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Interview 33

Age at interview: 39
Age at diagnosis: 32
Brief Outline: Has not used medication and is not happy with his GP. Nevertheless, he has accessed talking therapies which have helped somewhat. He also moved away from his family.
Background: Is from an Asian background and was born outside of the UK. Felt unsafe at school, and has found it difficult to deal with family issues.

More about me...

 
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Severe depression is more serious than physical illness because the mind is ill, and because...

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With regards to depression and the effects it has, I feel that what I would like to stress is that the symptoms and the effects that it has on people, it varies from person to person, from a low to a very extreme level. 

And for somebody at the extreme end of this cycle of depression I feel that it is very, very important, in fact crucial that the help and support is available to them not only from their close-knit of friends and family circles but also from their GPs and also from the therapies that are available and accessible to them. 

Because if you can imagine someone who's going through a physical illness that's serious and you can imagine the physical pain that the person has to endure and deal with, you can actually provide support for them because it's all very visible and tangible and you can see it. 

However, with depression because it is a mental anguish, very often the full brunt of what that person may be going through may not come out in the way that you would see in a physical way, which is why it's important that that person is given all the help and support they need. Because I feel having a mental illness is far more serious than a physical one.

And why is that?

Because I feel a strong mind, a sound focused, stable mind can deal and cope much better with any kind of physical disability, trouble, illness than a mind that's diseased with mental trauma.

 
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Is for various reasons reluctant to take an antidepressant; once started a course, but did not go...

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I've been prescribed antidepressants in the past but I've always felt reluctant and apprehensive about taking it, largely because a) I feel that the effects are probably short-term, they're not going to actually resolve the depression, b) because they do have side-effects and, c) I didn't feel comfortable, myself, with taking some tablets.

There was one particular tablet I was prescribed, it wasn't Prozac, but it was something that was on a lower scale which I started the course.... but I only took them for a few days and I feel that, looking back now, that I didn't actually take them for long enough, anyway, to have any [pause] authority to say whether they would have helped me or not.

 
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Says that counselling helped him to talk about troubling issues, but he was not ready to deal...

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I went for counselling between like '83 and '86, it was 3 years almost. There were occasions when I felt [pause] it was very helpful because I was going there and talking about things that were going on at the time... that were troubling me. And having that space to talk made me feel better afterwards; that I'd come away and felt a little more confident and lighter. But on the whole, the kind of issues that were going on at the time, I didn't manage to get anywhere near resolving any of them.

Why was that?

I think partly it was more to do with me because I felt a strong connection with family, it was always going to be a hindrance in my plans to move away. And I felt that was probably something on my part that I didn't have that courage to just go out and do what I felt was right for me at the time'. I didn't address the anger issue as importantly as I should have done.

 
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Was surprised that so many celebrities with material wealth had had depression and were prepared...

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It's actually [pause] in a way surprised me that so many celebrities in such places and positions of society actually suffer from depression. And it's been an eye-opener for me that, you know, they're coming out into the open. And I feel if they're prepared to come out and say it, it's... and do something to help themselves then at least that should be a springboard for people such as myself to be...

Why has that surprised you that celebrities have come out with depression?

Because I felt that the kind of life-style, at least on a materialistic level, that that would have helped them to escape from going down with such things as depression. But it is obviously clear that, you know, materialistic, you can have a very big house and 3 or 4 cars, whatever, at the end of the day it all depends how you feel within yourself and within your mind, and nothing in terms of monetary wealth can ever make any changes to that.

 
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Has moved away from his family a few times so he can have his own space and freedom, away from...

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To be honest, this is not the first time I've lived on my own. This is like a second spell. During 1999-2000 I actually moved out and I was living in [area name] at the time, in the [area name] for just over a year. And I felt [sigh] having my own space... I feel that has helped me now, especially when I was in [area name] because it was having that certain peace of mind where I can come and go as I please and have the space and freedom to do what I want when I want. Not that I actually was very pro-active in getting out and about and being involved in things or staying out late or whatever. But it just gave me a chance to just run my life at the pace that I felt comfortable with, without making any compromises or having to interact with people and fit in with their circumstances.

 
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Strongly urges people with depression to get help from somewhere because outside help is...

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I would strongly urge and recommend that they seek help. Don't suffer in silence. I mean for a long time I kept quiet about it, I did nothing about the depression and, believe me, it festers, it gets worse, it doesn't get any better. My advice to them is to, [pause] talk to somebody that you feel close to, somebody who you can confide in, a family member, a relative, a close friend and also to your GP. And get help, get counselling and try and get as much help and support as you can because there is no stigma to depression anymore, whereas for a long time in the past it was all covered up. It is recognised as a major illness now; it affects so many thousands of people. 

The only way that one can ever combat it and deal with it effectively is to actually get the help that they need and to be open about it. To be open about your feelings, and to be open about the symptoms, and to seek help in doing something about it.

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