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

The hardest thing I have done


christmas treeThe past few weeks have been the hardest of my life and I was struggling to get from one day to the next, I took the decision for my own sanity that I was going to have to take a big step back. I was literally killing myself trying to support Chris, look after the girls and the house. I actually lost Sarah, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore but all I knew for sure was I was not in the slightest bit happy. On Thursday the 28th November I received a phone call from my mum during the day to say she had come home from work because Grandad had deteriorated and they were travelling up to Manchester to be with him. I knew immediately that things now looked very different and it would only be a matter of time before he slipped away.

That evening I visited Chris, emotionally delicate and worn out, feeling like the whole world was on my shoulders. I planned to tell him that I needed to look after myself at the moment and it didn’t mean I didn’t care any less but I could not keep doing this anymore. He seemed quite accepting of the situation and I explained about my Grandad, that he was slowly slipping away. I walked out of the hospital feeling a sense of relief that I could just look after myself for awhile, I didn’t have to keep visiting a place I couldn’t stand going to anymore.

Sadly the next day I had a phone call at around half past ten in the morning to say my Grandad has peacefully passed away, surrounded by family and I was obviously very upset. The funeral was going to be held the following Friday which I knew was when Chris ward round was booked; I also wanted to tell Chris in person that Grandad had passed away. I went to see Chris that night; I walked across the hospital grounds, a beautiful tree lit up with twinkling lights greeted me. I felt a huge sadness, so upset, so lonely and tired but I knew I needed to do this. I went to Chris room and told him about Grandad, I tried to keep myself together and I explained that I had to look after myself I needed to take care of me now. I was so tired and exhausted, this was taking its toll on me more than ever and I just know we couldn’t continue like this.

Chris named nurse came in and asked to borrow me, I followed her to the office where she asked me what was wrong, I didn’t know what to say and just burst into tears. We talked for awhile and she suggested I go home, I agreed, she told me they would look after Chris and to just get home and look after myself. I went to say goodbye to Chris, I apologised that it had now come to this and even though I had tried to fight the tears they started to fall down my face. I said goodbye and walked away. I left the ward, walking back through the hospital grounds; I stopped to admire the Christmas tree and just cried. I couldn’t keep myself together anymore, but how was I going to get home in this state, I waited awhile and managed to put on a brave face before getting a taxi home.

This as you can imagine has been a horrendous time for me, spending so long giving everything I could to Chris and the girls took its toll and in the end I paid the ultimate price of our relationship. When Chris wasn’t getting any better, the ward couldn’t anymore than they were, still no decision on a unit the only thing left to change was our relationship in the hope they he would almost have to tell them how he was and fight for himself to get well because I wouldn’t always be there to do it for him. The ward was shocked, I bet you are too? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is walk away, but sometimes it is the only option we have left.

I have agreed to continue to see Chris, to remain for now as nearest relative and carer, I didn’t for one moment wake up one morning and decide I didn’t care about him anymore, I just woke up one day and realise I was killing myself. I was going to end up leaving my children without a mum, I had to change something. I did this for Chris as much as for me, he has started opening up more, my visits now are pleasant, he has realised he needs to fight for himself and he wants to get better. He doesn’t want the children to have no father so he wants to fight to get out and be the best Dad he can to them.  While I am devastated that I have lost the person I got together with over eight years ago, I am really hoping that I can keep who has always been my best friend, and for the sake of our children I only hope we can work up from here and make things happier for everyone involved. If you had have told me this months ago I would have laughed at you and not believed it, yet it is possibly the best thing that could have happened.


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.

4 thoughts on “The hardest thing I have done

  1. Your strength never fails to amaze me Sarah and I think judging by his blog there’s a shift in Chris too xxx

  2. I am humbled by both your honesty and strength.

  3. Good on you! About time you stood up for yourself!

  4. You have done the right thing, Sarah. My wife leaving me when I was at the depths of a depression I seemed unable to handle, was the beginning of a turnaround for all of us. I wish you the same kind of success as I eventually achieved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s