A-Z

Kirstie - Interview 06

Age at interview: 16
Brief Outline: Kirstie is 16 and a fulltime student. She's had difficulties with low mood and anger ' which she says started when her dad and then stepdad left her family. She now lives in supported housing on her own. (White British).
Background: See 'Brief outline'

More about me...

Kirstie is 16, she’s a fulltime student and lives on her own in a flat provided by a supported housing project. She says her problems go back to when she was 3 and her dad walked out on her, her sister and her mum - and when she was 7 her then stepdad also left her family. She’s had very little contact with her biological father for 13 years. Kirstie says she will never forgive him for disappearing and “messing up” their heads. She’s got a dad now, in her mum’s current husband who she “loves to bits”.
 
Because of her experiences with her dad and first stepdad, Kirstie says she can’t trust men. She’s had problems with male teachers in school and male support workers and says she’s still scared her second stepdad will walk out on them as well. Kirstie’s mum got worried about her bad moods and took her to the GP. Kirstie says when she’s in a bad mood she drinks a lot and gets very angry. She says she can lash out on people or “smash up” her flat. The GP referred her to anger management classes but Kirstie is not finding them helpful.
 
Kirstie says she “can never have all the parts of my life going right at the same time”; there’s been something going wrong, either with school, her mum, boyfriend or with friends. Because things weren’t working out at home and Kirstie was coming to blows with her mum and stepdad and she left home. She’s then got into a supported housing project and lives in her own flat.
 
Kirstie sees a clinical psychologist but says it’s not helping her much at all. She went there to talk about things but so far they’ve only been “playing games” and doing tests which has been boring. She says she’s always dealt with things by forgetting about them because she knew “it would hurt” to process them. She also doesn’t want to be upset and cry in front of people because she feels it would make her look weak.
 
Just recently, Kirstie opened up to a friend about her past – for the first time ever in her life. Her friend encouraged her to open up to other people in her life too and to fix things with her mum and others close to her. Kirstie says this girl “did her the biggest favour in the world ever” because she’s now realised she can actually deal with things rather than just ignore them. Kirstie feels happy “for the first time in ages”. She’s sorted things out with people she cares about and she’s going back to college to do her A-levels.
 

When her mum and step dad split up, Kirstie had to tell the Education Welfare Officer which...

When her mum and step dad split up, Kirstie had to tell the Education Welfare Officer which...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So I told them [Education Welfare Office] that I wanted to live with him [dad], but then, I was a bit shy so when my Mum come to pick us up from school, she was like, “Who did you tell them you wanted to live with?” And my little sister went straight away, she went, “Oh I said I wanted to live with my Dad.” And she looked at me she went, “Who did you say you wanted to live with?” I was like, “I said I wanted to live with you.” She said, “Did you really?” I was like, “Yeah.” And I couldn’t tell her that I’d said I wanted to live with him. And then about a week later, the education welfare officer comes round again to check his house, and my Mum’s house, and they was like looking at them both, and then they sat down and we had a chat with my Mum and we had a chat with him, and the education, I remember to this day the Education Welfare Officer told my Mum that I’d said I wanted to live with him. And I literally ran upstairs crying and I pushed my bed in front of my door so she couldn’t come in. And she was just talking to me through the door for about half an hour, I was just like sobbing my heart out. She was like, “Kirstie it doesn’t matter, I understand why you’d say it, blah de blah blah,” ‘cos he promises we’ll go on holidays during school time like, and everything, and obviously compared to what my Mum’s saying, you will have to go to school, you will have to do your homework, living with him was gonna sound so much better.
 

As both her dad and stepdad left her at a young age, Kirstie has always had a problem trusting men.

Text only
Read below

As both her dad and stepdad left her at a young age, Kirstie has always had a problem trusting men.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I love him [stepdad] to bits now, but I’m still scared they’re going to split up again, ‘cos I’ve seen my Mum do it, and, she got married to every single one of them and they always split up.
 
But , when it started going well, like I can never, for some reason I can never have all the parts of my life going right at the same time. I don’t know why, but since my Dad and then my Stepdad, I’ve never had, I’ve always had a problem with men always, I don’t trust them and I don’t like them. It’s always been like that. And all my teachers at school, all the male ones I had problems with. I used to argue with them, swear at them and I’d get myself suspended, and my Mum would go mad. But I just got into this cycle, I do not like men at all.
 

Kirstie says counselling has been “boring” and not helpful at all. She found their approach...

Kirstie says counselling has been “boring” and not helpful at all. She found their approach...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It’s [counselling] boring. I’ve been about three times so far, and the first time she drew some jugs, and said, now draw a line on how full your good mood is today. Now draw a line and show us how full your bad mood is today. Now draw a line and show us how full your good mood is on an average day, and how full your bad mood is on an average day. And she was winding me up so much I was like, “The jugs not big enough love, it’s really not for my bad mood.” And apart from that, then we did a test, I can’t remember what it was, but it’s like she shows you a picture and there’s something missing from the picture. Like it’s half an orange, and one of the segments, you know where there’s that little white bit that goes through the middle of the segments. It’s missing on one of them, so two of the segments are joined. And you have to point out, and she times how long it takes you and whether you get it right or not.
 
What about talking about stuff, is that helpful there at all?
 
No. ‘Cos I don’t go to talk about stuff.
 
You go to draw lines?
 
Yeah, I thought it was to talk about stuff, but apparently no it’s not. ‘Cos the best way to sort out my head is to draw lines, work out that I’m only as intelligent as a four year old, and then, oh wait, she got me to bring one of my friends, and then she observed us playing monopoly. To see how frustrated I got. And I was like, “Look.” She’s like, “You’re getting frustrated.” I went, “No I’m getting frustrated at you stood there staring at me.” I went, “If you want to observe, why don’t you play? Best way to observe if you play with us.” And she wouldn’t, and I went look that really annoyed me, just stood there staring at me. “Please stop it.” But she wouldn’t so.
 

Anger management hasn’t helped Kirstie. She says “writing down what makes me mad on a piece of...

Anger management hasn’t helped Kirstie. She says “writing down what makes me mad on a piece of...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What happened there?
 
What in my anger management? We just do what, how I feel when I get angry, what like, how I notice I’m getting angry, like if I shake or something. And we had to write all this down. And then ten things that make me most angry. And then draw them on a thermometer, in order of how angry they make me. And then say whether they make me rage mad, just normal mad, irritated mad, or just annoyed. And then I have to write down about the ten things how I could deal with them in a positive way if they made me angry again. So I was like oh this is fun. And literally I’ve been there and I’ve done it about nine times now. It just doesn’t work. I’m not being horrible, but writing down what makes me mad on a piece of paper is making me mad.
 

Kirstie feels like sometimes 'looking at the world through a window' from a distance.

Text only
Read below

Kirstie feels like sometimes 'looking at the world through a window' from a distance.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I can see everything happening, but you know like, it’s not like I’m watching what other people are doing, I can see what I’m doing as well, and I don’t get how I do that. It’s like I’ve got another pair of eyes that are positioned about a metre away from me or something, ‘cos I can see everything, and I don’t know how I do it. That’s what I mean; it looks like I’m looking through, the world through a window. ‘Cos I can see everything. I can see myself, but I can’t feel myself if you get me. I see it happening in my head, what’s going on, but I don’t know that I’m doing it, I don’t know how to turn it on and off. Like there’s sometimes where I really want to see what I’m doing, so I can see if I’m acting mad or anything, and I can’t do it, but then there’s other times I just want to enjoy myself and forget it and I’m just seeing myself sat there. And I don’t know how I do it. It’d be a really nice gift to have if we could turn it on and off.
 

Kirstie says people think she’s a really strong person but she just doesn’t show them her...

Kirstie says people think she’s a really strong person but she just doesn’t show them her...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
‘Cos that’s what I’ve always done. Anything that’s upset me I’ll just forget it. Everyone’s like, “Are you alright?” I’m like, “I’m fine.” Something would happen like, one of my best friends would just be killed right in front of me, it would be like, “Are you alright?” I’ll be like, “Yeah I’m fine.” And I’d just forget about it. I just push it to the back of my head and think as long as I don’t think about it didn’t happen.
 
I’ve got this thing where I don’t like anyone seeing me hurt or upset. ‘Cos it makes me look weak. I mean now I’ve cried in front of… three people. And that was my boyfriend, [friend’s name] and now [friend’s name]. I’ve never cried in front of my Mum. If ever I got upset at home I’d go up to my bedroom.
 
Or just put it to the back of my mind so I didn’t get, look upset no more. ‘Cos I do not like being upset in front of people, ‘cos it makes you look weak. Well it probably don’t, but I think it makes you look weak so.
 
Why don’t you want to look weak?
 
I don’t know. ‘Cos everyone thinks I’m this strong person and I’m really not.
 
The only thing that makes me strong is I don’t deal with things. Like if you turn round I could have someone full on shouting in my face and it wouldn’t bother me, well it would look like it hadn’t bothered me, but really it had. You will get someone who it bothers, they shout back, so you think oh this person is easily wound up, she doesn’t deal with things very well, but then five minutes later she’s fine again. But because I don’t shout back, they think, “Ah she deals with things well good.” But I’m still dealing with it like three months down the line. ‘Cos I would never actually deal with it.
 

Kirstie’s doctor’s approach frustrated her because she didn’t feel it dealt with her problems.

Kirstie’s doctor’s approach frustrated her because she didn’t feel it dealt with her problems.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But then he played this stupid game, he went right, me and your Mum are going to leave for a minute, he went, “I want you to move one thing in my office.” And obviously he’s got a bookshelf full of books. He went, “Move one thing, it can be a book or anything, just swap its place for something else.” He went, “Now come back here, and it’s my office and I’ll tell you if I know what you’ve moved.”
 
And he was trying to work it out for about twenty minutes. He went, “Right, now you leave the office, and me and your Mum are going to move something, and then you’re gonna come back in, and you can tell me whether, you know what I’ve moved.” I went back in, and I just had my eyes fixed on this little, like scruffy mouse, teddy thing, and I looked up and it had gone. And I could feel them looking at me ‘cos I was staring at where it should be, but I looked round, and I was like, “I don’t know what you’ve moved.” He went, “Why did you look up there?” And I was like, “‘Cos I was trying to read what that book there was called.” He was like, “Oh do you want to read it?” I was like, “No, I thought I did, but I don’t.” He was like, “So you don’t know what I’ve moved?” I was like, “No.” He went, “Do you want me to explain to you why I was doing it?” And I went, “Yeah.” He went, “I’m just trying to prove a point, that you’re not listening to what I’m saying.” I was like, “Yes I am.” He went, so how come in my own office, I didn’t know what you moved,” he went, “and to this point I still don’t know what you moved,”
 
He went, but you knew what I moved the minute you walked back in the room. I went, “What are you on about, I don’t know what you moved?”
 
He went, “You know I moved little Teddy Kirstie, ‘cos we noticed the minute you walked in and looked right at it. He went, “And I moved that ‘cos I just saw you staring at that all the way through, and it was the one thing you’d notice I’d moved.”
I was like, “Okay did we come here to play games or deal with the problem?”
 

When Kirstie saw her dad for the first time after her parents split up, she didn’t want to leave...

When Kirstie saw her dad for the first time after her parents split up, she didn’t want to leave...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And we was there all through the summer holidays and then we got the house my Mum’s in at the moment. But when we were in the refuge he turned up, ‘cos we left to go to the shop, and my Mum went, “Everyone get back in now.” And obviously me and my sister were jumping around in puddles, it’s been raining, we’re a bit excited, and it’s like, “Everyone get back in now.” And I wouldn’t go back in, I was still jumping in puddles, and then I saw him, and literally ran, straight across the road to see him, see if he was alright and everything. And it took my Mum and three other support worker people that were working there to get me off him, ‘cos I would not let go. ‘Cos I didn’t want to leave him again. 
 

Kirstie explains what happens in anger management classes and why it hasn’t helped her.

Kirstie explains what happens in anger management classes and why it hasn’t helped her.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What happened there?
 
What in my anger management? We just do what, how I feel when I get angry, what like, how I notice I’m getting angry, like if I shake or something. And we had to write all this down. And then ten things that make me most angry. And then draw them on a thermometer, in order of how angry they make me. And then say whether they make me rage mad, just normal mad, irritated mad, or just annoyed. And then I have to write down about the ten things how I could deal with them in a positive way if they made me angry again. So I was like oh this is fun.
 
And literally I’ve been there and I’ve done it about nine times now. It just doesn’t work. I’m not being horrible, but writing down what makes me mad on a piece of paper is making me mad. ‘Cos again, if something makes me mad, I just try and forget about it. ‘Cos people in here keep going to me, oh, the support workers are like, “People go so mad in here.” I’m like, “No they don’t go mad.” He’s like, “They do, I’ve seen [friend’s name] go mad. He was like, the other day when you two had your argument,” “And that’s [friend’s name] going mad?” He went, “Yeah.” I was like, “Really?” “Yeah.” You’re like, why is you find that so hard to believe when, ‘cos you know the night I smashed up my flat, I mean that was me annoyed.
 
He went, “You what, you looked really mad.” I was like, “I wasn’t mad, I was annoyed.” I went, “And I warn you now, if you ever, it takes a lot to get me there, ‘cos I just forget everything that happens, but if you ever see me in a full on rage, I’d move out of the way fast.”
Previous Page
Next Page