A-Z

Jack - Interview 24

Age at interview: 17
Brief Outline: Jack is 17 and a fulltime student. He's experienced low moods and depression for about four years, starting with problems in the family and when his parents were splitting up. Jack says he's always been very over-analytical and worries about a lot of things. Jack's also experienced anxieties and panic attacks and is now a bit agoraphobic. For Jack, talking to his counsellor, going for walks outside in nature and playing computer games have been the best ways of helping him t
Background: See 'Brief outline'

More about me...

Jack is 17 and a fulltime student at college. He says his problems with low moods and depression started around the age of 12; connected to his parents going through a difficult divorce, as well as other serious problems in the family. Jack says that even before his parents eventually divorced, he’d had a sense that not everything at home was right. Jack’s dad moved out from home and went for alcohol rehab and he also spent some time in prison. This was a very difficult time for Jack and he says one of “the main causes” of his depression. He stayed in touch with his dad throughout this time but says the contact was very limited and Jack says that time was “incredibly dark”.
 
Jack had experienced low moods and anxieties over “silly worries” before, but at this point his depression got worse. He says all of a sudden he had serious problems to deal with and had “a big weight on his shoulder”. He spoke to his mum who encouraged him to contact various counselling services. Jack says at first he wanted to just deal with it on his own. Jack says for a while he tried to ignore that any problems existed and was “in denial”. He did try a counselling service in his boarding school but it was more targeted for those experiencing exam stress and not very helpful for him.
 
Jack says depression has affected his social life the most. He’s often consumed by worries of what might go wrong if he goes out and says it’s sometimes easier just to stay home. He also has agoraphobia so he prefers not to out and about that much.
 
In the summer previous to the interview Jack started NHS counselling and has been going there weekly. He says it’s “a fantastic service” and has helped him a lot. Otherwise, Jack says playing computer games is a great way for him to switch off and enjoy himself. He says when he’s feeling down he tries to “escape to a happier place”. Jack goes for walks in a forest near his house but he says making the effort of getting out is often really hard; “you’ve created these barriers [around yourself] and you literally just have to push through them”. Jack says he’s in a really good phase of life at the moment and feels as though the “storm has passed”.
 

Jack’s dad was in prison and Jack felt he couldn’t ever tell his friends what was going on as...

Jack’s dad was in prison and Jack felt he couldn’t ever tell his friends what was going on as...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
He [dad] went straight to, straight to prison for round about a year and half or something like that. And you know he, we used to write, and write to one another and stuff like that, and you know and that that was incredibly dark you know just, receiving a letter and knowing that it was from your father in prison. Not only that but I also go to a private school which the RAF fund, a fund pays for, which is very nice and, because of our condition and everything like that. But I forgot what the point I was on…, but, I also go to a private school as well, so a lot of, I hate that, I hate to be so generalising and stereotyping but a lot of families there are perfect you know, they have mothers and fathers, and earn lots of money and they have good childhoods and they have you know, and so, and I was, and I was you know, I couldn’t ever tell my friends really, you know my father was in prison.
 
My relationship with my father, another problem is that my sister and my Mum obviously wanted no contact with him at all, I completely respect that. And I feel very guilty sometimes and I felt very guilty in the past staying in contact with him, just because it’s hard, when I think back to when everything happened, that big, that big father and son bond that we did have kind of stopped us from , it stopped us from just not contacting each other.
 
I mean I feel I used to call him up at 11 o’clock when I couldn’t sleep and say, “Look I can’t sleep, what, what can I do, what can I do?” You know, and he helped me out. But, however this whole feeling of betrayal to my Mum and my and my Sister, well you know that that makes it even more difficult so whenever I do speak to him, it’s very limited. The relationship we have I think is we don’t give each other that much so, in case anything does happen so we don’t lose that much, if you know what I mean.
 

Jack describes how his vision and sight can be distorted.

Jack describes how his vision and sight can be distorted.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What sometimes I get, I don’t know I really hard to explain, but whenever I’m under conventional lights such as this, or some lighted room like those crappy you know just long lights you know in classroom, sometimes when I’m, I think am I depressed, depression and stuff and when I, once I’ve done that suddenly everything just goes a little bit weird. I see more shadows, everything looks slightly greener, everything looks so much more darker, it’s very weird but I know it’s, I feel as though, I don’t know, it’s really hard to describe. But I don’t know, maybe it’s ‘cos, maybe it’s just a weird focus thing but I just feel as though the depression kind of really just really seeps into reality. So, I find that really hard to describe, but that sounds a little crazy.
 

Severe panic attacks made Jack finally contact the local counselling service.

Severe panic attacks made Jack finally contact the local counselling service.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I was kind of on the edge always saying, my Mum was always saying you know, “there’s a really good counselling service in this town, and why, why don’t you go for it?” I said, “Maybe,” and there was sometimes when I was thinking, “Look yes completely right, let’s call them up.” And by the time I’d got to the phone I’d realise, “No, I think I’m good, I’m good.” You know and I was I was so on the edge, and doing all of that.
 
But, when it really, and I don’t know whether this is this isn’t really related to depression really, but when it really hit was when the massive physical symptoms came in, panic attacks, panic attacks and stuff like that when I realised, I felt, I don’t think I was actually properly actually looking at everything, I think I was still ignoring a few things. Because I was adopting this massive scheme of structure and organisation, I was saying, “No I can’t have any emotion in, within this, very, I don’t know, business, not business, but organisational thing”.
 
And so I think I was ignoring my feelings and eventually I think my head was going, “Look no, no you’ve gotta, you’ve got to deal with this stuff and,” so it just sent out these messages of panic attacks. 
 

Counselling has been very helpful for Jack and he says just going in made him feel “very strong”.

Counselling has been very helpful for Jack and he says just going in made him feel “very strong”.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I just thought this is just absolutely fantastic walking in and say hallo. And just talking, just just letting, letting it all go, I felt very strong sitting in that particular chair just thinking, “I think this is the reason for this, all my problems, and this is the reason.” And the psychotherapist would say “Okay, so,” and they are like, obviously the whole idea is, he didn’t tell you what to do, he asks you things so you can find out the answer within, the answer lies within, that’s obviously the big thing.
 
But you just, a lot of people say, “Oh what if you get dependent on it?” And you just think, on whether that be counselling or anything like that, and that’s not the idea really, you just think it’s it’s almost a release that the kind of emotional and, stuff like that, and it’s nice, it’s just... but it’s very very helpful anyway.
 

Depression has affected Jack’s social life. He worries about everything that might go wrong even...

Depression has affected Jack’s social life. He worries about everything that might go wrong even...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
As I said before when, in the summer I just I recently just whenever someone says, “Are you going to the party tonight?” I’ll be, “No I’m not.” I can very easily say, “No I’m not.” And, a lot of people can say, “Why not? You’ll have a good time and everything like that,” but I do think beforehand look, there are more cons in going out than pros. One I don’t like discos which is the large thing around here, discos. And you just think…
 
Or I’m going to worry about,” just worry about letting say, I’d say more universally, I’m worried about let, pulling the mood down, I’m not going to be able to talk to any girls, I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m just going to be on my own, because people are going to be dancing in the disco, I’ll sit on the side and drink to myself, and stuff like that, and...
 
But I find obviously, the big thing is that you get there, and you have a fantastic night, and that is normally the case, and you’ve got to really learn that when you’re at home and you’re thinking, well shall I go out this evening, you think of the worst things ever, you think of the worst things ever, completely you know, that will never materialise that you think will never ever actually happen in your reality. You just think what is the worst thing that could happen and you think what’s the, you never think what’s the best thing that could happen? You think, “Well I could get a girlfriend or my friends could say, “You’re a legend Jack,” or, or something like that, and… So that no, my social, I think it does, I think depression does really affect your social, your social life.
 

Jack says it's hard for friends to really understand why he can't always go to parties.

Text only
Read below

Jack says it's hard for friends to really understand why he can't always go to parties.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So a lot of people would say, “Well why didn’t you go to this?” or “Why didn’t you go to that?” And go, “Ahh.” I mean I’ve had a lot of problems with friends , not really accepting that I have a problem, and I have outlined it, I’ve said, “Look, I’m suffering you know from a bit of depression here and there,” and they say, “Okay, okay” and they go really silent, and then whenever you do say you didn’t go to this party because you were so depressed or something, they just go, “Oh, Oh,” and they don’t, and they don’t listen to you. And you’ve got to kind of learn that a lot of people haven’t, don’t go through what you’re going through, so they can’t begin to imagine, you know.
 

Jack says it’s tough to accept that life will still have its highs and lows.

Jack says it’s tough to accept that life will still have its highs and lows.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It’s tough because things fluctuate so much and you can’t ever go, “Oh can I stay with it.” You’ve always just got to kind of go through it and sometimes be hit, sometimes be missed by these big whatever, and just kind of move on really. You’ve got to accept that things are gonna be changed, it’s hard, very hard, very hard to accept that you will have highs and lows because they mess you around. They do.
 
But you know once you’ve got over that all your problems are done really, just because highs and lows will just be an everyday thing, they’ll just be a little routine within your daily life that you won’t have to focus on so much.
 

Taking a walk makes Jack feel “a million dollars”. He says though “there is no plaster for...

Taking a walk makes Jack feel “a million dollars”. He says though “there is no plaster for...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I said before like whenever you say you have a paper cut, or you break your leg, something extreme, you can take you know morphine, you can or something like that, and you can, you can treat it, and it can get very better and stuff like that. But with depression there is, as I said there is no plaster, there is no, there is no, obvious very simple thing. But there are things you can do, sometimes you’ve just got to break the barriers, rather than thinking, “Oh I’m just gonna stay inside and feel really low,” sometimes you’ve just got to say, “Get out.” Even though your body says, “No I don’t want to get out.” You’ve got to say, “Look take a walk.”
 
I’ve found when I was going through a horrible you know, questioning who I was, and thinking why am I having these panic attacks, there’s a forest I live next to and I just went for walks down there, and by the end of the walk and even though I didn’t focus on one particular thing in my head exactly, which was an array of wire and stuff like that, but I just went for a walk and at the end I’d feel like a million dollars and I just felt, really good. And just taking a walk, I like to walk a lot, I like to pace whenever I talk or just anything like that, it helps me think.
 

When Jack started having panic attacks, he realised he couldn’t keep ignoring his experiences but...

When Jack started having panic attacks, he realised he couldn’t keep ignoring his experiences but...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But, when it really, and I don’t know whether this is this isn’t really related to depression really, but when it really hit was when the massive physical symptoms came in, panic attacks, panic attacks and stuff like that when I realised, I felt, I don’t think I was actually properly actually looking at everything, I think I was still ignoring a few things. Because I was adopting this massive scheme of structure and organisation, I was saying, “No I can’t have any emotion in, within this, very, I don’t know, business, not not business, but organisational thing”.
 
And so I think I was ignoring my feelings and eventually I think my head was going, “Look no no you’ve gotta, you’ve got to deal with this stuff and,” so it just sent out these messages of panic attacks. I couldn’t be in, first, I remember the first ones I ever had were in school assembly and stuff, and I couldn’t escape. And I said, “Oh I have to leave, I have to leave,” and just you know so that was, obviously that was when you know everything kind of happened very physically and so I just thought well I’ve got to get some help.
 

Jack used to worry about being sick, germs and washing his hands.

Jack used to worry about being sick, germs and washing his hands.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Worries like, worrying about being sick, when I was a child I used to, used to have cold sweats, I couldn’t, wouldn’t be able to get to bed, and like my Mum had, my Mum and my Dad used to pat me to go to sleep because I used to worry about being sick. I’d say, “I’m going to be sick this evening. I’m gonna be sick this evening.” And another point about the whole, how physic, how everything turns physical is that whenever I used to worry about being sick, I felt sick. And and you know I actually felt sick, and you know, and that… I can’t think of any other silly worries, really but it was really fear of germs as well, that was the first ever worry, silly worry I had and. And that was you know having to wash my hands around 7 times a day and a lot of people say, well that’s a common symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, but I know I am and they’re still trying to kind of diagnose that. But I don’t know it was that, I used to have to wash my hands all the time, it was just… and my skin started to crack because I used too much soap and stuff like that, but yeah stilly worries like that.
 

When he first saw the GP, Jack says everyone at the clinic was really helpful and he felt it was ...

When he first saw the GP, Jack says everyone at the clinic was really helpful and he felt it was ...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I was just very, very hopeful about it all, and I thought….
 
What if I, what if I have a panic attack there and then? You know I’ve got no medication or anything like that.”
 
And you know I spoke to this lady then and they were so helpful and a lot of people would just think, oh they’ll just say they’ll just, I hate this horrible, you know this teenage view that sometimes going to a GP isn’t helpful, they’ll just give you medication, turn you into a zombie, or… But there are non-medication ways of doing it, and it is so useful going to the GP and of course if you get in within their schedule and everything like that, but you know it’s, I just remember that just feeling of just feeling so good coming out of there and walking down the hall and just thinking, “This is the start of a new life really.”
 

“You can’t stop teenagers being so crazy and upset, yet so high and really awesome so you’ve got...

“You can’t stop teenagers being so crazy and upset, yet so high and really awesome so you’ve got...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Seriously just find out what’s wrong, and just think like what, think of yourself in their position and just think, what would be the best thing I could ever hope for in that position. And I don’t know it’s , and don’t ever think, don’t, I mean as I say a lot of people think teenagers they’re just , they just exaggerate and stuff like that but obviously a lot of people can blame it on hormones if they really want to but, you can make a massive rapid change.
 
Not only does education mess it all up, but, there is a reason why you know people can’t control teenagers because I don’t know they’re going through such a weird phase and you’ve just got to be there for them. You know obviously it’s like that saying if you can’t, if you can’t beat them join them or something like that, and it’s obvious that they can’t stop teenagers being so crazy and so upset yet so high and really awesome, and so you’ve just got to be there for them really.
Previous Page
Next Page