A-Z

Beth - Interview 29

Age at interview: 21
Brief Outline: Beth is 21 and works as a shop manager. She experienced depression and panic attacks on and off during her college years and a while after. Beth was studying for a degree at university but realised it wasn't right for her and not making her happy and decided to get a job instead. Counselling, a supportive partner and family, but especially doing regular sport, have been the biggest things in helping Beth get better. Beth says if she'd get depressed again she'd know now how to 'beat it better' bu
Background: See 'Brief outline'

More about me...

Beth is 21 and works as a fulltime manager / buyer in a clothes shop. She can’t pinpoint exactly as to when her low moods started as it gradually “crept up on”. After starting college, Beth started to feel “sad, tired and sluggish”. At first she thought it was just caused by her periods but when things weren’t improving for six months Beth decided to speak about it to her mum who’s also a GP. Just talking about it made Beth immediately feel a bit better and helped for a while.
 
Beth experienced depression on and off for a while and she also started having panic attacks, though she didn’t connect the two at the time. She says she’d always been the “party goer” among friends, the one who was “always fine” and happy and she didn’t want that “slip” and so tried her best to appear as though everything was OK.
 
When Beth was in the last year of college a few major events shook up her life. In a short space of time, her long term boyfriend lost both his grandmother and mother very suddenly. Beth “threw herself into looking after him”, while she was grieving herself too. At this time she was also doing her A-levels. Beth finished college and her relationship came to an end. After this, things got worse. Beth felt very depressed, started drinking heavily and felt “absolutely miserable and miserable about being miserable”. She went for a counselling for a while which helped her and then decided to go travelling abroad for a year.
 
When Beth got back she started a degree at university but says she felt pretty much straight away it wasn’t for her. Beth stayed at university for 1.5 years after which she decided to leave; she wanted to get a job, do something practical and build a career. Beth says it has been the perfect choice for her and she’s still in the same job and has progressed to the manager in the shop.
 
The key to Beth overcoming depression has been sport. Out of friend’s recommendation she joined a local Roller derby team which has been “an amazing experience” for her. Physically, the endorphins released by exercise make Beth feel great but also the social aspect of the team sport is essential' “it’s good to be a part of something that’s doing well”. Also, learning new skills; learning how to roller blade has given Beth a real “sense of achievement”. Doing sport has made Beth feel good about herself. First time for a long time Beth could say “I’ve stuck with it, I’ve done something really good”.
 

Beth always struggled to make friends and was “always grasping to feel fitting in”.

Beth always struggled to make friends and was “always grasping to feel fitting in”.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I felt like I you know I was at kids and I had friends, but I always and I don’t know, you know kids don’t notice, but I always felt, I don’t know like ‘cos I’ve got an old mind now, whether I had that old mind when I was younger, or it’s just the memories, but you think back and you think, “Oh I had to try so hard to be friends with you, and I’m like 11, this shouldn’t be hard.”, I was, yeah, was always really conscious of relationships with people.
 
But ah again, through school I was always just felt like I was grasping on. It wasn’t until I got to secondary school I felt like I had a solid base of friends. ‘Cos I had my brother at home, it wasn’t a problem, but at school I always felt like I was struggling to, I always had friends, I never really had a problem thinking about it, but I was really bright, I had got a really high reading level, I was much happier just, Mum and Dad just called me his little bookworm, you know, I was happy with a book, but in the playground I was just, it was fear, I didn’t want to be an outcast like the outcasts. And I just felt like I was always grasping to feel fitting in. ‘Cos I always knew that I was different and I suppose everyone is, but I hadn’t found that niche yet. I was too young to find it, you know.
 

Beth says it used to “kill her” not to have a reason for her feelings of sadness and now realises...

Beth says it used to “kill her” not to have a reason for her feelings of sadness and now realises...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Oh, it [not knowing the cause of the depression] killed me. I wanted someone to come along and say, “The reason you feel like this, is because either this little bit of life’s gone wrong, or it’s because this bit of your….” You know, something that I could fix, I could go out and fix and fix that bit. And then it would be fine. And I would be back to myself. And it killed me, it was so much worse because there wasn’t a reason. I would have loved it if there was a reason and I could have fixed it, if someone, you know in my family was dying and I could’ve been depressed about that, that would’ve been great, because I could’ve just been sad, and know why, and it was right in front of me, but it was this thing behind me on my shoulders that you just couldn’t, there was nothing, absolutely nothing. It was awful.
 
Do you, do you now think about, does it still matter to you to think about the sort of the causes, or the reasons?
 
No, ‘cos I think now depression is the reason. That’s the whole point. And it’s something that no-one ever says. You know my Mum said, there’s no reason for feeling like this, but no-one came along and said, “Look the reason there isn’t, the reason you can’t find a reason for being sad is because being sad is the thing. It’s just something in your mind, and it just happened and it happens to millions of people”, you know one doctor has started explaining about serotonin and all this, and I’m like, “I’ve heard this a million times.” Hormone levels made no interest to me ‘cos it’s in your mind, it’s in your head, it’s a thought.
 
And whether it’s hormone making that thought, I don’t care, it, if it was in my mind it was a mental thing that could be overcome mentally. And just no one said, “That’s what, that’s what depression is. There won’t be a reason for it. Depression is the reason you’re feeling sad. That’s what you’ve got to beat. Not something causing the depression. Depression is the cause of you feeling sad.” I never understood that for ages.
 

Beth felt 'horrible' on antidepressants and they didn't get her 'out of the rut that I still felt...

Text only
Read below

Beth felt 'horrible' on antidepressants and they didn't get her 'out of the rut that I still felt...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I was bad and I went to the doctor and I just burst into tears and said and she said, “Well I can give you these phone numbers and you can put yourself in the mental health thing and go and see this,” and then she said, “Take these,” and she said, “If you don’t want to take them you don’t have to.” But I felt like I was just offered no alternative choice and I was always kind of against that kind of thing, you know.
 
I don’t know, and the kind of lifestyle that I’ve led with the rock music and stuff, you get people that are really open about it. And whether it’s in lyrics or whatever, so I’m surrounded by this opinion that’s been created that is completely not true of people taking you know Prozac or whatever, just because they’re depressed, but it’s the thing that everyone does, and you know it’s, it was just like I had this whole kind of stigma attached to it. It was, it was just completely wrong, about mental health and I still couldn’t shake of it, even though you know my Mum had said all these things, I was just still thinking, “Oh it’s just cries for help, I don’t want to take these stuff you know, it’s the kind of stuff people brag about, and I don’t wanna, I just wanna be me, I just don’t want to do that.”
 
And I started taking it but it was horrible because it completely messed up my sleeping pattern, and  I suppose they did work ‘cos I stopped thinking about it, but it didn’t help me get out of the rut that I still felt trapped, because there was nothing else going along with it.
 

Joining a sports team has “done wonders” for Beth. She doesn’t have to think about anything and...

Joining a sports team has “done wonders” for Beth. She doesn’t have to think about anything and...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I just started doing this sport and it was, it was skating and it was in a team and I didn’t have to talk about any of my problems and it was like, I like reading books, it was like going into a book you know and you didn’t have to sort of, but then there was my social life, I’m sociable with it, and it’s, it’s done wonders. It’s the exercise, it honestly it is, it’s, I never went to the gym regularly or ran regularly and the fact that I can just have those hours just every week where I don’t have to think about anything is fantastic. And then I just have the best night’s sleep afterwards
 
 
It was such a achievement to be able to do. And so many girls had done it, and they said how much better you feel about yourself, it doesn’t even have to be a sport, it could be any kind of skill, how good I felt about myself, I’m sticking to something for once because I hadn’t done it for so long and actually learning to do something, and now I’m one of the better players and I’m really fast, and that feels amazing, ‘cos I couldn’t have done it without their help. But it was me that stuck it and it was me that did it, and I can actually say, “Ah, I’ve done something really good.” I hadn’t been able to say that for ages, so it was…
 
Yeah, a sense of achievement?
 
Yeah, definitely, I’d encourage anyone to try, just do something new, whether it’s a sport or any kind of skill.
 
 
The sport itself is amazing, and it’s such a, ‘cos it’s such a niche thing it makes you feel really special, but it could be, my brother does football and he loves his football you know, he does a five-a-side team with the lads from Uni and you can just go and play football and forget about everything. And it doesn’t matter if you get a knock, ‘cos you get, as long as you’re in a team where people encourage you I think that’s all you need. It’s like being a kid again, and kind of learning to walk or something, and you just get that nice kind of encouragement, you kind of learn how to live again. It’s good.
 

Beth hated her University course and decided to leave and get a job instead. She enjoys seeing...

Beth hated her University course and decided to leave and get a job instead. She enjoys seeing...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Half the stuff was you know, first year stuff and I found that really boring, like I took philosophy because I thought it would be interesting, I’ve never done it before. It was moral philosophy and I felt like I was doing Christianity again and I could do it with my eyes shut. And that upset me and then other things were hard and I had to work at but I felt like I didn’t fit in again. I’ve not had a problem since I was in, the beginning of secondary school that I didn’t fit in, I had always fitted in since then. And it was horrible, and I just, well it wasn’t that made me not want to go to Uni, it was there were other aspects of actually start thinking about what I wanted from life and what I wanted to do in future years I’d probably never ever go for a career with a degree. And I would rather have those four years setting myself up for a better career practically than doing that. But I just hated it. I hated university [laugh].
 
So as soon as you left you felt so much better?
 
Oh, it was a weight off my mind, where I could just go to work and do something and I knew what I was doing every day and I knew I was gaining things from this and it wasn’t just a grade to kind of see how you were doing, but I could see the results of what I was doing every day, and I worked my way up and it was, it’s good. It feels good. 
 
 

Beth used to try and hide the fact that she was having panic attacks as she’d always been “the...

Beth used to try and hide the fact that she was having panic attacks as she’d always been “the...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I would say be sat in a night club and everyone was having fun and I’ll be having fun and I wouldn’t necessarily be drunk at all and suddenly I’d feel like I was all by myself, completely closed off in like a bubble and I’ll, aah it was just the weirdest feeling, I would feel like, “Oh my God, I have to get out of here, I have to get away.” And I’d look around and all I’d really want was someone to say, “Are you okay?” But obviously you’re so good at the act it was just smiling and no-one would ever knew unless I told them, and I knew in my head I would be thinking these things in my head, if I told them right now how I felt everyone would be asking if I was okay, and just things like that, everyone, I would get, but I didn’t want that.
 
I am the party goer, I am the person that’s always fine and does okay, so I didn’t really, I didn’t feel like too much pressure was on me but I didn’t want to kind of let that slip. I didn’t want the looks of sympathy that I got from my Mum and that kind of thing. I wanted to you know escape with my friends.
 
And it would happen every now and then, I just had to get away from the place, and then I’d wonder if anyone would even notice and obviously you’re in a busy club, so who would really notice anyway. And every now and then I would just go home, and everyone would think I’d done that White Ninja thing where you drink too much, and then kind of just wandered home, but I would never ever say the real reason.
 

Beth felt really lucky her whole family supported her in their different ways.

Text only
Read below

Beth felt really lucky her whole family supported her in their different ways.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I think that’s when I really understood what families are for and how lucky I am to have a family like that. Because I know a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily, but you don’t need a family, I didn’t need three people to do that.
 
If I only had my Mum, and that’d been it, for her to turn around and give me that support, that would have been enough. But I was so lucky that I had everyone else to do it. My Dad was great because he knew about it, so he knew not to say like the wrong things, but then he never mentioned it, which is the best thing with my Dad ‘cos sometimes you just want someone like that. And then my Mum was the one that was always making sure as well I was okay and my brother and sisters just want to know that I was okay now. And then they’d that whole great family thing, where you just start arguing about something, and you feel so normal, you know, no walking on eggshells, it was it was good.
 

Think of different ways “to encourage them”.

Think of different ways “to encourage them”.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And they know you only have a designated GP time, but most people are just kind of feeling really lonely and lost, and think about other ways to encourage them.
 
Don’t just give them this, but you know, if someone could say search for a few well known authors on depression, I can’t think of any off the top off my head, on Amazon, that would have helped that me. If someone had said, regular exercise, join these groups, join your local, don’t necessarily join your gym ‘cos I think, I don’t think that would be a good idea, well the exercise would help but like a team thing. Go and learn something that makes you feel good about yourself. If someone had told me that I probably would’ve thought it was weird, but if they’d given me a reason, I think it would have done an amazing thing.
 

“Stop analysing what causes it and go sort yourself out.”

“Stop analysing what causes it and go sort yourself out.”

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I would say just stop analysing it please. It’s there, stop trying to analyse what’s causing it and go sort yourself out. I just wish I’d said and don’t, stop being ashamed of it. It’s that, there’s still the social stigma attached, you know I would have said, oh, I don’t know, like I would have just, you know, I won’t, would’ve want to sit and say everything I’ve said, right now, to myself, I would’ve sat myself down and said, “Look there is no reason for it, get over that, you have to get over it before you move on, because otherwise you never ever will.
 
Move on, it’ll take a step at a time, don’t just think there’s only one option ‘cos there never is, and look after yourself you deserve to be happy, just because you’re not suffering the kind of, things shown in movies and on TV that everyone thinks you have to suffer, does not mean there isn’t anything wrong. I wish I had told myself that because you get these, you know, things in soaps and someone’s suffering this kind of depression, and it’s just, everyone’s unique, if everyone thinks differently everyone’s going to you know suffer differently as well. I wish I’d told myself that, don’t be ashamed of it, just because, you know you’re not a burden.
Previous Page
Next Page