Just to prep you, this is quite a long post and it covers some serious things. It is written from memory from a time where I was fairly sleep deprived so may be a bit vague in places.
A few years ago around Christmas B had an “Angel Reading” done by someone online. She had been reading about it and was interested in what kinds of things it would say she should do with her life. She has always struggled with this and doesn’t have a career or hobbies which she can “get up for”. In the reading it was mentioned amongst other things that she was “intuitive”.
Not long afterwards B started to hear/receive thoughts from what she thought were Angels. Several independent ones were mentioned, some were archangels (Michael etc.) and one was her own personal guardian angel. They would simply give her encouragement/confidence to be able to do things. Therefore, I put it down to either being true, or it simply being her inner voice helping her out. I don’t claim to know how the universe or our existence works or “What it’s all about”. Either way it seemed to be making a positive difference and she was able to take the dog out a few times, go to a neighbours barbecue and a couple of other things which seem small, but to B are really big things.
During this time we were already seeing a counsellor because B’s anxiety was starting to affect my work a bit more and they wanted to help ( The company have a counsellor they call on and give employees a set of 6 sessions for which the company pay). We had continued to have more sessions which we paid for after my initial six. B would not open up to him regarding hearing the Angels and made me swear I would not mention it. We went for quite a lot of sessions, one or two B even went into on her own when I waited in the car. At the time they were simply to try and get B’s anxiety under control so she could cope a bit more.
After several months, B got very upset/distraught and informed me that they had taken away her intuition and would not talk to her any more. She told me they’d stopped talking to her because she had been rude to them and couldn’t control her thoughts. She was very emotional and upset for a couple of days, so I convinced her to go to the GP and get some help for it. She wouldn’t tell them about the Angels, but did accept that she needed some medication. They prescribed some antidepressants which she stayed on for about 3 months as they did make her more stable and less prone to breaking down.
When she thought she was better she had run out of pills and wouldn’t go back to the GP and therefore could not get any more and said she wanted to stop anyway. Shortly afterwards she’d started communicating with the angels again. They would often “tell her off” for judging people, or being rude or selfish. She would suddenly ask me things during the day like “What does conceited mean?”, I learned this was when they’d criticised her in some way and she wanted to know what they meant. She was often saying she wasn’t “nice” and was working on improving. I can’t specifically remember how often this happened or what things were said, but I did say to B that they always seem negative/critical, but she insisted that they said positive things too and were still encouraging her as they had to begin with.
Her wish to communicate with the Angels had also made B attempt to become vegetarian (And almost vegan) a couple of times. This seems to make her feel very ill, I think because she just doesn’t like enough fruit, veg and nuts to compensate for no meat. She has also tried to go to vegetarian and vegan purely because of her wish to not harm animal, however, the end result is still the same.
Over the next few weeks she got very upset/distant/vacant because they were “telling her off” on numerous occasions, but only ever for a very short time, and she’d still be “With me” to talk to her about it.
At the end of August we took X and the dog to B’s mum’s house, She’s got two dogs and last time all three of our dogs were together one of her dogs “Went a bit funny” with barking/growling at ours. Therefore, we were quite nervous that we’d spend the whole time sat separately to keep the dogs apart. As it turns out it was a really really good day, all the dogs behaved really well, X thought it was all brilliant. We all went for a good walk in a local park/common and the dogs a good play and run etc. We got home and B said it was great and we should do it again soon. The next day she was starting to have much more intense conversations in her head and started to become very distant. Sleep wasn’t that good that night, I can’t remember if she ate anything, it would not have been much. X went to my mum’s on the Tuesday as he normal did back then. B had a panic attack and told me she thought she was dying, and was having a stroke so needed to go to A&E. So we got in the car and drive to A&E and they checked her out and there was nothing physically wrong with her, they were really good and even though B said she thought it was just a panic attack she was right to go in in case it was something else. We got home and she was distant/quiet/out of the room for most of the rest of the day. She was telling me she was “Sorting something out”, there was lots of standing/sitting on the kitchen floor and telling me that “They were going”, then “They were staying” and that they were going to give her intuition back to help people, then that she’s be an animal communicator, then that she wouldn’t and that they didn’t think she could cope with them talking to her. At about 11:00 she had another panic attack/collapse during lots of her talking to them out loud. (So I could hear her side of the conversation very clearly). So I rang my mum and dad and my mum came to stay in the house to look after X (Who was sound asleep in his cot.) and then rang for an ambulance as B was insistent. They eventually arrived and we went again to A&E, again they said that physically she was fine, she again refused to mention Angels to them.
We got home about 6am, I rang work to tell them I would not be coming in, and then I got a couple of hours of almost sleep. I got up and drive X to my sisters house, she was due to have him that day anyway. B and I went back to the GP during the day, and she told them about the Angels. They gave us contact information of for the local mental health team, and referred us to them telling us to expect a phone call. That night again we got no sleep again as B was still talking out loud, she’d also not really eaten through all of this. I managed to drift off at one point and B woke me in a panic telling me that they were telling her I was having a heart attack… which to be honest on being woken up to that, I probably nearly did! I rang the mental health number in the middle of the night who said they could come… but it would take them a couple of hours. We decided to hold out until the morning when we were expecting to receive a phone call and an appointment.
In the end I rang at about 10 after getting no phone call. They offered me an appointment in 2 weeks. I was completely flabbergasted to be honest, for a second I thought it was a wind up and they were kidding! I suggested they didn’t quite know how serious I thought this was. We were at 5 days with B having no sleep and almost no food. They finally relented and gave me an appointment later that day. B was keen to go and she knew there was something wrong with her. The time came, and she didn’t want to go, it took quite a bit of persuasion but I finally convinced her to get into the car.
On the ride there B was very scared and she thought Michael (The archangel) was chasing us. I explained that if he was everywhere at once, then why would he need to chase us, but she was way beyond reason at this point. She then thought she was going to hell, and then was in hell and was being punished. I kept going and found my way into the mental health waiting room. B tried to get up and leave at some point, but luckily some other people came in through the door at this point which scared her into sitting back down. We went into the appointment with the psychiatrist. He asked various questions to both B and myself. At one point B said I had to wait outside because they told her I should. For B to want to be alone in a room with a stranger is completely unheard of, but I complied. When I was outside, they had asked her to stand in the corner, which she did so in front of the psychiatrist. So the psychiatrist saw what she was like, and he then continued with his questioning and asked “Have they after asked you to hurt anyone” “No”. “Have they ever asked you to kill yourself?” “No. Oh, they just did then.”. He then wrote me a prescription, told me I was not alone and could ring the mental health crisis number if I needed help, and we left. To say I was very scared and disappointed by this is the understatement of the year! I bloody well was alone at that point, with no clue what to do.
I managed to get B back to the car because I figured, right, plan… get to the chemist to get the prescription. When we reached the car she stood there and punched me in the face. Luckily, her punch was a bit pathetic, so was certainly more of a shock than a real injury. I then started to think, how on earth an I supposed to get a prescription filled with her in this state. I told her we needed to go into the chemist on the way home to get something to help her. She was fine with this, and I crossed my fingers and focused on driving home.
We parked just outside the chemist and we went in, where there was a queue. At that point, she ran to the door and out of the chemist, I jumped to the front of the queue, asked if they could sort it, threw it on the counter, and ran out after her! (At this point, I was quite distinctly not bothered about being rude… although I did find myself having to apologise a few days later, but they were absolutely fine with it because it was clear I was “busy”)
She had run back to the car, but of course couldn’t get in as she had no key. As I got close and opened the door to let her in, she tried to step into the path of a huge lorry that came round the corner, I was already on the road side of her so managed to hold her still so she was OK. I got her back into the car, and drove the 2 minutes back home. I got us inside, locked the front door and put the last spare key off the hook into my pocket with the others. I had no idea how I was going to get the prescription, my Dad had an angiogram that morning, and so was not allowed to leave the house, and was not allowed to be left alone. I managed to ring my Aunt, asked her to pick it up, and then I started to completely break down on the phone so she said she’d get it and come round.
B had already walked through the house and into the kitchen, she went straight for the bread knife and ran it across her forearms. Technically, she opened the knife drawer first and found nothing, as we were, as ever, way behind on washing up (See, slobby habits almost paid off). But then she noticed the bread knife on the counter and grabbed that to do the job. More luck as out bread knife is rubbish and barely made a mark on her. I got it off of her and she went wondering around the house. I talked her into coming back downstairs and she made a grab for a small knife in the drying rack. I saw her going for it and managed to grab her before she got to it. At this point I really didn’t know what do to, so I rang 999 for the first time in my life.
“Which service do you require?”, “Err, I have no idea, my wife is trying to kill herself”. “I have to ask you to name a service sir” “Errr” “Right, as you can’t tell me, I’ll send the police” “Ok. Thank you.” They then stayed on the line until the police did arrive. Before they arrived my Aunt and Uncle arrived at the door, I went through and unlocked it and let them in and very very briefly told them that B was trying to kill herself. With that she tried to make another break for the door. My uncle was a prison officer for most of his life, stopping a food and sleep deprived ill person trying to get to the door wasn’t an issue. But she did manage to kick him in the shin in the process. We then held her on the sofa as the police arrived at that moment.
I explained what had happened to the police and they established if she was injured or if anyone else was injured. Between one of the officers and myself we decided to try the crisis line in case they could now come and help. However, the number given wasn’t working and just keep looping through to a recorded message. The officer (Who’s name I have forgotten, but to whom I will always be very very grateful!) and myself managed to eventually sort out getting B over to be accessed by the mental health team at the police station which could then get her some help. So I did that… which meant officially getting her arrested for assault against my uncle. (No, he never pressed charges and never planned to!). Then she was very carefully helped into the police van where two officers sat in the back with her, one of whom looked after her glasses.
I walked back into the house and fell apart for a bit. My Aunt and Uncle stayed to sort me out (My Aunt did the washing up… it must be a mum thing as my Mum and B’s mum do that in a crisis too!). After my Aunt and Uncle left, I walked around to my Mum and Dad’s house and told them all about what had happened. My Mum sorted me out with a sandwich (Aren’t mums great), and my dad rang B’s Mum and then her Dad to explain what had happened to them. All parents which a bit shocked to be honest, B and I had done a really good (If ill advised) job of not really telling anyone about how bad she was. Half an hour later, both sets of her parents rang back again as they really couldn’t process what had happened and understandably wanted more details.
For anyone out there reading, if you can’t tell anyone else, tell the people that matter to you. It’ll help them to understand what is going on, I’m not saying they’ll necessarily get it straight away, but it’ll give them a chance. My parents, and B’s parents, now understand that B has bad days, and if that coincides with a family event, she may not go. They now accept that, acknowledge with me she is having a bad day, ask if shes OK, then we carry on doing whatever it was we were doing. All our parents often ask what more than can do to help, and they worry they are going to do something wrong. To anyone else out there who is trying to help a carer, just be patient, listen and do small things to lighten the load.
I had several phone calls from the police through the evening just to keep my up to date with how she was doing, and what was going on. They really were great, when people slag off the police, they never think of this stuff! At some time around 1am, I finally got the call that she’d been assessed, deemed a danger to herself and sectioned under the mental health act to go into a mental health hospital. They said they would ring tomorrow with all the details of how to visit etc. I hung up and and collapsed on the floor. But, I have to admit, I was massively relieved, I knew she was OK, and was in safe place with people who would be able to help her. I texted parents to let them know what going on, and went to bed… and went to sleep, for the first time in 5 days. The next day, I still got up early and had a shower before I expected the mental health place to ring up. They rang just as I got out of the shower. They asked if I was happy for B to speak to me! “Err, yes please!”, I was really happy to be hearing from her, and even more happy she’s asked to speak to me. I didn’t know what she’d taken in, or how she felt that I’d actually got her arrested and taken away! She was very grateful to know I was OK. She’d managed to get into her head that she’d killed me, or my uncle or someone else. I calmed her down and told her I would visit her soon. I got all the details from the staff there and asked them to make sure B got her glasses, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to do anything.
The first visit was very strange, I’d never been inside a mental health hospital before, so didn’t know what to expect. It was actually very nice, B had her lunch when we were there (Corned Beef Hash). She was very groggy because of the medication they had given her, but she was OK, and calm. Me and her parents and siblings visited her a couple of times in the first hospital where she was for a few day, then she transferred to a hospital a bit closer to home. I visited her a few times there, and even managed to take X to see her too, which she really enjoyed. She was only in hospital a total of a week. They released her to me, as she was much better and had agreed to take medication.
We were assigned a mental health care coordinator who then visited us at home regularly and still does, and we have regular appointments with a psychiatrist.
So, that was B’s first “Episode” of psychosis. She still struggles with what is real, what was real, and what all that means. She still believes that angels communicate with her sometimes, and often this can make her very distressed. She still gets upset when she thinks they have left her. She has attempted suicide a couple of times since, firstly because she didn’t feel she could cope with a life without them. Then conversely, I have had to sit with her when she is doubled up with fear that they are near her and she doesn’t want anything to do with them. She believes she does not have long to live, which at times has escalated to her not getting in the car to go to places because she is adamant that they are going to kill her in a car accident. She’s also been told that she is “Holding me back” and “Getting in the way of someone else”, both of which regardless of how they make me feel, completely throw her because then she is pleading with them to stay with me.
Do I worry that I should have mentioned the Angels or how distressed B really was to Doctors earlier. Yes.
Do I regret calling the police for help that day. No.
Do I worry she’ll get worse and I’ll lose her completely. Yes.
Do I blame her for any of it. No.
Does it make my life harder. Yes.
Would I swap her for anyone else. No.
Did it take a long time for me to say “My wife has mental health issues”. Yes.
Do I still love her. Yes.