Like being in a soap opera

I am a carer for my husband who has rapid cycling Bipolar.

We have had some really distressing issues to deal with regarding my youngest son who has been showing increasingly worrying symptoms. Possibly also Bipolar. This has also had a terrible effect on my husband and myself.

To cut a long story short, he was a really happy kid until around 13. He is now 23. Over the last 3 years he has been isolating himself. He has had several suicide attempts and threats.

We became seriously concerned when he accused us of bugging his room and telling the neighbors he is a pedophile. He frequently sent us vile texts telling me to tell my “Narcissistic husband to stop breaking into his head and rearranging his thoughts” Apparently I knew my husband had this power. The choice was that my husband had to kill himself or he would have to end his own life. His walls were entirely covered in gibberish, he refused to wash and locked his door.

I insisted he call the STEP team who did see him for 3 months and he went on meds then they withdrew support and he stopped taking meds, which did help a bit.

We struggled on trying to support him, but he became more and more abusive. He asked me to choose between him and my husband and when I refused, he said I wasn’t his Mother any more and that I was a very unpleasant word beginning with C. He also believes he is the reincarnation of John Lennon and that he is spiritually enlightened and better than us.
He kept sending texts to my husband calling him a loser and that he could beat him in a fight. things came to a head when he physically attacked my husband, throwing him against the wall an shaking his fist in his face. Sadly we had to throw him out. I did call his MH team so they could help him get housing etc.

Because he won’t give consent, I am not allowed to know anything about where he is etc. Since then, his MH team call us quite often wanting to know information on him and his childhood as they aren’t clear what his issues are. Including calling us to tell us he has been asking people where he can buy a gun as he wants to kill his dad. Even with my husband’s life in apparent danger, we were still not allowed to know where my son was living and if he was safe. We called the Police who weren’t allowed to be told anything either.

My husband can be quite paranoid as it is, now he Is convinced his life is in danger. I caught him looking at stab vests recently.

He has been trialing a new medication but it is impossible to monitor how effective it is with this going on.

I cry every day because I need to know what’s happening with my son and I am not allowed to be told anything, I’m also furious with the MH team ringing up and casually giving that information to my poor husband who is still in bits that his son wants him dead. The MH team know my husband has Bipolar.

I feel really let down and isolated. I was offered a Carer’s assessment but my husband hasn’t been offered any support. He has a Psychiatrist but we can never get hold of her.
I haven’t felt able to talk to many friends as it all sounds crazy and dramatic. The couple of people I have spoken about it to, haven’t really been very helpful. I suspect they don’t know what to say.

So I’m afraid that you guys have to read about it.


What a horrendous situation.
It’s almost too much to offer advise on as so much is going on.
Your son is clearly very unwell and distressed. However, the impact of his very serious illness on you and your husband cannot continue.
In terms of protecting yourselves and information about your son, I’m wondering if your husband’s mental health worker/ team can liaise with your sons worker/team in order to share information and put plans in place in relation to any escalating behaviour. He should have a care plan in any event. Sharing information between teams is good practice and spreads the responsibility and makes people aware of your circumstances.
Make sure your GP is aware, and that of your son.
You really do need support- contact MIND and similar organisations.
I wish you well.

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Thank you so much for responding. That’s a really good idea to get my husbands team to liaise with my son’s.

My husband hasn’t really met his team yet as he has only recently re engaged with the mental health team. He is due to meet his psychiatrist on 22nd.

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If he has a history of attacking his Dad and is talking about shooting him, I would have thought he’d have been sectioned by now, as it’s fairly clear he intends to carry out the threat if he can. Especially as he told his Dad he could beat him in a fight and then later proved it - at least in his mind. Certainly it’s an issue for the safeguarding team.

I wonder if he’s blaming his Dad for his own mental health issues? Even if he might not consciously be recognising that he’s ill…

Hi Charles,
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? I don’t know what criteria you would need to meet to be sectioned. When his MH team rang to drop that particular bomb on us, they asked if we could move out for a while.

Then they later rang back to say they thought it was low risk, after I’d kicked up a stink for distressing my husband. If it was low risk why call and destabilise my husband for no reason?

To be honest, I don’t even know if he has been as we aren’t allowed to know anything about him as he won’t give consent to share information. It’s the not knowing that is the worst for us. His MH team won’t even tell us if he has got somewhere to live, if he needs money etc.

He flits from being spiritually enlightened and lecturing us on our chakras not being open, then tells my husband he is a loser and could beat him in a fight, then attacks him. I think that shows how conflicted his mind is.

He certainly could be blaming my husband for his own issues. The most hurtful thing is he is telling people he has been emotionally abuse and felt unloved his entire life. We weren’t perfect parents but we did show him a lot of love and support.

Thank you for your support. It’s much appreciated.

Not that it helps, but I’m shaking my head with disbelief here. The fact that they’re telling you to go into hiding at the same time as saying he’s low risk means that they certainly haven’t sectioned him. But if they think he’s low risk, they shouldn’t need to tell you to do anything except maybe change the locks just to be safe. Anything else suggests a greater risk but that they’re trying not to section him or to worry you unduly…and frankly I think a good worry is due. They already know he’s attacked his Dad before, and as he’s blaming him for whatever (real, imagined or distorted by illness doesn’t actually matter at this stage), and has acted out threats before, they should be a bit more proactive than telling you to go into hiding for a few days. And let’s be honest here: most people can’t afford more than a day or two - and they have no idea how long any such threat can be sustained beyond that short limitation.

I think that a best interests meeting with the whole team is best. That way you can get to discuss your current concerns and then make some brief summary notes too. Best of luck. Ask about the different various treatment options and periodically review them from time to time.

Hi Thara,
Thank you for your response, although I’m really confused by your advice.

My sons team will not give me any information as he has refused to share information, so I really don’t think they would agree to a meeting to discuss his treatment with me and I really don’t think they would be open to reviewing them with me either, but thank you for your input anyway.

I know Charles, and thank you for your response. We would like to assume that my son has changed his mind and no longer has murderous thoughts towards his Dad. But we don’t know that for definite and no one will tell us.

Very badly handled.

We will be making a complaint.

My understanding of confidentiality rules is that if applying the rules puts someone in danger, the rules may be set aside. In other words they have a duty to tell you if your son is still making threats.

My concern is not so much if he is making threats - I think he may have learned his lesson about that. But if he still has his mind fixated on harming my husband.

I really wish they hadn’t told us. Because they then refused to give any more detail about him. If they had said he was just spouting off and not to be taken seriously, that would have been better. But to say he had been asking people where he could buy a gun and then refuse to tell us if he was being detained anywhere or receiving medication or in what context they had heard these comments, was unhelpful.

I know they were just covering themselves around “harm to self or other”
It isn’t what I think about it, it’s the effect it’s had on my husband. He is now scared to go outside for a cigarette as he imagines there may be a sniper in the bushes aiming at him. He’s been having nightmares.

It is so distressing for him to know that his son wanted to kill him. He is a really sensitive guy with an over active imagination.

Hopefully his Psychiatrist will be able to give him some guidance about this and get some answers from my son’s MH team.

I would start by making a formal written complaint to the Head of the Mental Health Team, they have completely failed you and your husband.

Your son is clearly very ill, and possibly a danger to himself and others, and needs urgent help.

As his carers, you and your husband should be properly involved in his care too, as he is mentally ill. From what you describe, it’s possibly the team that are keeping information from you without properly talking to your son about his relationship with you?

They don’t seem the least concerned about the threats he’s making, but if my son had been saying the same sort of things to me I would know immediately how ill he was! If he was that ill I would be very frightened, especially as they even suggested you move out until he calmed down.

That is NO solution to anything, in fact it’s now really damaged your husband’s ill health further, and given you something else huge to worry about.

I don’t know much about mental health services, but would think the next step has to be a proper case conference with you, those caring for your son, and someone from Social Services on your side, as his family carer. Has anyone mentioned a “Best Interests Meeting”?

What reasoning have they given for not giving him inpatient treatment?
What professional treatment is he getting in the community? I’d say not enough, and not enough day to day support either!!

Hi Bowling Bun,

Thank you for your valuable insight. Technically we aren’t registered as my son’s carers. We care for my other son with Autism who ives with us. But yes I suppose driving him to A & E in the middle of the night when he took his overdoses, making sure he took meds and keeping hold of it in case he took too many pills etc and all the myriad things we did for him does constitute caring. But I do agree with all you said.

Nobody has mentioned anything to us. They won’t discuss any aspect of his care , would not tell us whether he Was suitably housed, receiving treatment or any little detail. He has not been using his mobile phone I am still paying for so can’t get in contact in any way. His MH team did offer to get me a carer’s assessment. They did contact me and seemed to get very anxious about the word GUN. They then said they would need to get a psychological professional to do my assessment and that they would ring me on a particular day , and then didn’t.

We have always dealt with most things in house. We are quite private and people keep suggesting my husband go to Talkworks. Then Talkworks get freaked out that he has Bipolar and say they can’t help.

I will put forward the idea of a best interests meeting.

I seem to get more support and good advice on here than from any of these so called services.

Thank you all