Interviews

Let’s Talk About Mental Health – John Doe

First, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a twenty four year old male, raised by a single mother until around seven.

Talk to us about your mental health?

I was Diagnosed with Idiopathic – Generalized Epilepsy, essentially I have various kinds of Seizures without any particular trigger. One of my earliest Seizures I was technically dead for a moment, and the thing that I’ve learnt that truly terrifies me, is usual seizures from my perspective are like being asleep and waking up like I was in a bar fight, but that one when I was technically dead (I have since been told by mum that this was first of many). I try to look back on that & it’s what can only be described as the space between clips in a video, nothing, not the blackness of the void, no flames, no clouds, no memory of anything absent of everything. Anything you are imagining throw it out cause it can’t be conceived, that sticks in my head at all times anyway.

As the years passed, eventually they found the ‘’right’’ medication. I went two years seizure free and they took me off the medication, seeing light at the end of the tunnel everything seemed to be going right was even hoping to join the air force, but nope, a few weeks in and the seizures returned. Now I’m medicated but that doesn’t always help.

During college years I became increasingly depressed, my mother & her partner decided we’re moving to a village just outside of the city. I began college in a course I didn’t really want to do, as it was the closest to doing Video Game Design I could do, getting a tutor that had no qualifications for the course, & could not and did not answer any of my questions, or give assistance. I’m probably never going to lose my Epilepsy & the fact that I was let down repeatedly by the Education System was when I first truly became a shut in.

Two years I spent locked away in that bedroom in that village leaving to get the only reprieve I’ve ever truly had, energy drinks. I started drinking them in my second year of secondary school started off as Boost and/or Emerge my mother and a few other family members worry about how much I consume(d). So I occasionally do a cleanse but I never plan to stop for good as it’s my only vice; I rarely drink alcohol because it takes too long to get a tall, fat guy drunk, and I only drink things I enjoy the taste of, so plain lagers, beers and ciders won’t help.

I don’t Smoke or do any drugs not prescribed to me, I get very little sleep with or without energy drinks, less without if anything. I often forget to eat but due to not often leaving the house and I’m not very sociable. Along with being Epileptic getting me a bus pass, I didn’t keep up regularly walking once I hid away for two years. This along with being a more carnivorous human and the amount of meds I take, lead me to being tall and large.

I’ve ran away from most if not all of my relationships, due to thinking they deserve better than the lazy seizure filled mess I’d become. I gained some sort of structure to my life when job centre finally got round to me and offered me internships for a while, but that eventually stopped. Now most days I spend trying to get myself to try and write the story that is left in my head, of the world I once created and the people in it.

I recently accidently became informed that every seizure I have 45 percent chance of Sudden and Unexpected Death, not a comforting stat for a guy who’s only definition of death is the nothingness. My mother is my anchor to this world but I feel I rely too much on her. If /when something, God forbid ever happens to her or when she is too old to care for me, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ve never lived without her, she became my carer when I was diagnosed. My memory varies from good to bad, but with each day the bad becomes worse, and a lot of things I’m told I’ve done I have no recollection of. I may lose myself before I lose my mother.

How has this affected your life?

My life is mostly minimal, most of my friends have moved on to the next stage in their lives, with careers and relationships. I feel like mine has stopped. Every day is a constant struggle with headaches, muscle pain, occasionally sever injuries after seizures and tiredness and depression. Having to deal with being unable to remember things short and long term and flashes of my life coming back that may be upsetting, as I didn’t realise it was missing.

How are your relationships with the people around you? Do they understand what you’re going through?

My Mum tries but no one can really understand as I don’t let most people see all of myself. I would not expect them to as I don’t talk about it much.

Do you have any specific coping mechanisms?

Art, gaming, music, writing, over the years I’ve come across people from different walks of life who are like a second family. Persona’s, not full on split personalities, but more of a delegation of emotional responses. I tried therapy but it didn’t work for me.

What does the future hold for you?

I don’t feel it does, I don’t see a relationship or children as I wouldn’t want to burden someone with it, or pass it on hereditary wise to my children. My memory is hit and miss with large pieces missing, so any education I received feels irrelevant for jobs, and although people are happy for me to do unpaid work for 12 weeks, no job is offered at the end due to various excuses.

Finally, anything you’d like to say to others in similar situations?
Just because therapy didn’t work for me, does not mean it won’t work for you. If you need help, seek it. As far as panic attacks go, imagine somewhere you can find peace and relax. It doesn’t have to be a real place and just breath through it, it will pass. There are support groups that can help, and maybe if we had known how and where to find it when I was first diagnosed, it may have helped, but for someone who finds it hard to socialise like myself, I don’t think it would.


Below I am going to leave a link listing all the main mental health websites around the world, as well as a link with all the international suicide prevention hotlines.

Remember if you aren’t sure where to go or who to talk to, you can call 999, 911 or your equivalent.

Mental Health Websites:

http://www.centreforglobalmentalhealth.org/global-mental-health-websites
Suicide Hotlines Worldwide:

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html