Out of quarantine

He’s finished his seven-day seclusion/exclusion, I’m not entirely sure which it is, but he has his phone back and can now speak to me directly. We had to have a phone conversation via a nurse at the weekend, which was interesting. Funny how utterly mundane your words sound when said by someone else. And lots of ‘Does he mean his running socks or normal socks?’. ‘Do you mean running or normal socks? He said running socks’. It doesn’t get much more mundane than socks…

It’s great to be able to speak to him but unfortunately I now know exactly how he is each day, rather than being blissfully ignorant of his state of mind. His anxiety and low mood have not gone away. This does mean that the therapists and doctors will be able to see him as he is but of course, without the booze to numb the feelings, he’s feeling pretty raw.

I’ve opted out of tonight’s family session, his mother is going instead, and I’m going up tomorrow for his ward review meeting. I need answers about what happens if after all this, it turns out he’s still depressed.

Oh, and isn’t half-term FUN when it rains every day….

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I am inspired to write…

….about the positives of my husband leaving me http://muminthesouth.co.uk/2014/05/10-top-things-about-your-husband-leaving-you. I realise my husband hasn’t left me permanently but here we go, they seem to get more serious as I go on:

The TV all to myself

Not having to cook a proper dinner every night

Not having to step over at least three pairs of shoes on the bedroom floor

Not needing to find phone, keys, train ticket, headphones RIGHT NOW

Allowing the piles of paperwork to build up just a little bit

Knowing that I am going to have to do everything (at least there’s no chance of him doing it at the mo, it takes the crushed hopes part away)

Not worrying about what sort of mood he’s going to be in and how this will impact on my day

Then I saw this http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/emirates-airline-withdraws-job-offer-over-history-of-depression-9421208.html, and felt a little bit less good about my list because mental illness is so common and misunderstood.

I have a confession…

I don’t really like the family therapist. This could be a problem. In the second session, after a lovely dinner with my dear husband (DH) – with me asking what everyone ‘was in for’ – we see the therapist without the patients. It’s to help us understand addiction. It also helps me to realise that I definitely don’t like the therapist. We all have to read out from a handout on how we might feel about our family-member’s addiction and understandably, a few people stumble in a few places, missing out a word AND SHE CORRECTS THEM! Yes really. Their mistakes don’t change the meaning of the words and I am frankly astonished. I then start to get a bit stroppy. By the time she chastises us for laughing about something and ‘getting off the subject’, I’m ready to storm off and slam a door or two.

I do take something useful from the session and that is if my husband starts to drink, it’s not a lack of willpower, it’s a choice he makes. This is actually very helpful. It is unfortunately counter-balanced by the information that patients are expected to attend at least two or three meetings a week once they leave and that ‘after 20 years of sobriety, it might go down to once a week’. Holy crapola, really? Boy, are we going to have a great time when he gets back, three nights a week of sitting in, while he goes off to a meeting.

It is comforting to hear the similar dismay from the lady sitting next to me. The sensible me says to her ‘But it’s our choice to stay in a relationship with them’, while the stroppy teenager is saying to myself, ‘Great, so it’s been all about him and it will continue to be all about him for 20 years’. I limit myself to saying out loud, ‘Well that’ll be just about at retirement time, good news I think’.

And I still can’t shake the feeling that even without a can of lager, his depression and anxiety won’t be going anywhere soon.

Two weeks today

It’s two weeks today since my husband was sectioned. He’s no longer under the section but he is in a psychiatric hospital, and he’s going to be there for another month. Today is the first family therapy session and I confess the prospect is not appealing. In part this is cowardice, I know I’m going to be confronted by a lot of emotions, mine, my husband’s, the other families’ and patients’. I’ve got a lot of emotions going on, some are under control, many are not.

He’s on the addiction programme, mainly because he’s been using alcohol to self-medicate and they won’t deal with the depression until he’s free of alcohol. Which of course he now has been for two weeks. Would I rather be in a room with lots of addicts or lots of people who may have other psychiatric problems? Being with the addicts means me facing up to the fact that the drinking may be entirely to blame for his depression, so in essence he’s been making himself worse.

The family sessions also mean that I get to see him during his seven-day ‘no visitors, no contact’ period. When I get to the hospital I am pleasantly surprised as he seems very well, better than he has done for ages. It transpires he did not have a good day yesterday, it seems the drama lesson did not agree with him…I don’t blame him, it sounds dire. We do have a nice chat and then we have to go for the therapy. We are late, which is quite an achievement as the meeting is just downstairs from his room. The atmosphere is heavy, and as soon as the session starts I start to feel very teary. Hearing patients and family members talk about their feelings around the hospital admissions is very hard and many of us cry. We are last to talk and we both have to say what it means to us to be in, or for our loved one to be in, a treatment programme. I explain that I feel relief that he’s safe and getting help. It’s so very painful to listen to the other families although it’s apparent my husband is a rookie when it comes to this. Some of the these people drink all day long, and can no longer function. None has lost their jobs but you sense it’s a matter of when, not if.

My husband admits to the group that he’s an alcoholic. Maybe I’m still in denial but I don’t see this as being his main problem. To me, the depression is the key, and while I know that he has a very unhealthy relationship with lager, I feel that his depression drives him to self-medicate.

I of course could be wrong, I’ve been wrong about quite a lot of things recently.

I’m drained after the sessions – I will finish this post later. Bet you can’t wait.

Normally I’m quite funny

I was thinking last night that I’m being very serious on this blog. Normally I would consider myself quite funny. Yes, a mechanism possibly, a way of deflecting. But I can normally find something to lighten a situation. Well, now I’ve re-read that and I sound like a perpetual optimist.

So I do like to be funny. But this isn’t a very funny situation really is it? Seeing your husband going through this is the opposite of funny. It’s sad, infuriating, frustrating, painful, stressful, awful.

And breathe….

It gets worse before it gets better – I suspect I will hear that and say that a lot. But it can’t be much worse than the last few days for my husband.  Yesterday he was moved to a different NHS unit and it really has set him back. He was even going to classes in the original unit – something I thought I wouldn’t see. But the new place was so different, busier, darker, more cramped, and more importantly, with more psychotic patients. And I’m not being dramatic. I mean patients with psychosis. What I put down to my husband’s paranoia, transpired to actually be fact. There were fights, not involving him, threats to him personally, people defecating in the corridor….I’m not saying this for dramatic effect. Well, not entirely. But those are facts, and the facts of the mental health system and it breaks my heart that all these people are having to go through such trauma. But it became apparent that he was not going to get better quickly in this place. He rang me, repeatedly, crying, begging me to get him out (he’s no longer under the section) so the decision on whether or not to move him became easy. No contest. He’s coming out and we’re moving him to a private facility.

I realise that we are in a privileged position – he’s being paying in to a policy for years through work and that will possibly mean that the policy in turn will pay out for him. That may not be the case, so we have been able to make alternative, costly plans. Again, I know that this is not an option most people have and I am truly grateful that we have the financial support from his work.

When I got to the private hospital I became even more grateful – it is the place that I feel confident will help him. There is therapy 9-5, five days a week. If this doesn’t help him, I really don’t know what will. That doesn’t really bear thinking about.

PS That feeling of relief turns out to be a little short-lived…go figure. I miss him.