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


Three amazing nurses.

I often complain about mental health services, their staff, wards CMHT, home treatment or crisis teams because of all the bad things that have happened and continue to go wrong but I wanted to highlight something that has really helped me over the past couple of days. I wanted to explain what has helped me deal with difficult circumstances recently and how I greatly appreciate the staff that helped make things easier for me as well. Three nurses stood out to me in particular, why? Because they all had the time to make sure I was ok in all of this, for once I didn’t feel forgotten. It has been the opposite, normally my health pros are great and Chris lot forget me but right now Chris lot are great and my lot have forgotten me, because he is in hospital my ‘problem’ has gone, but the reality is far from it.

I knocked on the office door because I was worried about an area of self injury I had seen on Chris, nurse J invited me in I told her my concerns, she was able to reassure all of those, she listened and answered any questions I had, I was able to give her information about Chris that she didn’t realise and she assured me they would do more to hand the information over so all staff were aware. She took the time to make sure I felt ok and told me to come to them anytime because that is what they are there for.

After Chris had done a runner on me the other day while he was on leave nurse E was letting me outside for some fresh air, because I really needed to get a bit of space and pull myself together before I went back in. She could tell that I was worried and asked me if I was ok, which she then declared a stupid question because she could see I wasn’t. She spent awhile talking to me about what had happened while we both try and processed it, she was really understanding. Again before I left to go home that evening she waited until Chris had gone away from the door and re entered the air lock where she could talk to me alone, to make sure I was ok. I must admit, not at all something I am used to but something I really appreciated.

Then yesterday nurse S, who happens to be his named nurse, was walking back from looking after Chris on a general ward, she came across me in the corridor where she stopped and spoke to me, finding out how I was and what I thought of the situation. She stressed that I needed to look after myself as well, I know but it is hard. I explained his social worker was now on three weeks of leave and that was really difficult in itself because what I would normally ring and speak to her about I now didn’t have anyone. Then she surprised me, she was like ring me, ring us, it is what we are there for.. was I hearing right? Did someone actually care that this is hard on me too? Then she expressed that on Sunday when she had seen me in passing on her way home and I told her Chris had run off that she had spent all day at home worrying about Chris, she had rang the ward a couple of times for updates and didn’t rest until she knew he was ok. For the first time ever someone actually made me see how much they care, that even when they are rushed off their feet and don’t come across at all like they have the time to care they clearly do. I am so pleased she shared that with me; it has changed the way I see them and that a lot clearly care despite how they initially come across.

So over the past couple of days despite everything that has happened and how awful things have been, I really felt that someone was making sure I was ok and for the first time ever I didn’t feel forgotten. This gave me a glimpse into really good care, services that actually care. What those nurses said made more of a difference to me than they will realise.