New Here From Sunny Sussex

Hi everyone

I have no idea what took me so long to find this forum.

I moved to Eastbourne nearly 5 years ago to move in with my partner, leaving family and friends behind in Gosport Hampshire.

I’m hoping I can be helpful while I am here because I have learned so much from being a carer for someone who has physical and mental difficulties (COPD and PTSD)

I’ve just sent a form off to request a carers’ assessment so this is my latest step along my journey.

I hope you are all enjoying life and finding fun

Hi Patricia and welcome aboard.

I have a friend who lives in Gosport. A long time now, since we last met up, I’ve never been to Eastbourne.


Hello Molly…I was born in Gosport in 1960 and lived there till I was 53.

My sister, mum and my 2 grown up children still live there.

My sister is a bit of a celebrity there and is known for painting positivity pebbles from her beach house on the coast at Stokes Bay :smiley:

Welcome to the forum Patricia
I wish I could say I am having fun. I do, with my grandchildren, when I meet a couple of friends etc. Deep down though, I miss my hubby dreadfully. Before he had his strokes, dementia set in, and now in a nursing home, he used to ask me if I had enjoyed myself, or we would have good times together. Work through difficult times. He wouldn’t want me to stop doing good stuff.
Hope you have some good times for yourself too

Hi, and welcome.

Can I take a punt and say that I suspect that of the two problems your partner has - COPD and PTSD - it is the latter that is the ‘most difficult’ for you (and for him??)

I say this because time and time again on this forum it seems that caring for partners (or children) with mental illness is considerably more ‘difficult’ than if they ‘only’ had a physical debility/illness.

The reason is simply that with a physical illness you still have ‘the person’ with you - and they can be ‘on-side’ with you. But with mental illness they are ‘someone else’ and you so often do NOT have them ‘on-side’ - indeed, their ‘opposition’ to your attemtps to help them can be the most difficult thing to cope with at all.

I would most definitely suggest you read through the posts on the Mental Health section at the end of the index on the forum, as there will be a lot of cumulative advise and experience…

One of the THE most important thing - possibly even the absolute priority! - when it comes to caring for someone with mental illness is to understand the HUGE difference between ‘supporting’ them…and only ‘enabling’ them.

The difference is crucial. WHen you are supporting someone the focus is ALWAYS on ‘moving them forward’, helping them ‘get to a better place mentally’, on ‘healing’ them in effect. But when you only ‘enable’ them, then all you are doing is allowing them to ‘stay where they are’. You are supplying their need for ‘someone to look after me so I don’t have to make an effort to improve my mental situation’…you are like a wheelchair that ‘keeps them crippled’…

Sadly, mental illness almost acts, sometimes, as if it were a ‘malign’ version of the patient’s personality - it will ‘fight’ any attempt to help the person ‘get better’. It’s as if the patient simply wants to ‘wallow’ in their own misery, and be helpless and hopeless. You are there soley, in their eyes, to ‘look after them’.

Also, do be aware that those with mental illness can - thanks to the malign impact of their illness - be INCREDIBLY ‘ruthless’ with other people. It’s that their own unhappiness and misery ‘fills the room’ and makes them incapable (or unwilling???) to realise that anyone else has any problems, or even that looking after them is ‘burdensome’ (and yes, caring IS essentially burdensome - as we ALL wish that whoever we care for, for whatever reason they need care, DIDN’T need care in the first place!). Again, the carer of those with MH does need to be careful they are not ‘taken for granted’ and ‘used up’ by their caree.

I do hope, obviously, this is either not so with your partner, or he is aware of the problems HE can create for YOU.

There is a need for compassion, yes - but not ‘endlessly so’. YOU too, have ‘rights’ in life, and you were NOT ‘put into the world soely to look after others’. Whatever you partner CAN do (both mentally and physically), he MUST do - for your sake. (and for his own self-esteem). His attitude ‘makes all the difference’!

Finally, do you have any idea what caused his PTSD, and, even more importantly, is he having treatment for it?? (Not always easy to access on the NHS alas!!!)

PS - you say you’ve left family and friends behind. But I hope you are making NEW friends as well! (And not just ‘online’ ones like us!)

Hi Jenny

Thanks for your very thoughtful reply. Apologies for the late reply. My husband (Billy) likes to be nosy when I am on-line because he thinks when I am typing that I am on Facebook where we share a lot of the same kind of posts and views so I wanted to reply when he wasn’t reading over my shoulder. I never have an issue with him being around but I see this as one of my personal spaces if you see what I mean.

You have actually got my situation a bit upside down as I find watching Billy struggling to breathe, way more difficult than the PTSD, I have worked in the mental health sector as a mentor for people with mental health issues on team building courses and was previously caring for my son who has depression and ADHD so came to my current situation with some very useful coping skills,

Billy has Combat Stress due to his time in the armed forces. He has had help through his continued friendship with other veterans and that has helped him a lot. I have been helped through my mindfulness practice and the mindfulness courses I pursue on-line ongoingly.

You asked about my friendships.Mine are all on-line…old school friends and work colleagues and my family back in Hampshire. I haven’y got any inclination to go out and make new friends as Billy is about all the time and I am housebound as a result. I’m pretty anti-social anyway so making friends isn’t on my list of things that I am planning any time soon.

Hi Patricia, can I suggest that you protect your anonymity?

Never a good idea to say exactly where you live, maybe just say Sussex rather than Eastbourne (I always say I’m in the New Forest rather than exactly where I live on the open forum). Also, don’t use your real names,

Although our carees seldom like it, make sure that you get some outside help so that you can go out without worrying. Ask Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for your husband, and a Carers Assessment for yourself. His COPD sounds fairly advanced, presumably it affects his mobility? Does he use a mobility scooter, need oxygen?

Hi bowlingbun

I’m very much a stop at home type person and the only places I go are for my consultant appointments and for echocardiograms once in a while. Billy comes with me for appointments (Billy on his mobility chopper and me by taxi)

Thanks for the advice about protecting myself. I’ll go back and change my profile.

The COPD is advanced but that’s not an issue with me as I knew Billy had this when we got together and read up on what to expect.

We have both had an assessment and nothing really came of it for me because I don’t want another carer here. I’ll be needing care myself in time as I have heart failure and would need some kind of supported housing at some point.

Glad you are up to scratch on coping with mental illness! Sometimes alarm bells ring when I hear about someone who has ‘taken on’ someone with MH, and, also, moved far away from existing friends and family, as all too often the MH person has been ‘seeking a carer’ and now latches on, and then promptly ‘collapses’, relieved to have found ‘someone to look after me for the rest of my life’…it can be a form of not ‘coercive’ control but ‘compassion-exploiting control’ (ie, they ‘use’ your compassion for them to their own benefit)


But, hopefully, you are aware of the potential dangers of falling into such an emotionally unhealthy assymetric relationship, which is good.

Also, that the PTSD has a ‘distinct cause’ and doesn’t seem to be part of his inherent mental make up, is good too.

Speaking of which, great that he is already involved in vets associations. Just to say that (and I can find this out for you if you want) my nephew by marriage also has Combat Stress, and recently got PTSD counselling via one of the vet support groups, which really helped him. Even better, he got involved in various vet ‘activity associations’, one of which seems to involve taking vets to race tracks and letting them race around in fast cars (!!!)I(they seem to enjoy that!!!). There are also social functions as well, including for partners, and because they are all both vets and PTSD survivors, there is good communication and commonality, so your husband might feel more ‘at home’ there however anti-social he is. And of course YOU would be socialising with other vet-wives etc who all understand the difficulties and specific issues you face etc etc.

Hi again Jenny

There is a local get together for vets close to our home.

It’s a breakfast club that meets up at our local Toby Inn.

Although wives and partners are invited I can see how much Billy benefits from squaddie chats and I benefit from having a couple of hours of ‘me time’ at home.

I catch up on studying and chat to other people who practice mindfulness through the courses we have worked through. I also get some extra meditation in and switch the TV off and go to Youtube so I can have chilling out music in the background.

I really have no desire to meet up with veterans’ wives as Billy’s PTSD belongs to him and I use my time to deal with my own stuff.

Sounds like you are all sorted!

So if it’s just ‘chat’ you want from this forum, best go to Roll Call, where the chat is.

These sections are really for the ‘problem solving’ posts, and since you have no problems (!) needing any help or support with from any forum members, best to head off to Roll Call and the social areas.

All the best!

Hi Jenny

I didn’t come here for chat as I already have forums I go to for that.

I came here because I am all sorted and am here to offer support.

Just waiting for the opportunity

Then I’m sure you’ll spot some poor lost souls in need of help when they first arrive here!

Keep a look out for them. New lost souls arrive all the time. Those already here are pretty much sorted, like yourself.