I first went to A&E with Gareth about 9 years ago. He'd taken an overdose and was waiting to see a psychiatrist so they could find him a bed and admit him to a psychiatric unit. Back then I was just Gareth's "friend".
16 hours later me and my friend Marie who had patiently stayed with me, went on a bus with Gareth to the hospital he was to stay in for a week. Since then Gareth's taken approximately 20 overdoses and has been to A&E - at a guess - I'd say anywhere from 60 to 100 times. I stopped going with him after a while. I often wonder if the hospital thinks I'm cruel or harsh or uncaring. I'm not, I just need to sleep occasionally and would prefer not to end up in a psychiatric unit myself one day.
A couple of nights ago Gareth made one of his weekly trips to A&E, I stayed in the bedroom with the door shut so the dogs didn't scream when the ambulance arrived. Several texts and phone calls later I got up for work and went about my day. I hadn't heard from him for 2 hours (unheard of) so I started to get worried. His phone was off and I couldn't get hold of him. Then the phone rang. It was the hospital asking why Gareth had come because he was completely incoherent and they couldn't understand a word he was saying. They told me he would likely be admitted.
So I got my coat on, made my apologies, left work and went to the hospital. After picking up Gareth's belongings that he'd left all over the hospital, I went to the interview room, explained to several people that when Gareth misses a night's sleep he becomes incoherent. They think its something called Sleep Deprivation Psychosis. I told them this behaviour was perfectly normal and if he slept he would wake up fine, not remembering any of it.
The mental health team told me they breathed a sigh of relief when I arrived, told me I was a godsend, thanked me profusely. They didn't exactly say why but I imagine its something to do with a comment a psychiatrist made once, "You don't need to be in hospital, you have a wife". In layman's terms I saving them a gob load of money because admission costs in time, money and responsibility but sending him home relieves them of time, money and responsibility and passes it on to me
Ok that's pretty cynical. But its true. I may be a godsend to them but who will be my godsend?