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Loz - Interview 01

Age at interview: 17
Brief Outline: Loz is 17 and lives at home with his family. He's experienced depression and anxiety since he had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair at the age of 14. Over the years, having a great counsellor and close support from his family has helped him the most. (White British)
Background: See 'Brief outline'

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Loz is 17 and has experienced depression and anxiety for a few years. When he was 14, he injured his coccyx badly when playing badminton. For the following months, he was constantly in and out of hospital, missing out on school, and had very bad experiences at the hospital. Things deteriorated gradually, the pain got worse, he lost weight and the muscles in his legs weakened. Eventually Loz couldn’t walk anymore and had to go in a wheelchair. Around this time he started feeling depressed – none of his friends would come to visit him in the hospital and he says he felt extremely lonely and rejected by everyone except for his family. He also had bad experiences with hospital staff and was told he was just faking it all to get attention.
 
Loz missed out 18 months of school. Spending so much time in hospital made him feel lonely, different to his mates and miss out on just being a teenager. He was having suicidal thoughts and self-harming. Loz says he has a tendency to “put himself down” and often feels like he’s a burden on other people. Loz hates asking for help or relying on other people. He doesn’t want to be stuck in his “bloody wheelchair” and would burn it if he could. He can also get anxious about many things, going over in his head all the possible scenarios that could go wrong.
 
Since being transferred to a different hospital and seeing another counsellor for the past year, things have improved a lot for Loz. He’s counsellor is “a great guy” and it’s been really helpful to talk through his feelings at counselling. He says, “There’s still the edge but I know now how to deal with it”. Loz is also really close to his parents with whom he can talk about most things and who’ve been really supportive.
 

Loz loves art, drawing, music, playing the drums and playing computer games. Deadpan humour and having a laugh about the tough things help him a lot too. Now he has a close group of friends with whom he goes to the pub or plays pool with. Loz lives at home with his parents and two sisters but is just about to move out to start an animation course at university. He says he’s feeling anxious about the big changes but says it will give him so many new opportunities. Loz wants to make something big out of his experiences of disability and depression and says, “Being through all this shit I just wanna see it 's all worth it on the other side.”

 

Loz felt different to everyone else as he was in a wheelchair and for a while he tried to conform...

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Loz felt different to everyone else as he was in a wheelchair and for a while he tried to conform...

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Being in the wheelchair especially made me feel, ‘cos I was, I, as far as I could tell I was mainly the only one who was actually in a wheelchair in, in college, apart well, there was two other girls that were in wheelchairs but they never, well I never saw them at all. They were, it was as if they didn’t really exist, that someone had made them up to make me feel alright. But I, I eventually did see them from time to time, I said hi but, still didn’t really make me feel any better. I always felt I was a sort of, I don’t know, not able to be every, be everyone else. I mean I always wanted to sort of conform but I realised at the end of, towards the sort of like three quarters of the year in, I found out that I don’t need to, I can be myself around other people and not want to be like them, getting into sort of all the drinking, the drugs that everyone else was doing.
 
I never wanted to do that any sort of stuff anyway, and I hand on my heart never tried it either and I was, I was just, I just felt stupid for wanting to do it anyway, but. It was a, it was quite a sort of a rough sort of time though I gave, I gave myself mostly I think. And I, and every so often I go into hospital and that made me feel even worse because I was cut off from everybody else and all my friends and, and that was when I was in [hospital name], fantastic hospital, best, best I’ve ever been in, but I, I still felt sort of segregated from everybody else if you know what I mean.
 

Loz used to feel “worthless” and wouldn’t believe his friends who tried to tell him otherwise.

Loz used to feel “worthless” and wouldn’t believe his friends who tried to tell him otherwise.

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I used to think I was sort of worthless, and people, people would tell me, “Oh you’re not worthless, you’re not worthless, shut up.” Sort of thing, but that will, that would make me think well they’re just saying that, they’re not really meaning it. You, if you really meant it then you would sort of do something about it, instead of just saying oh shut up, sort of “you’re not worthless”, sort of thing. But I, I talked to, well like my counsellor with it and he would be like, “Well if they didn’t think you were worthless,” or “if they did think you were worthless, why would they need to sort of say stuff to you to make you feel better?” And I’d be like, “Well, they could be just saying it.” And it would, sort of I’d go around in that sort of circle until I sort of realised that maybe yeah, if they were trying to, if they really thought I was worthless then, they wouldn’t care at all, they’d be like, “pha and?”, sort of cast me asunder sort of thing. But I do, I do think from time to time people care but I, sort of, sometimes I forget that and I’ll be like, and… you don’t care, sort of thing. But, I’m getting better at it, I’m getting better at it. I’m, I’m managing to sort of like put all these things together and be like, hey now I’m happy.
 

Counselling has helped Loz to talk through things with someone who understands where he’s coming...

Counselling has helped Loz to talk through things with someone who understands where he’s coming...

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I think it’s [counselling] just helped me sort of talk things through with people, more times I’ve realised that I have someone to view my sort of like feelings to, without them sort of like having to like too much their own opinion. I mean if it’s like something like really sort of like shocking then yes he’ll voice his own opinion, but yeah apart from that it’s just really good to be with someone who knows the sort of things that you’ve gone through because he’s talked to other people, to children my age, well people my age, teenagers. I just think its more people that in that sort of situation to talk things through otherwise they feel isolated like I did. I thought no-one understood how I felt and finding someone that knew that made me feel happier I, that I could sort of like open my sort of like feelings up and say I’ve had a really shit day, I’ve thought of this, this, this, and I really just need to say it to you sort of thing.
 
I mean he, he just goes through why I’ve thought that and how it made me feel, what did you do after it, did you deal with it, or did you not, and I’ll be like, well I’ve thought about it but I didn’t do it, and that sort of thing like with the self harming, suicide obviously, ‘cos I wouldn’t be here, and that that sort of thing. That’s that’s my kind of sadistic humour coming out again, that’s the sort, the suicide thing. Not something to be joked about too much.
 

When getting treatment for his spinal injury, Loz stayed on a children’s ward (not psychiatric)...

When getting treatment for his spinal injury, Loz stayed on a children’s ward (not psychiatric)...

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I mean back to the [hospital name] sort of thing, I mean that was, that was a good time and there was a couple of times that I was sort of put on my own in a sort of separate ward because I was getting older and there was more young people getting in, and I think I was about sort of 15, 16 at the time and I was put in to this sort of very sort of cold silent sort of ward weren’t I? Yeah, and the room just went … just short bed, I didn’t fit on the bed at all, I mean by this time I think I was about 6’ and my, and my feet just went ding, so “Oh God, nurse. Bigger bed I think,” [laughs]. And that, they had, they had something where they could stretch it and so I, I could fit in it better. That was quite funny. I mean I’ve had, I’ve had sort of like bad times and very, very good times.
 

Loz wants to “ride through all the shit” to see it was all worth it and to make something of all...

Loz wants to “ride through all the shit” to see it was all worth it and to make something of all...

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I was just finding it really sort of hard to, sort of deal with stuff and you get the sort of really doom inciting thoughts, sort of suicide and that sort of stuff. And that, that scares you. Really does but, I just thought there must, there must be some sort of meaning to this so you just got to ride through it and get to the other side I think. Just, ‘cos that that’s what I’m doing at the moment. I mean there’s, it can’t be, this can’t be sort of fate or anything, I’m going to make something of it, I don’t care whether, whoever wants me to be in that for the rest of my life, I want to get out and do whatever, I’ll conquer a country sort of thing, if you know what I mean. Just I really want to make something of it. It’s like after sort of being through all of this shit I’m, just wanna see that it’s all worth it on the other side.
 

Loz was shy and “didn’t want to stand out”. He just wanted to get on with his school work.

Loz was shy and “didn’t want to stand out”. He just wanted to get on with his school work.

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I wouldn’t really sort of voice my opinion too much, I mean I was, I guess I really didn’t want to be sort of like seen as anyone just in the corner, I’d be, I’d be fine sort of just doing my work really. I was I was quite, I wouldn’t say sort of like hard working, but I’d try and do my best, I mean I wasn’t that that sort of like academically good in sort of like, when I was in [school name], and I got, it’s like a, two threes and a four in my first SAT’s which I guess would be sort of get two Cs and a B sort of now. But, apart from that I was, well I was just shy. I didn’t really think I’d made too much of a, like a bother of myself. I didn’t wanna stand out or sort of get into trouble, so I always wanted to be sort of good, but, you always got the sort of like the times in the classroom where the teacher went out and I used to sort of well do the flicky with the pencils in the ceiling, and they’d all get stuck, that sort of thing, I mean, school, school kid stuff.
 

Loz describes his experience of a complementary therapy session working on his aura. He was ...

Loz describes his experience of a complementary therapy session working on his aura. He was ...

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It did feel weird. It was, he chatted all about that sort of aura thing, sort of like you touch going like all the way down here, and it did feel like sort of a weird sort of sensation as he went down your body and it was, and he’d sort of like, just it was like sort of like just a couple of centimetres and he’d go down the arms and sort of do the legs sort of thing, go up the foot and all that sort of stuff and he do the, catch the energy and whatever it was they did.

 

Yeah, I felt sort of really quite sleepy and I’d be like, huh, this is good. But it really, it really did feel really quite interesting, and I was quite taken aback about how much it sort of like worked I mean. I’d sort of recommend it to people who sort of believed in that stuff ‘cos I was quite sceptical about it, like my Dad. My Dad doesn’t believe in anything. It’s like ghosts. There’s the people with sheets and they go Whoo. So he, he didn’t really sort of believe in that, but I, I’m sort of, with persuasion I’m, I’m I can be into that. If they can prove, yea if, it helps.
 

Drawing cartoons, playing Wii or punching his boxing bag help Loz when he’s feeling down.

Drawing cartoons, playing Wii or punching his boxing bag help Loz when he’s feeling down.

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I still have that’s like absolutely down sort of feeling, I’ll be like that for a while, and that, I mean that that goes-ish. I mean there’s still the edge but I know I know sort of how to sort of deal with it.
 
There’s like different ways like drawing, I’ll draw something. Sort of semi, semi violent to match my moods, ‘cos I, I’ve got like my little characters are sort of like cross between anime sort of like westerns or comic book styles, and I love the sort of little characters ‘cos I do spiky hair, sword, like gun, grrr, die evil depressing aliens. And I’ll do something like that or I’ve got like computer games like the Wii, I’ll just smack a few tennis balls about or be up something on [game name], my favourite game, and I love it, but yeah there’s a lot of sort of like different mediums to work out. I drum, and I’ve got a boxing bag which pees off the neighbours which I found out.
 

Loz has always had an overactive mind.

Loz has always had an overactive mind.

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I’ve always sort of had a sort of like a very overactive sort of thought thing, and that that kind of does bring on sometimes the sort of depression thing. And that really does annoy me ‘cos it’s like I tend to have an overactive imagination sometimes and I, before I go out anywhere I’ll imagine how everything can go wrong, in all the different sort of circumstances that it, well can go in. And then, I sort of psyche myself to out and expect those bad things instead of all the good things that should be happening. And it usually turns out good which I’m happy about but, yeah I think it’s just down to sort of I don’t know, just either an imagination or just trying to think, trying to think of different ways to deal with it, all the time, and it. I mean before you came I was thinking, well how many things can go wrong… Think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think …... about fifty sort of things came to mind and, all in sort of slightly different circumstances.
 

Loz's experiences have brought the whole family closer and made him realise 'they've always been...

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Loz's experiences have brought the whole family closer and made him realise 'they've always been...

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I think it’s brought us closer in a sense. I feel happy to talk to like Mum and Dad about most things, sometimes [sister’s name], [sister’s name] if they want, if there, if they’re even bothered. You now, I don’t mind, it’s as long as sort of like Mum and Dad are there for me, I’m happy for it so. Yeah I think we’re closer as a family unit. I mean it was sort of like really quite heated with the depression and self harming sort of thing, ‘cos Mum thought that I was drifting apart from everybody else, and I was sort of segregating myself off which it was what I was trying to do because I just didn’t want anyone to see me in that sort of state, I really didn’t, I just feel like I sort of hated everyone and everything and I didn’t wanna…
 
It sounds like you’re very close to your parents and you can talk, so they must be a big support through this?
 
I suppose they’ve always been there, but I only sort of recently really realised that they were, they actually were sort of there for me. 
 

Loz says his consultant is great and like 'an Asian version' of his Nan.

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Loz says his consultant is great and like 'an Asian version' of his Nan.

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My consultant [consultant’s name], she’s really good, she’s like, I call her, my second Nan, she’s, she looks like my Nan but more of a sort of like an Asian version, if you know what I mean. She’s really good, she is, she’s a great woman. I’m glad I’ve met sort of like the people I’ve met, they’ve really helped me. Not get over sort of like the stuff that I’ve been through, but to deal with it, yeah deal with it more than I, than I have. So I think I’ve been quite fortunate in that sort of retrospect.
 

None of Loz's friends came to visit him in hospital or at home when he'd injured himself.

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None of Loz's friends came to visit him in hospital or at home when he'd injured himself.

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When I was ill at home with all the sort of like the stomach aches and that sort of stuff, and, back then no-one came and visited me either and, I was just finding it really sort of hard to, sort of deal with stuff and you get the sort of really doom inciting thoughts, sort of suicide and that sort of stuff. I guess it just started off for me one day thinking, well why, why can’t my friends come, don’t they want to, can’t they, can’t they get here? Is it my fault that no-one, none of them.
 
Mum' That’s sort of basically what you said to me wasn’t it?
 
Couldn’t any of them sort of come sort of thing. I didn’t see anyone for weeks and weeks and weeks. Until sort of like, one of the, the very last thing where one of my, one of my friends came in. She, she said, “Hi,” but she was visiting her brother, which made me feel even worse
 
Mum' Because it was right in the room next door to Lawrence and he was having visitors in and out, in and out, and they were all kids from the school, to all his mates.
 
And that’s what made me think well, no-one likes me, sort of thing. Yeah, I was in a, yeah I was a, I was, what made it worse was I was in a bloody cubicle thing, so like on my own, and, just I felt like the door was just shut on me all the time. I’d just sort of sit there and I’d read magazines, or draw, play computer games, and that was literally all I did. I’d just got… more and more sort of lonely and sort of wanting to see people but my wishes were never answered. It was a big load. I can tell you that, it was quite bad. 
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