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

No no, not again, not again Chris!

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Today just feels hard, the past couple have caught up with me and I am starting to feel drained. I cannot help thinking that as a family we would normally be gearing up for going to see the lights turned on in town tonight and the fantastic firework display they put on. We go every year, taking the girls, it is what kick starts the Christmas period for us. Tonight the reality is I will be going to see Chris on a general ward after he made an attempt on his life on Friday night and is now recovering from an overdose.

I have been living on adrenalin for the past couple of days, not a lot has had time to sink in, until I have had chance to get back into the normal housework and even sit down for awhile and think. I keep hoping it will get easier, I keep wishing that I will wake up one day and things will be different but every time I see a ray of hope it flickers away and we are left with the only option of sending Chris to a specialist hospital.

Friday night was pretty awful, I had gone out with Chris, he hadn’t seemed too bad, I had the same sick feeling in my stomach from the previous nights outing but presumed that it was from me just feeling more cautious and getting used to taking him out again. We had walked to the shop where Chris bought a drink. As we headed back towards the hospital grounds he ran, I tried to keep up with him, reaching the end of the road I looked hurriedly both ways but he was nowhere to be seen, nowhere at all, where had he gone? I felt sick, angry, confused, as I rushed towards the hospital I felt every emotion possible to the point I didn’t really know how I felt, why had he done this again? My head was spinning ‘No no, not again, not again Chris!’

I got into the lift, the doors seemed to take forever to open and when it finally did and I got in I was left staring into the shiny silver walls wondering how I was meant to walk onto the ward now and tell them. I was shaking as I pressed the bell to be let in, I waited and waited and then loads of patients arrived to be let out. I went in, both nursing assistants looked at me, both wondering where Chris was, I didn’t want to say anything until the other patients were out of earshot but they had already guessed. I confirmed their fears and followed them to the nursing office where I stood outside and waited. I heard my name called from halfway down the corridor, I looked around and a nurse’s head popped out from the treatment room ‘Sarah, is Chris there?’ I took one look at him and gently shook my head; he just knew what I meant. I walked over to explain what had just happened.

The next ten minutes were pretty awful, for the first time ever I felt almost like nurses were just going through the process once again rather than treating it as important as the first time he ran off. Every time this happens I get the same feeling, it never feels any easier, it never gets any less worrying it is awful. After they had asked of places that he might go, told they would contact me when they knew anything and told me that the handover from the early shift was that ‘Chris was having a good day’ I was seen off the ward.

Walking back through the doors I felt like I was going to collapse, my hands were clammy and my head was fuzzy, I got into the left and leant against the wall I was previously staring into. The lift stopped and I walked out, once I was out of the building the cold air hit my face and tears fell down my face, I couldn’t stop them. Where did I go? What did I do? I felt alone; all I wanted was to hold Chris, where was he? Would I see him again? As I walked towards the opposite end of the hospital wondering what to do, my head spinning with questions I had never felt so lost before, lost and very alone.

I turned to the only thing I had at the time, Twitter. I knew someone would answer me, someone would be listening and indeed they were, more or less straight away came a text from my dear friend @femaleptsd who offered to come and take me home, sit with me, look for Chris anything I needed. She was a star, I sat myself on the bench outside the hospital, it was dark and cold, she said she would be with me in about twenty minutes and suggested I find somewhere warmer to wait. I did as she suggested, no longer feeling so lost and alone I plonked myself down on a bench inside the main entrance to the hospital. My phone started ringing ‘unknown number’ was on the screen, I answered it right away. ‘Hello is that Sarah? It is the Police, is Christopher with you?’ I answered no and explained that he had run from me whilst in the back of my head I was thinking what an amazing job someone did at giving them the right information in the first place or him in interpreting the information correctly. He said to keep them updated and hung up. How was I to keep them updated? I didn’t have a log number, nor had a clue what the ward was doing or had done about it all.

I was relieved as @femaleptsd pulled up outside the hospital, I got in next to her and she threw her arms around me, I needed that, I can’t express how grateful I am to her for coming and just being with me. We drove around for awhile looking for him; he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Then when we had just about given up my phone rang, it was Chris dad, letting me know Chris had turned up at our house. I asked if he was ok and he said yes, well no he’s taken an overdose, I told his dad I would ring the ward and I would get home right away. I rang the ward, a nurse answered and I said he was at home, he had overdosed and I didn’t know what or how much he had taken and I was on my way to him now. He said he would send an ambulance right away.

@femaleptsd drove me home, I thanked her so much for looking after me, for helping me and told her I would keep her updated, she even offered to take Chris back to the hospital but with an ambulance already on its way it wouldn’t be needed. An amazing lady, so thanks again if you are reading this!

I walked in through the front door, it was so strange to see him in our house after so long, I gave him the biggest hug and kiss, and he looked unwell, quite drowsy. The phone rang, it was the ward, they had rang 999 for an ambulance and told me to expect it there anytime, as it was being dispatched as he was on the phone to control. He told me to ring when I got to A&E to update them on the situation. Once I was off my mobile the house phone rang again, I answered ‘Hello is that Sarah? It is the Police; I hear Chris is at home?’ I confirmed he was and that I was with him. I told them he had overdosed and was waiting on an ambulance that the ward had sent out and that he was willing to go with them. He replied with ‘Right ok, I will let you go.’ No sooner had I got off the phone I could see blue lights bouncing off everything outside… The ambulance was here.

Continued here.


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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