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Lisa - Interview 23

Age at interview: 19
Brief Outline: Lisa is 19. She says her problems started in school where she was bullied because of her learning difficulties. Lisa also had an ear operation which left her partially deaf and generally made things worse for her. Lisa says finding a good psychiatrist who she can connect with, having a great support worker, listening to music and spending time with her dog have been the biggest help for her. (White British / Welsh).
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Lisa is 19 and a part-time college student. She says her problems began “the day I started school”. Lisa was picked on and bullied by the other kids in her school which got particularly bad when she started secondary school.
 
Lisa’s also had epilepsy since she was little and after having behavioural problems in school, she was also diagnosed with ADHD. When Lisa was six, she had an ear operation for an illness that was affecting the bones in her ear. The operation left Lisa partially deaf in one ear, it also made her epilepsy worse and she says overall things really started to go wrong from there. Lisa says it upsets her when she thinks of the different problems she’s had to deal with; “I’m the one with all the problems, I find it unfair sometimes”.
 
Being in school was hard for Lisa. In addition to the bullying, she was struggling with school work – she has dyslexia which wasn’t diagnosed for a long time. Lisa ended up leaving High School and was home schooled for two years, to give her a break from school. Lisa says this was brilliant and she was doing really well with the school work. The only downside of staying home was that because she had so much spare time and to comfort her low moods Lisa started to eat more and was gaining weight. Lisa says her weight does get her down and it also gave one more reason for the bullies.
 
Lisa has had both good and bad experiences with psychiatrists. She says the best ones have listened to what she’s got to say and talked to her directly, rather than a parent. Lisa says it’s so important to get on well with your psychiatrist or psychologist. She also has a great support worker who understands her and is a big help. Lisa says that listening to heavy metal or rock music helps her to calm down and also spending time with her dog is really important to her. Lisa says “you’ve gotta find whatever works for you”. Lisa is in college now and is really enjoying it.
 

Lisa’s diagnosis changed after a while but her medication stayed the same which she couldn’t...

Lisa’s diagnosis changed after a while but her medication stayed the same which she couldn’t...

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I said I actually want an answer, what’s my diagnosis, well we can’t give you one, can’t give you one, and then eventually it was, “You have a personality disorder, mood disorder.” I said, “So why am I on anti-psychotics and stuff like that?” Because your mood disorder”. But, well, I, I do see things, I do get psychotic symptoms, but it was the fact that they put me on them because they thought I had bipolar. And then all of a sudden I had something else. So I just can’t understand why I’m on that medication then.
 
Is it quite confusing, with all the different things that they say and the diagnosis?
 
I switch off after a while, when I don’t wanna hear what they say and I’ll just switch off.
 

Lisa was bullied because she had some learning difficulties and dyslexia. She came home in tears...

Lisa was bullied because she had some learning difficulties and dyslexia. She came home in tears...

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I was four years old when I started school, and all the way through reception I was picked on. You know the kids always found something to pick on me for, I mean when I was in the High School, the mainstream High School they’d pick on me ‘cos I couldn’t tell the time and stuff like that. And it, now, looking back on it now makes me laugh because half of the kids in my class had special needs and they were the ones that picked on me. Whether it was ‘cos they couldn’t cope with it themselves, but they did have special needs and it was like, “Well you’ve got learning problems as well, why are you picking on me?” you know, I used to get so depressed. I’d come home in tears nearly every day. I mean I got cut with a razor blade in front of the teacher, and then when the questioned the teacher she said, “Oh I don’t know anything about it.” So, there was, and of course then going home that evening, I was in tears. Most evenings I was in tears when I came home from school, nearly every single evening if you ask my Mum or my Dad, every single evening they had to calm me down because I’d be in tears.
 

Bullying “mentally and physically scars you for life”, says Lisa. She confronted one of her...

Bullying “mentally and physically scars you for life”, says Lisa. She confronted one of her...

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And something like that (bullying) it does scar you for life, people don’t see it, but in mentally and physically scars you for life. I mean I’ve bumped into a girl that used to bully me when I was in High School, she was in my primary school as well, and she said, “Oh how are you?” I said, “I’ve got mental health problems now.” She said, “Why?” I said, I said, “I suffer from depression.” “How come?” I said, “Because you and your friends used to bully me,” I said, “It’s mentally scarred me.” And she was like, “Oh I’m so sorry.” I said, “Yeah, well” I said, “That’s what you do to people when you bully them.” And she kept apologising, I said, “Well it’s a little bit late to apologise now, isn’t it?” I said, “The damage has been done now, you can’t really take that away.”
 

Lisa was keen to learn but had difficulty understanding some things. Because of dyslexia, she got...

Lisa was keen to learn but had difficulty understanding some things. Because of dyslexia, she got...

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Because I couldn’t read and stuff, and I wasn’t as quick as everybody else I think that’s why they picked on me. But then when I was in year 2, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which is why I was finding it difficult, they, they just think I was you know being stubborn or didn’t want to do it, and it wasn’t, I was eager to learn but I found it difficult to read, and you know, understand things. And then they tried me with these glasses with like a green tint you know, and then I was top of the class for reading, and they realised that my reading age was higher than my actual age.
 
Like I had the reading age, the reading age of a 14 year old when I was about 11. So, they, like realised then and I’ve, I never used to picked for reading in mass every week, and then my Mum spoke to them and said, “Look she’s got her glasses now,” and then I was picked a few times, and then I decided I didn’t like it anyway so. That was another thing they picked on me for.
 
And when I was in High School and I had my glasses on, the kids would be like, “Oh Sir, she’s got sunglasses on, you’re not allowed to wear sunglasses.” And the teachers didn’t believe they were for dyslexia; I’d tell ‘em, “They’re for dyslexia,” “No they’re not; they’re sunglasses, take ‘em off.”
 

Lisa tells what it was like to be home schooled.

Lisa tells what it was like to be home schooled.

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The teacher I had though was really good, and I loved learning, like stuff, and I was really good at it as well.
 
How does it work?
 
They come to the house, every day for about an hour, an hour and a half and basically you do Maths and English ‘cos that’s the most important to do. You know and they test you first of all to see which subjects you need to be learning, and mine was Maths and English. And I’ve always been top set for English, and top set for science, so, it’s just Maths now that I’m still trying to come to grips with, I go to college now total maths, so.
 
Yeah. Was that difficult to kind of do the work when you weren’t in school, or was it easier?
 
It was easier for me to do it, to work without ‘cos I didn’t have all the distractions of thinking, “Oh they’re gonna pick on me when the lessons over.” You know I had the lesson, and then went and did whatever.
 

Lisa had no clue about depression until she was diagnosed with it.

Lisa had no clue about depression until she was diagnosed with it.

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I think my first like episodes of feeling low, not actually depression but feeling low, has been since the day I started school because I’ve been bullied since I started school all the way through to High School. And then it gradually got worse as I, every single year it sort of built up to get worse, and then when I was 16, I think they noticed it when I was about 14, 15 or 16, they noticed that something was wrong  when I was going to the paediatrician.
 
So I was sent to a psychiatrist because I had behavioural problems anyway, so I had to see a psychiatrist. And he diagnosed me with ADHD, and then gradually, along with the ADHD became the depression, and then, like I said earlier depression, you can’t see it, you don’t always believe it. ‘Cos I didn’t have a clue what depression was until I was diagnosed with it. I sort of had you know sort of knew, but I wasn’t 100% sure if I was until they diagnosed me. And I think that’s when I went downhill.
 

Lisa says her “anger and frustration” usually go away when she listens to metal and rock.

Lisa says her “anger and frustration” usually go away when she listens to metal and rock.

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It’s calmed down at the moment, I’m 19 at the moment and it’s calmed me down. But it was worse, the worst year I had was last year and the year before, that was terrible I felt like self harming which, my way of getting, my way of coping with that now is when I feel angry and frustrated I listen to music, I put my music on, now I’m into metal and rock, so you can imagine what it’s like when I’m depressed. So I put my music on and that’s, that’s how I cope with it. And then after I start listening to my music for a while or sang along to it, my frustration and anger usually goes away. And then after that I don’t feel like self harming. So I know that’s a weird way of coping with it, but it, you know it’s my way of coping with it. I think everybody has a different way of coping with things.
 
Yes, well the important thing is you’ve found something that works for you.
 
I think I found that when I was 16. When like you know, I was 16 I thought, oh, so angry and feels like metal and rock is like shouting and screaming. Like I felt like you know my anger is gone listening to that. And it’s been like that ever since.
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