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Terri - Interview 24

Age at interview: 41
Age at diagnosis: 32
Brief Outline: Terri, 41, describes herself as Black-British. She was diagnosed with depression in her early 30s. Terri says she now realises that she has an illness and has to take her medication or she will get into a deep depression.
Background: Unemployed, single with 1 child. Ethnic background/nationality: Black-British (born UK).

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Terri, 41, describes herself as Black-British. She was diagnosed with depression in her early 30s.

Terri first realised she was unwell when she began feeling uneasy and awkward around people. She felt she didn't have much to live for. She felt afraid and was neglecting herself. When she is depressed Terri feels unable to cope, loses her appetite and doesn't want to get up. She says she stays in her flat doing nothing and has to force herself to do housework. Terri says she now realises that she has an illness and has to take her medication (600mg clozaril) or she will get into a deep depression. She says her current medication has helped her a lot. She recently had her medication increased and she says it helps her to sleep and feel like starting the day when she wakes up. She has also tried risperidone but she says it made feel on the edge. Her doctor hasn't offered her counselling or anything else but suggested she goes to a support centre and another drop-in centre. Although he doctor told her not to come back, Terri says she was happy with what the doctor did for her. 

To cope with her symptoms she does things she likes doing, like shopping, going for a walk, and going to the support centre. She says she likes going to the support centre because it's something to look forward to and something to get out of bed for. At the support centre they do activities, go for a meal and go shopping. Terri enjoys spending time with other people instead of being alone in her flat, but says she wouldn't describe them as friends. At one point, Terri stopped going because she was worried she didn't fit in, but now those worries have gone. 

She thinks not being able to get a job and not having any friends led to her depression. Since she's had depression, Terri says some of her friends don't talk to her any more and she wonders if it's because they think she's not good enough for them. She also says it might be because Black people are full of pride and don't like to get involved.

Terri has read leaflets and pamphlets about depression and found them useful because they tell you about symptoms and what to look out for. Her message to other people with depression is to be strong.

 

She says she's lost a lot of her friends since she became depressed. (Played by an actor).

She says she's lost a lot of her friends since she became depressed. (Played by an actor).

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And do you think having depression has affected your life in any way?

It has, yes. A lot of people, when you're depressed, you've got an illness, they don't, you know who your friends are. Most people that know that I have, really, don't really say much, don't speak to me.

And this has happened since you had the depression?

Yes.

Do you know why that might be?

Well, they just probably think that I'm not, not good enough for them, to be a friend, you know. Black people are, they're full of pride. I mean if something goes wrong they tell you, you know. Like, you know, always with whites, when somebody is ill they still get help. But, you know, with blacks, you know, they don't want to, they just don't want to be involved, involved in things like that, get involved.

 

Terri describes different her symptoms, including not wanting to get out of bed and having to...

Terri describes different her symptoms, including not wanting to get out of bed and having to...

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Well, it's been for a while and some days, I have good days and bad days. I started first knowing that I was getting sick about ten years ago now. And feel uneasy and, and feel awkward around people. And I kept asking myself, “Why, you know, why I'm like this?” And I couldn't get, I couldn't really determine what was wrong. And then it got a lot worse. And I used to get, sort of like neglect, couldn't feel that I was, hadn't much to live for. And I asked, you know, to, to get help. It got so bad that it's, that I couldn't cope. I was shivering, I felt fear in me. And I asked to, I wanted, you know, something to take to stop what the feeling and everything. So, you know, I'd see a consultant and he said, “It's probably just pressure you've, you've got.” The tablets did its job but it still… I still felt that there was something wrong with me. 

And now that I've been having this for a while I realise I have an illness and I've got to have medication for it and I have to keep taking the medication. If I don't take my medication, you know, I get into a deep depression and feel like I can't cope. Appetite's not there. I feel tired, I want to sleep all the time. Just feel lazy to get up, nothing to get up for. And when I do get up, I want to go back to sleep, and, you know. And staying in the flat most of the time, not doing nothing really, you know. I have to force myself some days you, you know, to get the tidying up done and washing clothes and things like that. So at the moment I've been battling. Sometimes I just can't be bothered. I have to force myself like now, you know, to get things done. And then when I finish I have a sit down and relax.

 

Many of her friends haven't spoken to her since she became unwell. (Played by an actor).

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Many of her friends haven't spoken to her since she became unwell. (Played by an actor).

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And do you think having depression has affected your life in any way?

It has, yes. A lot of people, when you're depressed, you've got an illness, they don't, you know who your friends are. Most people that know that I have, really, don't really say much, don't speak to me.

And this has happened since you had the depression?

Yes.

Do you know why that is?

What?

Do you know why that might be?

Well, they just probably think that I'm not, not good enough for them, to be a friend, you know. Black people are, they're full of pride. I mean if something goes wrong they tell you, you know. Like, you know, always with whites, when somebody is ill they still get help. But, you know, with blacks, you know, they don't want to, they just don't want to be involved, involved in things like that, get involved.

 

Terri stopped going to the support group because she felt didn't fit in, but going gives her...

Terri stopped going to the support group because she felt didn't fit in, but going gives her...

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And, [sighs] and, you know, I've just started to go, I used, used to go to [support centre] every, three, twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. And I stopped because I didn't feel like I fitted in and, you know, withdrawing myself. And I, if I went, if I went [the support centre] couldn't do anything for me. I just felt like giving up. And then I got a visit from one of the [drop-in centre] staff. And they said, you know, 'You've really got to start going, going back to [support centre].' So I said, 'I'll try, I'll go back and see how I feel.' But I feel a lot better that I've come here now. All those worries that I had then, you know, have gone. So, [sighs] so I feel a lot better that I've come here. I've got somewhere to go in the week. I mean it's not much, it's just one day a week, but it's something. And they increased my medication because, you know, I was having a hard time. So, you know, that's all I can say really'

What keeps me going? Different things. Things that I like doing keep me going, you know.

What kind of things?

Things like doing a bit of shopping, buying things for myself, going for a walk, coming here. I like doing. Shop, oh, I've said that, shopping. Well, just different things. You know.

And what is it about coming here then that, that's so helpful, that, that you like it? Why do you like it?

Well, it makes me, I mean, around people, on my own, really, in my flat. And, and coming here is just something to look forward to. Makes you get out of your bed, something to get out of your bed for, instead of laying there, sort of, you know, you can't sleep any more.

Do they have activities and things here?

Yes, they do go places, like we go shopping and have, go out for a meal or do something here. There are various things you can do, each week something different.

And have you, you got friends here? 

I have people that I talk, I wouldn't say friends, just people that I, I speak to, you know, sometimes, you know, sometimes. Sometimes they don't say anything, sometimes they do.

Does that help, having people to talk to?

Yes, it does, yes, it does, yeah. Have conversation with people rather than, you know, stuck in your flat there's no one to talk to. Yes, this is, it's good, yes, to come here, to , to, to know different people.

So it's like good company.

Yes, the company, yes, come here for company.

And is it helpful, I mean I don't know if you talk about, you know, like share experience with, with, experiences with people?

Yes?

Is that something that you do there?

No, I wouldn't say that, no.

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