Just realising I might be a carer

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.

Hi Yarrow
I’m up late and read your post. You sound like such a caring person, and you’re dealing with a hell of a situation. I just wanted to send some good vibes, luck and courage, and hope the good people on this forum have some useful ideas for you.
Take care

Thank you for posting this, Papicoco. Just knowing I’m not alone is helping. I hope you’re also doing well and feeling supported.

Have YOU had any counselling?


It’s always hard to find out about drugs, have considered a rehab option? I’d recommend this first, just make a call to the nearest addiction center: https://addictionresource.com/addiction-and-rehab-hotlines/

Hi Hailey, you are definitely a carer. I’m sorry your husband isn’t able to get the support he needs and that you are both suffering as a result. A&E sound useless.

I don’t think you should be doing everything around the house. I understand what you are saying about the house being his safe place, but a few routine chores, that don’t need a lot of thought could become part of his routine and ease your workload.

Never knowing what you are coming home to, must be horrible and I have no suggestions for that one, currently. When S was going through puberty and had undiagnosed health issues ( he has autism as well) I never knew how he would arrive home / be when I picked him up. Emotionally exhausting as you have to gear yourself up and be prepared for whatever you find.

Hope you have a peaceful day,