Help!

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi,

I have never asked for help before but I am now lost as to what to do and I apologise if I ramble.

My wife has suffered with depression all her adult life (and possibly longer) and the latest bout was triggered by the birth of our second son 8 months ago.

She has threatened suicide a few times but (I hope) never really meant it. She is now saying that she must either leave us all or end it all and I think she means it this time.

We are still waiting for a psych referral as the CBT has not helped at all and I don't know what else I can do.

Our eldest (6) is playing up, probably because he is 6 but also because of her illness and the baby is now going through another difficult sleep phase which means that getting more than 2 hours sleep at a time is nigh on impossible and whilst I do all the childcare at night from when I get home after work until I leave the following morning it still is not enough for her to be able to cope.

My work have been very understanding and allow me to come in late as long as I work my lunch to make up the time, as well as allowing me emergency holidays on the really bad days but they will not allow me to do this for ever and I cannot afford to lose my job.

I don't know what to do anymore.
Should I let her just leave or try and take her to a&e to get her more help?

Our parents are all too old to be of any physical help and also do not live close enough, nor can we afford childcare as my wife's illness prevents her from even looking for a job, let alone actually doing one!

She has successfully driven all of our friends away so I no longer have anyone I can talk to, not that I could talk about this with any of my old friends anyway.

I guess putting all this in writing helps in a way, but I just feel alone and abandoned by the system as I am struggling to find any practical support as a carer other than how I should be supporting my wife.

Sorry for the long rant
Richard, hi - this is just a general 'welcome to the forum' reply, and to offer sympathy to you, rather than any practical information or recommendation as to how to get the help you and your wife and children obviously need. Others here are well versed in the byzantine operations of the NHS/SSD, so hopefully will be here soon to give you some real help in getting the help your wife needs without delays.

In the meantime, just to wish you all the best possible in getting through this very, very difficult time. Post natal depression is now taken very seriously, and it's well understood and accepted that sometimes it can veer into psychosis, which may now be happening to your poor wife (ie, because of her talk of suicide).

Is your wife on any kind of treatment at all, eg anti-depressants of any kind, to help her cope with what is happening to her?

If it's any comfort, from what I understand PND DOES eventually pass, and the 'real person' comes back from out of that black, black pit.

It's obviously a real pity that the grandparents aren't able to help out at all. I know you said she's driven away all her friends, but I'm wondering whether YOU can contact one or two of her closest, and ask if they can help in any practical way, such as having your six year old after school perhaps, or maybe even taking on the tiny one, eg, taking them out for a walk in the buggy, while your wife (and maybe you, too) get some desperately needed sleep.

Having a baby in the house is SO stressful for so, so many of us (ALL? )(Unless one has some kind of 'miracle baby' that dutifully falls asleep at 7 pm and wakes no earlier than 7 am!)(I wish!), and it can be a time of INTENSE difficulty for families - and that's without any complications from PND, let alone extreme PND.

To me, it really highlights how 'unnatural' nuclear families are - in 'undeveloped' societies there is always 'someone around' to literally 'take the baby' and allow the parents to get some sanity back.

Finally, sorry if this is a daft thing to say, but have you already used up whatever the new allowance for paternity leave that the latest regulations afford you? It's great that your workplace is being supportive but, as you say, at some point you have to work to bring the money in.....

Wishing you all the very, very best - kind regards, Jenny


Some PND forums, but you may very well already know all about these.

http://www.postnataldepression.com/forum

http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/advi ... ession-55/

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/antenatal_p ... depression
PND is very difficult, but the most severe is called something like post puerperal psychosis, which may require hospital admission. This happened to my sister in law, she rejected the baby when new born, which then went into care; her eldest came to live with me. My brother was working abroad, and had to return to work after 2 weeks or lose his job. SIL then came out of hospital, arranged to go back home to her parents in Egypt, taking her eldest, but leaving the baby, by now about four months old with me. Finally she came home 4 months later, the baby went to her, and gradually things got back to normal, but it was a VERY difficult time, and ultimately the marriage failed. In later years, both regretted this very much indeed. It is absolutely VITAL that your wife get the care she needs asap - what is the health visitor doing to help?

With regard to work, you are currently a carer, and you have rights under the Equality Act, as you are classed as being "Disabled by Association". The Carers UK helpline will be able to advise you more. If the phone is busy, email them, and they will get back to you.
If I'm understanding correctly that your wife has care of 2 young children while you are at work then I think it imperative that you get urgent help if not through GP then through social services. 'Pysch referral' waiting lists are horrendous and this sounds very urgent.
Suggest also your wife calls Samaritans
Hugs
MrsA
Hi Richard,

I agree with mrsA, it sounds like your wife needs help sooner rather than later. I've had a similar problem with my wife except she has borderline personality disorder aswell so it's a bit more complicated. You said your wife has told you she either needs to leave or needs to end it all, from what I've been taught on my mental health training if there was a real immediate risk of suicide then the person generally doesn't say " let me do this or I'll harm myself" that would generally be considered to be a sort of control measure or a plea for help. So the best thing to do would be to pester her GP to chase up the referral, try and get her to join a local PND group because you'll be amazed how much being able to talk to someone with the same problems helps. Your GP should also have contact details for your local crisis team which either of you can contact day or night and can advise you both on the best course of action depending on the immediate problem. Also if you or your wife believe she is an immediate danger to herself or anyone else then persuade her to present at A+E, if they determine your wife is indeed at risk then they will request a psychiatric liason to do an assessment whilst she is there before either sending her home and writing to her GP or requesting a voluntary admission to the local psychiatric unit for a spell so they can do proper assesments and arrange appropriate treatment for her.

I had to go through all this with my wife back in January and she agreed to a voluntary admission because we both new she was going to get alot worse then in febuary she was put under section 3 of the MHA because she has deteriated so much and still isn't getting much better now.

It is incredibly difficult both emotionally and physically but in the long run it is far better to go do all this and her get better than it is to let it get to far along and having to go through worst case scenario.

Stay strong fella and remember you are doing an amazing job that few people could ever do. Keep us all updated and I hope it all sorts itself out for you.
Thank you all for your kind words and support, sorry this update has taken so long to write, the last 18 months have not been easy!

I managed to get my wife an emergency referral to the mental health team and she has had a number of CBT sessions.

Unfortunately she decided they were making her worse and causing too much hassle to keep going so stopped. I have no idea why the MHT let her as she is clearly no better.

She is still blaming our (now) 7 year old for everything and tells me either he goes or she does! At this time I am in no mood and have no inclination to stop her. I guessed she realised that and stormed off to bed.

I am now not sure where to go as our GP assessed her last week and offered no further help. I know my wife is very good at hiding her feelings from outsiders but life for my sons and me is not good.

We all have to walk on eggshells when she is in the house in case we breathe in the wrong direction or laugh at anything as she see's it all as being aimed at her.

She tells me that our eldest was nothing but rude to her all day which made her shout at him continually for the smallest things, when from what I saw, she was just picking fault for the sake of it and wants to know why he is nice to everyone else except for her. Should I point out that he is just reacting to her nit-picking everything he does.

She seems to think he will be naughty all the time and gets her tellings off in first as an automatic response rather than actually listening to him or seeing what he is doing before she speaks.

It worries me as to how this is affecting him, but he seems very well adjusted and does behave both at school and when he is with other relatives. He does occasionally misbehave but he is only 7 and not perfect, but that is to be expected.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to act as a go between / peacekeeper and am starting to think she needs hospital treatment, but this seems very extreme.

I have tried to get her to look at online forums for help or to try mindfulness courses as there is very little in our area and she refuses to travel far due to not liking to drive and getting travel sick on buses (more excuses?) but tells me she is not in the right head space to look or is too tired. This all seems to me to be an excuse not to try and get better (I hope I am very wrong about that or there is no hope for us as a family).

I am not sure I can take much more of this.
This is only a quick answer after a quick read, but the salient, essential point is that she is emotionally abusing and damaging her son. Please try and record her when she is laying into him. This is intolerable and insupportable.

I think this marriage might be over, and your little boy needs to NOT have this abusive mother in his life, without a lot of change by her, and protection by you.

Please see your GP immediately and report this, report her. Your son MUST have a 'safe happy nurturing and cherishing and NON-ABUSIVE' home to grow up in. You must protect him.