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Tina - Interview 26

Age at diagnosis: 24
Brief Outline: Tina is 24 and has experienced severe bouts of depression and suicidal urges since she was very young. She grew up with an abusive dad and had to leave home when she was 18. Tina had a very caring GP who 'went on a limb' to help her and referred her to long term counselling. Also hospital treatment and an antidepressant helped her towards recovery.
Background: See 'Brief outline'

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Tina is 24 and in fulltime work. When growing up, she says she always felt different to her peers. She felt “isolated” and uninterested in school or friendships. Tina grew up in a home with an abusive father and a passive mum. At the age of 18 she left home to escape her family situation and was taken in by an Irish family where Tina experienced a more caring and happy environment.

Tina was still stricken by grief, anger and depression which had built over many years and had bouts of depression and suicidal urges. With the help of a caring GP and her counsellor she started long term counselling which was a great help for her at the time. Later on, treatment in hospital and an antidepressant helped her through further bouts of depression. Tina is now feeling better than “ever before”. She says “I owe it to myself and the people around me to try and get a future”.

Tina is keen to continue her recovery from depression, as well as help others with depression. She is planning to write a book about her experiences. She recommends a book by David Burn' ‘Feeling Good’ to others with depression.

 

Therapy was a good experience for Tina. It surprised her how open she could be and what she...

Therapy was a good experience for Tina. It surprised her how open she could be and what she...

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Yeah, I was learning, and as much as she was learning from me, I was learning trying to understand myself a bit more. That I couldn’t always carry off a confident, face, a façade. I carried this face around for as far as I’m concerned, twenty four years. This false pretence of being somebody that I actually am not, because I believed it to be what other people expected. That’s wh- I was a character that everybody, that I thought everybody wanted me to be. I was a bubbly, lively person. I was probably one of the people you would never have thought suffered from depression. And, mainly because I hid it. And I hid it so well that it came natural to me. That, I wouldn’t necessarily open up to anybody. So, although it was all bottling up inside me, I’d had this session and I found some things come out that I wouldn’t talk to my best friend about.
 
Which I found really strange. I didn’t know how it had happened, and it made me, I suppose, crave more. See if the next session went like it. Or just see whether it would go how I expected it to.
 
And so I went back again. And, it panned out the same as the first one. And I thought, I you know, what’s going on? I don’t understand this. And I thought, well, obviously I’ve got this stuff that needs to come out. I’d love to know what she thinks about me. I’d love to know what her opinion is, I’d love to know what she’s trying to work out about me. I’d love to know how she perceives me to be.
 

Tina says the hospital was 'like a hotel' and everyone was lovely.

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Tina says the hospital was 'like a hotel' and everyone was lovely.

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So I went in [hospital], and it was like a hotel. It wasn’t anything like I expected it to be. Walked in, really friendly receptionist, you know, “Hi, you must be [name] and you know she knew my name, and I was just like, oh my God, you know. What have people been saying? And next thing you know this little lady runs over, and she must have been about five foot, and she was lovely, really friendly face, really welcoming made me feel you know, quite secure, made me feel quite happy. She came over, “Hi,” you know, introduced herself, she said, “Lovely to meet you, listen, go through to the music room, have a seat, help yourself to coffee, are you her boyfriend her husband or..?” you know, [partner] was like, “Yeah, hi, I’m her partner.” And so and so. She could see we were both very tense, very nervous s- you know, sort of looking round everywhere, trying to work things out. There were people everywhere. You’ve got nurses walking around in you know normal clothes. You’ve got people that are living there, you’ve got family and friends that have come to visit people living there, you’ve got therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, GPs everybody in this place. Just bobbing round, doing their own thing, completely uninterested in you.
 

After hearing her GP discussing another patient on the phone, Tina suddenly realised she didn’t...

After hearing her GP discussing another patient on the phone, Tina suddenly realised she didn’t...

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The next thing I remember her [GP] saying, ‘cos she was talking quite a lot over the phone, she said, “Oh yes, I did hear about so and so. Unfortunately yes she did commit suicide.” And, she said, “It’s such a shame ‘cos yeah she was a lovely girl.” And I sat there and I thought, oh my God. It just sort of like everything just whoooom…. just brought me back to where I was. And I thought… and that was all they said. And I thought, oh my God, this person there’s somebody else has committed suicide, that’s probably in the same or similar boat to me, that’s obviously suffering with depression. Don’t know what their story is, I don’t know whether they got help, I don’t know how far they’ve got, but they’ve committed suicide. And do you know what, they’re just gonna end up a statistic. That’s all they’ll be, a statistic.
 
And, I sat there and thought, is twenty odd years of what I’ve gone through, worth being a statistic? If I commit suicide, I’m just gonna be a statistic, I’m gonna be a fading memory. I’m not gonna have left my mark. Like, you know, why was I born? What, you know, what am I here for, I’ve got a purpose in life. I just….. ‘cos I haven’t found it yet, just because I’ve had a bad start doesn’t mean things can’t be different. So I sort of came round to the idea myself. But it was literally based on her having that conversation with somebody over the phone. I mean, if I hadn’t heard it, I probably would have said things would have been very different. But, something in what she said made me think, I don’t wanna be a statistic. And it’s the first time I’ve ever thought it.
 

Tina says it was fate that she had such an amazing GP. Tina believes that without her, “I...

Tina says it was fate that she had such an amazing GP. Tina believes that without her, “I...

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She [GP] was great. She reassured me, she gave me a cuddle, she let me cry, she was just fantastic with me. I mean there aren’t many GPs out there that would hug you when you walk in to their office and hug you when you walk out. And she’s been like that with me for the past few years. And, you know, that’s fantastic. Most GPs want you in and out, you know, write out a prescription off you go. She’s not like that.
 
I am, I’m very, and I think you know again, it’s Karma, it’s fate. I was meant to have her as my GP and I’m fortunate enough to have her as my GP, and I could say, and I have said to her, if she wasn’t my GP I probably really wouldn’t be here now. And so for me she was my support. And still distant from it because I know she’s a GP and she’s there to do a job, but she was my support looking back.
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