Hello, everyone. I hope you’re all feeling supported and cared for, especially at this time of year.
I’m new to this forum. I’ve slowly realised that I may be a carer for my lovely husband. Because I’m not a ‘carer’ in the same sense that many of you are caring for people who are highly vulnerable or incapacitated, I hadn’t considered myself as a carer, even though for the last 12 years or so, I have been the main responsible adult in my home because of my husband’s mental health… It’s only now that his mental health has deteriorated, I’m realising there are many similarities to my life when I was caring for my father when he had Alzheimer’s years ago.
My main concern is, of course, looking after my husband. But I’m also not coping well. I’ve been dreading Christmas, and now that it’s here, I can only think of how I will get through it without breaking down or worse, snapping at him. We have no children, thankfully.
He has severe PTSD, OCD, and depression. He mainly stays awake all night watching television and doing drugs, then sleeps most of the day. He works full time, but has a job where he can work from home a lot, so he can mask his issues. He performs very well at work, and can function just fine when he has to. But at home, in this safe space, he falls apart. Naturally, he’s physically ill often as well. He’s high-functioning mentally ill, and yes, we have tried again and again to get him help. We will have to go private as the NHS is utterly useless. He has self-harmed and recently asked me for permission to kill himself. Then the next day he said he was fine and the day before felt like a dream. This is the cycle. He has panic attacks until he passes out. I’ve recently had to give him CPR as he stopped breathing. Then he doesn’t remember and repeats the pattern.
He is trying in his own way, but that’s the cruelty of mental illness: he can only do so much by himself. I’m not a professional carer and I’m lost. I’m trying to help by doing everything in the house and loving him and making him feel safe. But I also work full time, and am tired of being scared to leave the house in case I come home and he’s on drugs, having a panic attack, passed out, or having cut himself. As I said, we have tried to get him help, but even after I gave him CPR, A&E did nothing. NOTHING.
I guess I don’t know what the point of my post is. This is where I am. We have had to move repeatedly around the UK in the last decade to chase jobs and keep employed. So whilst we have lots of friends, they’re scattered. We have no close local network. My family are overseas or dead. His family is overseas. I have spoken to Samaritans, CALM, and Maytree House. Samaritans and CALM volunteers were lovely, but only offered platitudes about what a ‘great job’ I’m doing. Maytree House can’t speak with him until he’s eight weeks clean from drugs. So here we are.
I guess I just want to poke my head above the parapet and say hello, and introduce myself, and if anyone has ideas, I’d be grateful. I hope I can be of use to those of you on the forum as well.