A-Z

Edward - Interview 22

Age at interview: 18
Brief Outline: Edward is 18 and a medical student. He's experienced low moods and depression at a few different stages of his life, connected to a violent incident while he was in school and later on, his body image. For Edward, online CBT activities offered by his university, exercise and leading an active life have been very helpful. (White British).
Background: See 'Brief outline'

More about me...

Edward is 18 and studying to be a doctor. Edward’s experienced depression and low moods at few stages of his life. When he was in the last year of secondary school, a gang of young men from his school robbed and assaulted Edward, and later on threatened him with a knife. These incidents left Edward feeling depressed and also angry at the court system which didn’t protect his identity adequately during the court case. After the robbery, Edward used to feel jumpy around people and also ended up having to change schools for Sixth Form.
 
Around the age of 16 Edward started losing his hair which was a big knock on his confidence and his moods. He says it’s quite socially unacceptable to lose your hair at such a young age and it made him worry what other people think of him. Edward was worried about standing out in school - there was only one other boy in his school with Edward's problem. Edward’s found help from certain dietary changes and actively does a lot of research into new developments that can help.
 
Edward leads a very active life; he does martial arts and is a member of the university’s Officer Training Corps. He says he has friends from across his different interest groups and hobbies. He’s never been keen on drinking alcohol and says at times it’s made him think whether he’s missing out on social life and not fitting in. He says not drinking has sometimes been difficult in his peer groups where many things revolve around getting drunk.
 
Edward is doing a course in medicine and says there’s nothing related to mental health or psychology as a part of it. He says in medicine, mental health is not seen as “glamorous” enough to be a popular field to specialize in. Edward thinks it’s fundamentally important to make mental health an integral part of medicine and to increase research and scientific understanding of mental health and depression.
 

Edward doesn’t enjoy beer and has never been interested in drinking.

Edward doesn’t enjoy beer and has never been interested in drinking.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I’ve always been a bit of a lightweight to be honest, I’ve never needed much to get tipsy, and I’ve just never, never enjoyed the taste of beer say and this is the most common drink that people drink in the UK. So that put me off, it’s only now that I started to like stuff. I mean I’ll only drink cider now if I drink anything, that’s the only one I like to be honest. And I just, especially studying medicine has put me off ‘cos I realise how much damage it can do. Although having said that medic students do drink a hell of a lot, so, they are, they obviously don’t listen to their own medicine, so to speak. And it’s just never been something I’ve been particularly wanting to do to be honest.
 

Edward says that without any psychometric tests, psychiatry is still 'a bit subjective...

Text only
Read below

Edward says that without any psychometric tests, psychiatry is still 'a bit subjective...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I think sometimes because there’s no definite answers to depression that puts people off a bit sort of talking to GPs about it, because I know we know more about depression now that we did 50 years ago, but it’s still as with most of mental health it’s still a very vague area. It’s not as scientific as say as say the study of cancer; oncology, when it’s like, you can see the cancer under the microscope, you can do a blood test, this will show up it means a yes or a no. With depression it, other than there are psychometric tests it’s still a bit subjective unfortunately and it’s quite hard to be objective about these kinds of things I think.
 

Edward describes how online CBT sites have helped him.

Edward describes how online CBT sites have helped him.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
The one that the National University of Australia does is like a questionnaire type thing, and you can fill in the log, the other one’s sort of, [university name] one just explains to you sort of why these things happen, and it gives you sort of I can’t remember all the buzz words now, ‘cos there’s loads of these buzz words. But it’s like sort of, look, you know analyse what you thought, look at what could be wrong with it, look what could the alternative thoughts of it, how true is your original thought, that kind of a-four-step-process so to speak. , and it also explained stuff like the symptoms, which is what I suffered from, I suffered from non-specific chest pain, which is also called psychosomatic chest pain. Very common in people with anxiety, and there was a guy on there, who was doing like a voice over and he was speaking about that, and it suddenly clicked that this was all, this was caused by stress, not by, I went to see the doctor about it but he said, non-specific chest pain is caused mainly by stress.
 
And when you, it, it helped a lot actually and you just start to sort of realise that if you can control the stressful situation you start to feel a lot more better about it, and that when you’re feeling really bad it’s anxiety causing the problem, not yourself sort of. So by externalising yourself and blaming the anxiety you feel a lot better about it really.
 
 

Edward says complementary therapies are “a waste of money” and the limited funding in mental...

Edward says complementary therapies are “a waste of money” and the limited funding in mental...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
We love our complementary therapies ‘cos they make us feel good, the whole placebo effect, but they’re a waste of money to be honest. There’s no such thing as alternative medicine, there’s either medicine that works or it doesn’t work. With mental health you know it’s really important we weed out the bad types of counselling which don’t have a proper effect, we only have so much money to spend on mental health, that’s a fact. We want to spend it on stuff that works really, not stuff that doesn’t work. And I think really we do need to start bringing in more science to the field of mental health.
 

Edward regrets not doing a gap year, travelling and “branching out”. He wishes he’d known how...

Edward regrets not doing a gap year, travelling and “branching out”. He wishes he’d known how...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And one thing no-one ever told me when I went to college is that so many people come as mature students, so many people take a gap year, then another gap year. Nobody ever, ever said to me about that, no-one ever told me about these foundation years, no-one ever tells you at college, you know you don’t have to do science A’ levels to do engineering, you can go off do several gap years, come back and do a conversion year and then do it. It’s all sort of like, it’s acceptable to do a gap year, but it’s really pushed when you have to do something like voluntary or a year in industry, which is fine, but it’s very structured like you must do A’ levels, you must go onto university or you know have a place waiting for you at university really.
 
And I suppose most people do that, but I think looking at my college and what I’d been through a lot of people don’t. I think sometimes it’s good to take a couple of years out. I regret not doing a gap year. I’ve no idea what I’d have done with my gap year, but I think it would have been useful to work, save up some money for university, ‘cos if I’m here for six years money is obviously a big issue, maybe not travelled but maybe worked for an organisation where I could have travelled, but on, in retrospect I can use this year, this is, I call this foundation year my branching out year, where I can try all these new things, and I will probably will work everywhere else, and it’s, it gets me to see what I want, so in some ways it is a gap year, so to speak.
 

For Edward, anxiety was closely linked to being stressed. Later on he was so anxious and nauseous...

Text only
Read below

For Edward, anxiety was closely linked to being stressed. Later on he was so anxious and nauseous...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
At university I suffered from anxiety just in this form of stress, so I might worry about stuff too much, or worry about how much work I’m doing. I think it’s been an ongoing thing throughout my life and it’s a very, probably I learnt that way because both my Dad and my Granddad, we’re all very stressed about, day to day life, although in big traumatic situations we were very good at coping so it’s a very bizarre sort of way of doing it. And I think when I had anxiety about going off to university I felt it was very hard to eat food, I’d often feel nauseous, I was never sick but I always felt nauseous so it took me a long time to eat any food, and that was the biggest problem about the anxiety then, it was very hard to eat food, just ‘cos I was so anxious at the time. But it sort of died down when I started work ‘cos I think that gave me more structure in my life basically.
Previous Page
Next Page