Philosophy of The Big Society

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

When tears are not enough

Dad is very tearful of late. For example, when I rung him yesterday I could hear he was choked up. I asked him what was upsetting him and it was because his care co-ordinator hadn't turned up. He said his support worker had assured him he would get a visit yesterday. Hmmm.

Now, I get frustrated when I am told that members of the MH team are coming to see me and then they don't but at least they have the decency (usually) to inform me if they can't make the visits.

Dad told me he feels like he is being left to drown. That was upsetting to me. Firstly, because he is so lonely and in a horrible depressive state and depression is the sort of illness that compounds itself the more it is left to do so. Secondly, it comes back round to me to wonder what I can do for the best for him and I don't know.

I said that perhaps the best thing was to ring his care co-ordinator this morning to ask what the problem was and try and organise another visit from her. I could do that for him but I want to try and help him to be as independant as he can. I feel that in many ways he has infantilised himself. Maybe that is not how it is, perhaps his illness is infantilising him but I do think there is part of him that is stuck in some sort of stubborn cycle and he is craving attention whilst saying he doesn't deserve it. Oh what horrid games our minds can play on us and others.

I thought about going round but when I go round I feel the weight of his illness and I will try to talk him round on certain things, counter his self loathing with reminding him he is loved but ultimately I can't make him stop being depressed. I can't make him do anything. It is a selfish thing to admit but I can't cope with him and if anyone should it should be me cos I understand depression. How cruel and relentless it can be.

I thought about asking him to come and live with me again but I don't want to be battling against whatever it is in him that can't or won't shift.

I thought that maybe he does want to go into a care home but his pride stops him saying that. I do think he wants to be cared for. Well, don't we all in one way or another? He isn't physically incapacitated though, he is mentally debilitated and perhaps if he went into a care home it might be the right place for him. Although I have concerns about care homes and the level of care they actually provide.

The only other non professional who is in regular (phone) contact with him said that she thinks he should go back into hospital. Another hmmmm...because Dad said he was left to rot there the last time and what point going somewhere that is supposed to encourage healing when it does the exact opposite. Then again, my view of acute care is very negative and I my experience is that it is left to the patient to heal themselves (as best as) in these environments and get out of them as soon as possible.

I keep wondering how much longer Dad can handle himself. I wonder how much longer I can handle him. Is not like I am handling him though...more like constant fretting.

I will ring him later and ask him if he rang his care co-ordinator. If not, I will ring her and ask why she didn't turn up. I might even ask her what else can be done because at present I am at a loss.

And for the record I feel like a total shit for not being able to help him in any way that is showing signs of helping him.


  1. Mandy
    I am so sorry, and wish I could give you some practical help, but I am here and you there. I do think things can't continue and I don't think you should feel bad that you can't help him, you have fulfilled your daughter role above and beyond and if you continue to struggle as you are you will both end up in hospital and you won't be in a position to help anyone. All I can offer is a sympathetic ear and perhaps a reminder that YOUR own needs looking after too.
    Lots of hugs and will mail you later.

  2. Hi Lareve and thanks

    The trainee from my mental health team came today and I have run by them the fact that things can not continue as they are for either Dad or me.

    Spoke to Dad earlier. He was in tears again. I tried to coax him to stay with me for a few days but he is too depressed.

    He rang the local MH Team but the secretary said he wasn't scheduled for a visit. He is living in hope that the care co-ordinator rings him today but I have said if she doesn't I will ring her.

    I think I am going to ask for a MH capacity assessment to be carried out. For sure the anti-depressants aren't working and at the very least he could be tried on another anti-depressant but I should not be the one deciding.

    He says he won't attempt an overdose but he has said that before and then took one and only told me after the event.

    I can't take any chances really and I can't make him better either.

  3. Hi Mandy

    Found you through your recent radio interview, I thought you were brilliant by the way.

    Sounds like your dad is going through hell at the moment. You're right, you can't make him better but he's lucky he's got you on his side and I bet inside he appreciates it.

    I'd go along with La-reve's suggeston that it's important you look after your own welfare so that you are able to give him what support you can. Isn't this is the sort of thing you'd be saying to someone else in your position?

    I hope this doesn't sound all cheesey and patronising but you need to take care of yourself if you want to help others... maybe it's time you donned that tutu and did a bit of that dancing m' lady!

    Best Wishes

  4. Mandy, offering hugs sweetie.I know the elderly do act like children sometimes.It's really hard watching them when they are like this & even worse when it's a parent.Is there any chance he got muddled regading his care coordinator visiting ? Then again I can't help thinking the secretary should've got the CC to ring your Dad or see if she could put him through.
    Take care
    Love Sis xxx

  5. Hi Mo

    and welcome.

    I agree that if I am not okay then I am no use to anyone else but when I see him (or talk to him on the phone) and he is in such distress, I can't just switch off.

    I really do like the idea of donning a tu-tu and swirling around. :>)

  6. Hi Sis

    Thanks for the hugs

    I am not sure if he got muddled or not. Sometimes he acts a bit confused and other times it is clear that his memory and recall are fine.

    Where we are at now is that I contacted the Trust PALS manager because I wanted to get a MH Capacity Assessment carried out on him but was negotiated that they would contact his care co-ordinator.... Who wasn't in the office.

    The PALS manager has rung back to say that the Community MH Team manager will be ringing me. Not sure exactly when but soon-ish. I said I will give them till Friday and then will be contacting the PALS Manager again. Although, I think I will put that in writing with a copy to my MP, because am sick of going on any more wild goose chases.

    It seems his care was not discussed at the team meeting (a weekly event where any concerns around patients are raised) so no one there has the concerns that I have about him. Well, he isn't their Dad is he?

    Anyway, have since spoken to Dad and said I am waiting on a call from the manager and I would like to suggest a new anti-depressant is tried. I asked if Dad would be in agreement with that and he said he would.

    Maybe there will have to be a meeting, with all relelvant parties, to discuss the best type for him (and look at any contra-indications with existing medication he is on). That is fair enough but, blow me, if I was a care co-ordinator and visiting a patient every other week and seeing no sign of the depression lifting I would be thinking, "the medication needs to be reviewed".

    Then again, maybe, my expectations of what a care co-ordinator's job are, are very different to what care co-ordinator's actually do. Which, from my experience, seems very little.

    Hmmm....knowing the way things go....Dad's illness will be made light of and I will have to fight (yet again) to get anything changed for the better.

    Meanwhile at Trust HQ preparations for the Christmas Party are being made. It is all about priorities!

    Perhaps they can invite me and I can do a little dance in my tu tu for them :>)