Here in Sheffield I had a similar dire situation with a family member and it was only when I started to make a formal complaint that things materialised.
    Do you have a Patients Representative/Advocacy system – someone who could provide some support to actually get some momentum with Chris’ treatment ? (I am new to your blog, so you may have already been down this path !)
    Please blog, when and if it helps you, I feel sure its also helping others. Best Wishes, Victoria

    • I dont find the formal complaint route very helpful, been down that with another part of Chris care and it in the end felt like a waste of time. As for what is happening with Chris, he is still self harming, feeling suicidal, making plans and everything else I have previously mentioned, he just hasn’t gone AWOL for awhile, so while that is a positive it doesnt mean like he is now low risk, in my opinion.
      Yes I decided to stick with blogging no matter how it comes across because I want to tell it as it is and at the moment there is no getting away from how upsetting, tiring and sad this whole situation is.
      Thank you for getting in touch 🙂

  2. I’m glad you’re sticking with blogging 🙂
    I don’t see how anyone could say Chris is low risk, it really is beyond frustrating, and I’m sure you are not alone in your experience of trying to get help and care.
    Sometimes help can come unexpectedly and a corner can be turned, just at the point of giving up (I know this sounds corny ! sorry. But it really can happen) – do everything you can to persevere and keep strong. Look after yourself as much as possible.
    Very best wishes

  3. “I feel almost like that is my fault because I stepped back to protect myself… mistake? Maybe so.” No, Sarah, not a mistake, You *must* look after yourself first, so that your girls and Chris will get your healthy attention. Your judgement has been remarkably spot-on so far. Keep going as you are, and keep blogging when you can, as you are exposing some of the basic weaknesses in the mental care system that few are even aware of.

    On behalf of patients and carers who can’t speak for themselves or are not heeded, thank you.

    • Yes I will be doing, I wanted this to show how things are for us and this is exactly it at the moment. I think I will always feel some guilt or ‘what ifs’ but I wont make myself ill over it as there is nothing I can do to change it now.

  4. Oh, Sarah, reading this saddens me so much. I feel for you, Chris and the girls, so much. It also makes me extremely angry because Chris and I’m sure, the other patients on the ward are getting a really crap deal from those who are meant to be CARING for him. Are they thinking that his risk is lower because he’s telling him that? You know that he desperately doesn’t want to go to the unit, would he be telling them what they want to hear? What about his advocate, are they in a position to speak to staff on his behalf? I have a very poor opinion of psych hospitals and (some) people who work there. I’ve only ever spent a month in one and at that time I was bulimic, depressed and self-harming. In the time I was there I ate no hospital food at all. For the first day and a half they came to me every time a meal was served but I refused to eat. It wasn’t on my ‘safe’ list of foods. I relied on my Mum making me soups mostly and ate lots of fruit which my Parents took in on a daily basis. I was of a normal weight so nobody was concerned about me. Nobody was interested enough to find out why it was so difficult for me to eat.I would never have voluntary asked to speak to anyone there because no-one felt approachable at all. So very sad. I self-harmed daily (my belongings weren’t checked when I went in) which no-one even knew about so I learned from my stay there that, that would be the last pace on Earth I would go to if I needed help. I have actually heard a nurse on a ward say that she “was looking for something to do” because the ward was quiet!!! I was speechless but my friend, who was highly psychotic at the time said, “Well you could sit and chat to your patients like you get paid to” Boy was I proud of her then, the nurse didn’t know where to put herself! How on Earth could you ever be stuck for something to do when you work in a psych ward? Hope you managed to get a wee bit of time for yourself by going to your English and Maths class this week. Is there a creche for Cora while you’re there? Finally I’d like to say that if YOU think that blogging helps YOU then continue doing it. So what if it comes across as you moaning, your followers have the option to stop reading. You’re the one that’s living this on a daily basis and anything that helps you has to be done. I know that I won’t stop reading it.

    Sending love and hugs from Bonnie Scotland.

    • I have no idea if he is actually telling them anything at all or if anyone is actually asking him, I need to blog about the traffic light system he has at some point but have not got round to it. I am not even sure myself why he would be ‘lower risk’ but then I don’t seem to understand their logic all the time. I wish in a way I had said more now, but I must not beat myself up about it.

  5. I can really understand why you may feel you haven’t blogged so much, but I hadn’t noticed. As Victoria commented, it must be very difficult to talk about this when it is so fresh and personal.

    I really do wish you the best and hope Chris gets the best support possible to make a full recovery.

    I hope the centre down the road can help in some way to this.

    Kindest Regards,


  6. Oh, Sarah, I’ve just been on Twitter and have seen what happened last night. I’m so sorry. I’d like to think that you’re out for the count at the moment but the chance of that being true is very unlikely, I would imagine. Please know that you’re all in my thoughts.


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