One day last week… It had all been a normal day.
Thought I’d leave work early, for once. I’m fortunate that I have a job where can flex my hours at will.
I just about make it to the car when my phone rings. DD school - her friends are concerned about the pages she is following on Instagram (yes, those pages !).
Right. Can deal with that… Start thinking about strategies etc.
Start the car.
Niece texts me - can she come round tonight - she’s having a crisis about her degree dissertation due in 2 weeks.
Not ideal timing, but will do what I can.
Drive home. 30 minutes peace and quiet to think things through.
Pull up in the drive.
Text from wife - she had been offered an immediate “voluntary” admission to the local MH unit.
Ok, so now this is getting too much for one night…
Walk into the house and catch DD (14yo) smoking a joint!!!
It’s taken me a couple of days to get myself back together!
It gets harder each time.
Not really after advice (although any is welcome), just wanted somewhere safe to vent!
Wow, Just enough,
That was definitely quite a day!
The moral of the story … never leave work early again!!
Seriously though, I hope you wife is doing well in the MH unit.
Your daughter has some very good friends for expressing their concerns. Smoking a joint at home, sounds like attention seeking behaviour - if she didn’t want you ( or her Mum,) to know, she’d have smoked it at the park or somewhere else away from home. Does she attend any support for Young Carers? Might be worth finding a local young carers’ group for her; somewhere where she can get support re living with a parent with MH issues.
Phew! I totally get the feeling of it all being too much! Sounds like you have a lot to handle.
Your wife taking a voluntary placement in the MH unit sounds really positive, not only that help is availabel to her but she’s actually taking it! Hope it makes a difference to you all.
I smoked the odd joint when I was a teenager, don’t touch the stuff now, don’t smoke and hardly drink. I have a degree, a post-grad and a professional job. It’s alarming as a parent but not the worst thing a kid could do. I’d see it - as a pp says - as a cry for attention, perhaps connected to those (much more concerning) intagram pages she’s looking at. Essentially she’s self-harming by smoking weed and is doing it in front of you, maybe so you can help her? Scary feelings wanting to self-harm. Sounds like she’s reaching out for her dad.
Can you get a little headspace just for yourself? I know it’s hard, but even a bit of time for you will help you cope with all this better. Hugs x
Thanks for the replies. I have reflected on what both you both said.
You’re right - if she’d wanted a secret joint there are many, many ways she could have done that far more easily. I’m guessing it was an attempt to get her mother to pay attention to her, but she got caught on the hop when I got home early!!!
I will follow up on the young carers group suggestion too, although we live in a very rural location so I’m not too optimistic.
We’ve had a good, calm weekend together and will start sorting issues out next week.
My wife’s “voluntary” admission was one of those offers that you can’t refuse… So she isn’t entirely happy (serious understatement). It was basically either stay voluntarily or we section you.
For me though, and this sounds dreadfully selfish, it is a welcome respite.
I’m in a good place right now, and after the initial jolt I feel well able to deal with things.
Just Enough, its not selfish at all. As you say, use the time as respite, rest and recuperation for you all. Living with someone with MH issues is like being on eggshells all the time, minimum! Enjoy your rest
Just enough I totally get you! When my DH went to Thailand for a fortnight I felt like I was on a lovely relaxing spa break for two weeks! The rest will do you good, don’t feel guilty for making the most of it.
Some time has passed, so an update for anyone interested.
My wife was discharged last Friday and is struggling to make progress, but is at least stable. Which is normal from past experience.
My daughter has responded fantastically well to several weeks of almost undivided attention. Although she hasn’t really opened up to me, she has started talking things through with her older sister. So good progress there.
I’m still doing just enough to get by after a few weeks of respite, but now having to settle back into being a carer. This is the hardest time for me. I don’t want to be carer, and always wonder how many more times I can do this.
That aside, one thing I would like anyone’s experiences on is:
Separating financial affairs - good or bad idea?
Currently my wife has several bank accounts (to which I have no access) but all my money goes into a joint account. Part of me feels that one of her mechanisms to control me is to make sure I have only limited access to money (I am always broke, despite earning a very comfortable salary). But is this just me being paranoid? Is it just me trying to justify setting up an escape route? Are there any other advantages/disadvantages for when we are older and need care?
I always had a joint account, husband was bread winner, I had to stay home to care for disabled son. However, we married in 1972, and things are very different now. In your situation, you need to keep control of your own money. Agree with your wife who pays for what, but if she keeps hers in her accounts, you should keep your own in yours. My brother was cleaned out when his wife was mentally ill, and he never really recovered from the experience.
Everyone needs to protect themselves first, because if you don’t, who will?!
Credit cards are normally (always?) a credit agreement with one person with the other(s) merely allowed to spend on the account without being liable for the debt. The additional cardholders aren’t entitled to information on the account or even to make payments to it. Nationwide, in particular, won’t even recognize powers of attorney in relation to credit cards. If the main account holder becomes suddenly unable to deal with the account it makes life very complicated. Other card issuers are much more reasonable.
As regards joint accounts we went from doing exactly what is suggested above, holding individual accounts at different banks and feeding money into a joint account at a third to having my partner’s accounts moved into joint names as it became clear his health was failing and I might need to be able to access his money too. In practice this is a lot easier to manage than a power of attorney when it comes to expenditure that has inevitably become intertwined over the years. In the immediate aftermath of his brain injury it was a lifeline being able to access his account too. It had the added benefit then of saving us some tax (because I am now the legal owner of half of “his” money), although the tax regime has since changed.
Incidentally the point about different banks is important. If a debt is run up on a joint account the banks will take money from any account in either of the names to pay it off so there is little benefit in having different accounts at the same bank. Similarly a debt on an individual account will be paid from the joint account.
It’s also now useful to ensure utility bills are in joint names as data protection and money laundering rules make life difficult with them too. There are arrangements available to be an appointee if you don’t want to become liable for the bills. It is also useful for having documents available to prove your identity and address for all sorts of things and may impact your credit score.