A verbatim play by Snippet Theatre Company
Snippet Theatre Company
Snippet Theatre Company is a London based collective, founded at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2014. The company work collaboratively to collect material, write, produce and direct. Known, Snippet Theatre Company’s first production, premiered at the Catford Broadway Theatre, and later transferred to The Pleasance, London and Theatr Clywd, Mold. The company went onto to make Mood Kill, which premiered at the White Bear theatre, London and later transferred to the Lion and Unicorn theatre as part of the Camden Fringe.
The Recorded Delivery technique
We work with the ‘Recorded Delivery’ technique, originally created by Anna Deavere Smith, however we have learnt the technique directly from Alecky Blythe (London Road). Blythe’s process combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects, with the art of reproducing their words accurately in performance.
The technique involves going into a community and recording and curating conversations with people, which are then edited and shaped to form the structure of the script. At no point do the actors see the text, rather the edited recordings are played live to the actors through earphones during the rehearsal process, and onstage in performance. The actors then repeat exactly what they hear, a beat after they have heard it, ensuring to preserve every cough, stutter, hesitations and the idiosyncrasies of natural speech. By inhabiting the characters speech-patterns, the real person behind the character comes to life.
Mood Kill is our first production where we have used Recorded Delivery during performances and not just as a rehearsal technique. By using headphones in performance, the actors retain authenticity to the original recordings and provide a unique level of spontaneity that unlearnt delivery demands.
For the past two years, we have travelled up and down the country, interviewing men and women from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities about male mental health and suicide. For Mood Kill, we have gathered over fifty hours of recorded material and collected intimate and deeply personal accounts and experiences of men who have survived suicide attempts, bereaved friends and families and men who are opening up and confronting their mental health for the first time.
By giving real voices to the stage, we want to question how fractured and neglected mental health is in modern British society. We are honoured to be able to tell the real stories of the men whose real-life experiences have shaped this production. Too often conversations around mental health are considered a ‘mood kill’ and we hope to deconstruct this stigma.
Some of the characters’ names have been changed due to the preference of anonymity.
Notes on the text:
Stage directions are indicated with italics.
Emphasis and stress are indicated with bold.
A forward slash in the text (/) indicates the point at which the next speaker interrupts.
The irregularity in spelling and grammar are deliberate and emphasise the idiosyncrasies in in the speech and delivery of the characters
SCENE 1 - INTRODUCTION
The original audio recording of the real voices is heard over the PA system in the auditorium. This is faded as JAKE enters, who sits down on the empty seat and plugs his headphones in. JAKE’S original audio recording is heard. This fades when JAKE begins to say the exact lines, recorded delivery. Each character one by one walks on stage and plugs in their headphones.
JAKE: So do you kinda want… are you gonna ask me questions or dya want me to just tell you stuff from the beginning because I can talk!
MISHA: Ok, so who am I? Alright, So my name’s Misha.
NICK: My name’s Nick, I’m from Essex and i’m an actor.
JESSE: I’m Jesse, i’m 27. I’ve done a load of interviews before as a journalist so it’s all good.
DANIELLE & ADAM: Tinder, Tinder!/
DANIEL: /Oh Daniel, i’m Daniel. I had the perfect upbringing.
DANIELLE & ADAM: Well, he super liked me so… and I liked
SAM: I don’t know where to start really, I mean…
MARIE: But it’s different from physical to mental. It’s very different. Everything that’s happened to me you can mark and improve by the day, cos you can see it so \\ therefore that gives you positive thoughts then. But you can’t see improvements through something’s that’s going on mentally
GAVIN: My name is Gavin Demant and I am a resilience and high-performance coach and trainer; enabling people to become more self-reliant, more resilient and more powerful.
ALEXANDRA: My name’s Alex and I feel like my problems were made 100 times worse by the people in the services that are supposed to be there to help you
ALEX: So… depression
SECTION 2 - TOMMY’S STORY
TOMMY: I’m Tom Wilkes, I come from Birmingham, and I now live in a place called Redditch, which is just outside of Birmingham. Erm . . . I have a lot of interests - in sport, I like films, I love cooking, things like that. Goin’ out, doing things. Not necessarily goin’ out clubbing or - but goin’ out. I even just, to parks. Ya know, whatever. Just general things that people do. That’s how I used to be. Takes deep, shaky breaths to avoid crying. Like I was saying, that’s how I used to be. But erm . . . If I go back to the start.
Sometimes I’d not wanna go out one day, and jus’ sit and doss, or chill. But er, I used to think that was it. And I probably didn’t even realise it at the time but I was probably depressed then. But I didn’t see it. I was like a prisoner in my own mind. Or I didn’t have my own mind. I was a prisoner but in- I had no mindset whatsoever. I had nothing about me really. Nothing. I spent like over a week basic- cause I had my bed in the lounge, in front of the tele. And I basically spent a week in bed, depressed, lookin’ at the walls. You need to be with someone who you can talk to and stuff but the house I was in wasn’t like that. It was er sort of an open house, it was full of people comin’ and goin’ non stop all day with whatever type of drug or whatever they was bringin’ in. And er, the biggest thing I found. . . You need to have s- err, privacy in your life. You need to shut - go - you need to go and have time out. And I couldn’t do that. I didn’t have no room. I lived - my bedroom was in the living room. Cause it was on the sofa. So . . . I had to wait till twelve o’clock and when all these dossers had left before I could even go to bed. And think on my own. My bed time was the only time I had on my own. And I felt like. I felt like I wanted to break down...So. And I just couldn’t get out of it. I just couldn’t see, see the end, the light. I couldn’t see it. I didn’t think it was ever comin’.
Deep breaths as voice breaks again.
Erm. I had to get out, in the end. Cause it was not good for me. It was making me worse. Day by day, it was constantly constantly just niggling at me, niggling at me yeah. And then all of a sudden, just bang, I nearly broke down.
Well, I don’t wanna be sleeping on sofas and living out of a suitcase. I wanna have a wardrobe with all my clothes in. I wanna wake up in the morning, have my shower, put my clothes on and go and do normal things. And what I’m trying to tell myself now is er and sometimes you can but it don’t work… I’m trying to tell myself all the time that things are looking up now Tom, come on, let’s get you back! ‘cause I haven’t been…
I haven’t been Tommy Wilkes for a while… and I want me back. And I’m actually willing to fight to get me back as well. Because I don’t wanna feel like this and I’m gonna fight this. ‘cause it’s not me and I don’t like it. I’m not a nasty person while i’m depressed or anything like that, I just don’t like the way I’m secluding myself. But er… chin up is what i’m saying!
SECTION 3 - NICK’S DRAMA SCHOOL EXPERIENCE.
NICK: Speak loudly and clearly into the microphone. And articulate.
My name’s Nick, I’m from Essex. I am an Actor. Er so basically I’ve suppose I’ve often had sort of, um, for quite a long time I had low self-esteem. You know you, everyone has sort of certain aspects of themselves that they don’t like and I think and I think mine was maybe a slightly louder voice, but again in Secondary School it Wasn’t personally speaking in terms of what I was going through it it wasn’t so much of an issue and it only really became err, debilitating when I went to Drama School. I mean the nature of acting itself is very, you know you’re essentially going on stage and putting yourself in a position where you’re saying ‘Judge Me!’ and I think that is especially true when you’re at Drama School because, every day you’re in lessons and not only is it where you’re doing this Thing that you Love and ‘I Love Acting’ and ‘I want to Do It’ and and ‘I want people to Like it’ and then you’re being- So you’re saying ‘How do you- Help me Be the best I can at this.’ ‘Okay so we’ll critique everything about you. Daily. And tell you where you’re going wrong. Everyday.’ And so I certainly don’t think that helped. Whether it was the trigger or it was just my time to go CooCooBananaPants I don’t know.
In my First year I was finding it very difficult I was starting to find it increasingly difficult to be in Social Situations, going to parties and um whathaveyou- Er I wo- I feel like people were would be having a better time if I weren’t There. Erm. And you know, j’evaget Have y’ever walked into a room And people, you’re like, everyone was talking about me. Or like when you go through a tunnel on the train and the lights go out and you’re sure everyone looks at you and you’re sure everyone looks at you going ‘Wanker.’ No? Is that just me? Erm It was that It was that kind of feeling, even though it wasn’t a case of suddenly everyone’s gone quiet but I’d walk into a room convinced that They were having a much better time before – I Feel I’ve made the atmosphere worse at this party.
There was a moment where I was round at My friends, erm, having a cuppa tea And we were chatting and I just happened to mention – I don’t I can’t even remember what we were talking about or why I bought it up erm – I mentioned that I was Y’know, unhappy and that I Had these sort of feelings of Self Loathing, and I Really didn’t like myself. Like a Lot. And He kinda looked at me and he sorta said, ‘You know that’s, that’s not normal. You know that’s, that’s not right. That’s not the way you’re supposed to, that’s not the way you’re meant to be.’ And I was like ‘Oh. Okay.’ And that’s the thing, because I Hadn’t realised err that it wasn’t normal, so that was, um, That was a bit of a Lightbulb. Moment. I think sort of shortly following that I was round Another friends house having a cuppa tea I think, I think they were concerned and, they wanted to know if I was Okay if anything had happened – because I wasn’t talking about it so you know it could have been that I was upset for a particular reason, um. And again I sort of. This time I sort of Broke down in their kitchen. Over tea. Erm. And. It was, you know, these three girls in my class, so I was just at their kitchen table, just Sobbing.
But . . . it really got to a point where I was like Well this is Not a Sustainable Situation as it is, something is gonna go Arse over teacup if I don’t sort it out. And my friend she said ‘you know you need to go see a Doctor.’
SECTION 4 - DANIEL’S STORY.
DANIEL: Daniel.. Daniel. I’m 26. Erm.. So.. erm.. I don’t know how I got into the idea of therapy but, it was something… it definitely didn’t come from my family. My family’s very, very heavily Christian. My family thinks that like the bible will solve all problems and that’s it. So… they kind of feel like anything, any kind of hardship any problems you have you should go to church and you’ll be all right and erm but I from a young age I kind of.. as soon as I could start, as soon as I could start saying no to going to church I stopped going so erm that wasn’t going to be an option for me. Just from my experience, there’s definitely something that isn’t, erm, it is frowned upon, its like, you know, it is very much a kind of, the sense of you know black people don’t go to therapy that’s a white people thing, we don’t need therapy and when you look at it when you look at that statement objectively you’d think anyone who needs therapy it’s us, right? We’ve been through a lot. We continue to go through a lot. There’s so much erm you know like micro- aggressions that moves things passively you can’t communicate that you can only like kind of absorb it and you pick it up and you kind of learn how to move through the world in a very different way and erm that becomes second nature and you don’t have the opportunity to explore those things. And I think it manifests itself in all sorts of ways. So, there was a period where I was, I was going through a bout of depression erm and I kind of knew that I wanted to do something about it and I knew there was something more that I probably wasn’t exploring because there was certain patterns that I was starting to see, especially in my relationships they kept on coming back, coming back. One thing I would say that I’d realised as well was how trauma can pass itself down from generation to generation and part of me going for therapy is that like, I’m saying like this shit stops at me like if I don’t fix it or at least not fix it but if I don’t address it then i’m not I won't be having any kids i won’t be passing this down to the kids for them to be happy kids, so I have the sense of responsibility not just for me but for my future kids, if I do have kids but I actually have a hold of it or actually know how to be able to communicate give them a better chance of you know moving onto erm so when I decided that I wanted to go into therapy I knew that actually I wanted to talk to a black woman I knew that from the get-go, erm, certainly I wanted them to be black cause I felt like there was so much kind of metadata that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with someone… so there was a lot that I.. don’t have to be said like they implicit you erm and I also knew that I’d have to put my own money at it because NHS is … is just ridiculous. I knew that something as personal and as sensitive as taking this step I didn’t want to feel like I was just a number I wanted it to be a process. Plus, I’ve heard like horror stories from friends that did therapy through the NHS erm and it took them a really long time.
SECTION 5 - TOMMY’S STORY CONTINUED.
TOMMY: I don’t think I’m fully out of it yet, but erm, for actually I can see a light now, whereas I couldn’t see one before, and erm, I do get my moments where one, my uh-one day I might think, uhh, that light’s not there anymore, but then the next day which I never used to have before was, the light, w’…I could see the light again, I feel ok, you know? The little things might’ve triggered it off but I couldn’t put my finger on anything in particular…
It’s like my friend: a can of beer and a spliff..didn’t see it wrong…but I see it wrong now. F-find it as an as an escapism, and as a comfort…(beat) but I know it’s not th’, I know at the time I didn’t…I know it’s not helping me now, I know it’s part of it and because of the way I’ve been feeling obviously I’m drinkin’ more than you think more then and smoking more, you think more and tha, and that does make you paranoid…
I’m really…I’m gonna keep my chin up…I’m gonna f’fight this. I’m not gonna let it beat me…nope. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and im gonna make sure I get there…I’ve don’t enough crying now. I don’t wanna keep crying (pause) and er, once I’m in I’m in this place which I know is my own and no one can walk through that door cos it’s locked (sniffs) I can pick myself up then…ummm…get myself back into a job which I KNOW will help my mind…to be active, cos…depression I think, in err, it screws up your mind…set, you don’t feel like it’s yours, it’s someone elses , you feel like you’re being controlled by something and you don’t know what it is…you don’t feel yourself, your personality disappears, that goes. Your laughter doesn’t happen anymore…social life is…can be non existence and I’m not that sort of person, I never used to be. And err, I think there’s a way to go yet…it’s about me and about…my life n’ about w-what am I- where am I going? And I’ve got a sss’ I need to stop these thoughts, get outta the ruts…of sitting down and looking at the walls all day, thinking about things…get up! Get dressed and go out! Even if it’s for 2 hours, to visit someone.
SECTION 6 - JAKE’S STORY.
JAKE: So do you kind of want, a-a-re you gonna ask me questions or do you want me just to tell ya stuff from the beginning? Cause I can, I can talk . . .Once upon a time
Er, so what, so what do you wha- what do you wanna know? No so I, erm, I . . . kind of, to kinda go, go back a little bit . . . I’m gonna talk loads, soz.
The way that I would describe how I felt when I was goin’ through was a bit like when you watch a film and you see somebody who’s stuck under water and they’re scrambling for the top and, you’re watching it and you’re panicking watching them, and you can’t breathe and . . . you’re dying for them, desperate for them to, to reach the top. And that’s like what I felt like every day. I felt like I was watching myself in that situation, I felt like I was constantly treading water and sometimes I would go under, sometimes I would stay above but every day felt like a struggle to me. And it’s only by . . . trying to commit suicide and failing that if you will, and then coming through that other side. It’s only through nearly dying that I realised what it was. And a lot of people wouldn’t have that chance. And that’s the sad and scary part is that I . . . was willing to take my own life thinking that there was no other way through. I, in my head thought that it was the best decision, not for me but for everybody. You know, you’ll have people say that suicide is a selfish act, but it was a selfless act. I was doing what I was doing for everybody else so their lives would be better without me being a burden for them. I would argue that that moment after, so a non fatal suicide, so after an attempt - probably is the most vulnerable anyone can ever be. Because at least when I was trying to kill myself, at least I felt sure about something, I felt in control of something. And I just felt like, worse. Er, so I was just kinda left to just deal with it myself.
So on this day, I was in the car and it and I’d thought everything, I felt like me world was just collapsing in on me and - I didn’t know, I didn’t see any other way out, other than to take me own life and up until that moment, I’d never really thought about doin’ it. I had, maybe thought about how easy it might have been. Erm, you know I, I could have drove into traffic maybe. You know if I was like driving down the road I might think god I could just drive over that bridge there or I could just turn in - how easy, how easy would that be just to do it. And I never thought about doin’ it, up until the moment whe- when I did.
So, the police had to come and see me, because they’d been made aware of everything. Erm, so the policeman came round, he knocked on the door, he walked in. So at this point my mum and dad had - had come to the house and so they left me and this police officer in the front room. And he sat over the - the other side at the end of the room and it feels like he was miles away. And I sat there and he said to me ‘how do you feel now?’ And I said, ‘yeah I’m OK’. And he said ‘well you’re not gonna do that again are ya’. And I went, ‘no’ and he went, ‘OK good lad’. And then he left.
‘Bonobo - Second Sun’ plays
Tommy and Marie enter the stage, sit on chairs parallel to each other and facing the audience. We watch them meet. They end up sat next to and grasping each other.
‘Bonobo - Second Sun’ fades
SECTION 7 - JESSE’S STORY.
JESSE: Hi, I’m Jesse. My parents had this old archaic idea that music was kind of like affecting my mood and my kind of behaviour, which wasn't the case at all I was just a young black teenager trying to navigate a predominantly white town and going to a predominantly white school as well. That definitely had an impact on me growing up as well. Music from then was that one thing I went to to provide me with solace. My parents still thought I was being led down a dark path of sin or whatever, which wasn’t the case. Their kind of discipline towards me seemed to have very religious undertones, which I guess growing up in a Nigerian household is common. But it does actually suppress you in a lot of ways. You feel like you cant express yourself. Looking back, I definitely wish i’d been more aware of my identity back in school than I am now,. I think that’s where a lot of my mental health issues come from if having that lack of understanding of myself. I definitely felt that a lot because in my first year of uni i kind of had a suicide attempt as well. At the time I couldn’t really comprehend what that was. I first started speaking to my friends about mental health in 2014, umm, i remember the night well actually. It was so random as well. I literally just laid it all out and I was surprised about their reaction as well. They were very warm and supportive. After then I never stopped talking about mental health, I never stopped talking about it. Black people are more likely to be criminalised for mental health issues and that can have an impact on mental health and the attitude towards mental health.
SECTION 8 - TOM & MARIE COOKING THE JOINT.
Tommy and Marie are sat in Marie’s living room
TOMMY: I was-got up you know as normal, groundhog day, same old thing happening, people coming round and what not, here we go again. Feeling basically, you know, the same, you know, as I did before, feeling low, lonely, depressed, feeling like /
MARIE: You gotta get out
TOMMY: You know, I really wanted an escape; I wanted to get out of there. Marie text me saying like ‘how are ya? What you up too?’ I said ‘Ah nothing, I’ll pop round and see ya.’. When I saw her - ‘cause I was going on home the Saturday, I was only coming Friday for a couple of hours, for a drink, we ended up staying later and then on the Saturday morning, she was going to Brine for the day and I was gonna just go home! But the lift didn’t turn up so I said ‘I’ll stay with you then.’ And then, a couple of days or so was going by and I noticed there was no one visiting her. She needed help around the house so I thought, well I’m not leaving ya! I’ll help ya! I was only coming Friday for a couple of hours for a drink… and er I aint left since!
They said she’d never walk again, she was in hospital for 6 months//
MARIE: My whole left side was paralysed /
TOMMY: 6 months in hospital! She died basically. She was fit as a fiddle. Went to bed, didn’t know but she’d had a stroke, basically she was dying.
MARIE: Mmm I did nearly die yeah, it was a massive clot. I’m ok, I get about, I know I’m not brilliant but I get about.
TOMMY: She cant use her left arm but / her left leg is starting to work.
MARIE: No, that’s rubbish, that doesn’t do anything that doesn’t.
MARIE: We used to play together...
TOMMY: 7 - since we were 7.
MARIE: All through school.
TOMMY: And we never had nothing to play with, played-we just played /
MARIE: You use your imagination don’t ya
TOMMY: Well, we had the woods and all that. We used to just go up there didn’t we and just explore and /
MARIE: Either up a tree or down the sewers.
TOMMY: Things are a lot better now, yeah, things are definitely a lot better because I’ve got good company that I like and stuff. Still got sort of issues a little bit but I cant really pin -point anything if I’m honest, it’s hard to do that sometimes. I like the intelligent conversation and it does help your mind a lot. It really really does //
MARIE: We do chat a lot / don’t we?
TOMMY: We chat a lot.
MARIE: And because we’ve got our old memories from when / we were kids.
TOMMY: And we’ve got our old memories and we talk about all the modern things going on in the world today and all that-everything like that. And watch our quiz shows and what not. Umm and Marie likes her foot-her sport anyway. We watch the cricket don’t we? She sits on her tablet most the time like.
MARIE: I read a lot, or I did until my dog killed me kindle.
TOMMY: I better check that joint.
Tommy gets up off the sofa and walks into the kitchen to check on the joint of gammon that’s cooking in a slow cooker.
MARIE: (To the audience) He was lively, bubbly, he was Tommy Wilkes. He was good fun. Always pos-positive, funny, always a wind up as well. How he hasn’t been ‘it more to be honest is what baffles me! Good company to be with, so when he told me what he was going though I thought my god not you! I’d never seen him down, I’d never seen him without a smile on his face in all the time I knew him.
Well, I’m glad and I’m not glad. I’m glad that I didn’t see him when he was at his worst but I wish I had because I’d have snapped him out of it. But I’m glad I didn’t see that because it would’ve erm… I mean to say the Tommy Wilkes I know, that wouldn’t have been the Tommy Wilkes
Tommy walks back into the living room
So I was quite shocked to say that he was depressed. It made me think, if it can happen
to him, who was the brightest bubbliest kid, you know… but I didn’t know then what had been going on in his life you know.
TOMMY: Well we do sit here and have a laugh and that
MARIE: You’re Tommy Wilkes, don’t forget that!
Tommy walks back into the kitchen
MARIE: Put it onto auto, the middle one Tom!
MARIE: Put it on auto, it keeps it at a constant temperature!
TOMMY: I don’t know what auto is!
MARIE: It’s the middle one // it’s the middle one, the middle setting. There’s slow auto and high.
TOMMY: You’ve gotta keep topping the water up anyway
MARIE: But if you put it on auto you won’t have too!
TOMMY: I don’t know what auto is!
MARIE: It’s the middle – that switch at the front / it’s the middle one
TOMMY: What put the dial into the middle? Nah forget it, I’ll just carry on as I’m doing, leave it as it is…
Marie slowly gets up and walks, with the help of her stick, towards the kitchen to check the gammon joint
TOMMY: I’m going in to top the water up anyway
MARIE: If you put it on auto it doesn’t...
TOMMY: Well it needs water in it still. Oh I dunno.
Marie is checking the gammon joint in the kitchen
MARIE: Tom, you’ve put it in the steamer
TOMMY: Hold on, what’s she –
MARIE: You’ve put it in the steamer, not the slow cooker!
TOMMY: Yeah, I know, that’s alright ennit?
MARIE: No, put it in the slow cooker!
SECTION 9 - DANIELLE & ADAM’S STORY
DANIELLE: Tinder, good old Tinder. Well, he super liked me so /
ADAM: Yeah /
DANIELLE: And I liked (laughs) No but he, I, actually I, he had his MIND t-shirt on, he was running - doing his marathons on his profile picture. I was like oo mind, yeah. And obviously, you know, liked the look of him so. But we’ve got, we’ve got matching tattoos /
ADAM: We do.
DANIELLE: Coincidentally. So cause he, when we. Complete coincidence. When we first met and he messaged me and was like ‘do you know about . . . ‘ this was before we’d even, this was before we’d even met isn’t it?
ADAM: Yeah, it was when we were just talking cause/ yeah
DANIELLE: / Talking yeah. And he was like have you heard about, have you ever heard about the semi-colon project. So I was like ‘yes’. And he was like ‘oh my god’. It’s to raise awareness for erm, suicide and it’s meant to be like a symbol of hope/
ADAM: / So yeah it’s, semicolon is supposed to mark a point in the sentence where the author could have ended it but chose to carry on instead/
DANIELLE: / So it’s a metaphor. So you are the author and the sentence is your life. So, it’s meant to be.
ADAM: Well, I’ve always wanted one, but I’ve wanted something that means something, to me. When my dad passed away I sort of, it all came together and I thought I need to get something I can remember him by but I didn’t wanna get anything tacky like RIP dad, or something like that. Um, so he killed himself on 4th August twenty fourteen, so just over two years ago now. Um but, up until earlier that year, I’d had absolutely no idea that he’d had mental health problems whatsoever, no. But it must have been around sort of christmas time, new year. So twenty thirteen, fourteen, um that I had - Do you, er do you do you know any of this, have I/ spoken to you?
DANIELLE: Bits, you’ve told me bits.
ADAM: Yeah /
DANIELLE: / Yeah
ADAM: So this is news for you as well. Yeah, um I’d sort of noticed a bit of strange behaviour and a bit of tension between him and my mum and sister as well. Um, so I’d sort of started to ask questions to my mum, who sort of brushed them off and it was clear that she didn’t wanna talk about it. Um, eventually, managed to sort of break her down and was like, look, what’s going on here, there’s something going on. Um, and at that point she told me that he’d been struggling with alcohol, sort of drinking a lot recently and behaviour got stranger, he was taking sort of more days off work, erm, spending a lot of time in bed as well which was odd. It sort of turned out he’d been signed off work with depression, but she’d always tried to keep it a secret - maybe sort of embarrassment, tryna protect us. Um, you know if it it’s the sort of thing you can’t un-know, so it changes your perspective on a person. It certainly did, like at the time I didn’t understand mental health, depression, any of that stuff, I didn’t have a clue how to deal with it, when it was in my home like that, just sort of constantly, um. I’d really dread going home from work, cause I didn’t really wanna face it.
DANIELLE: Did you ever speak to your dad about it? Or did you just try to avoid it?
ADAM: On a couple of occasions I tried to, but if I tried to talk about it, he’d usually break down and just sort of say he wanted to be left alone….do nothing but be alone with his thoughts, Um...
(9 second pause)
But yeah, sorry i’m struggling where t’ i-i- people usually ask me questions so i’m just telling the story as it is. Um, my mum came into my room, kinda looking a bit solemn and I could hear my sister being sick and I was like fuck, this is not good. Whatever’s going on. Um, and she said we’re just, um the police have just been round and found dad’s car, um, and a body in the river. Um, so that, in, that night was fucking horrible. Like, how do you deal with that whatsoever? But, like, there was a very very small part of - and I hate saying things like this - but a very small part of me that was relieved, cause like, I was like, shit I don’t have to deal with this anymore, this isn’t a thing. And like I, like I didn’t have a clue, I didn’t understand whatsoever back then.
(5 second pause)
It - it’s really strange to speak about it like this as well cause I-I-I feel like people that didn’t know me before it happened, like Danni, um, they’ve got this impression of him that this was who he was and it wasn’t that at all. That was maybe the last three months of his life but,. I still hold onto the fact that, you know, he might’ve killed himself, he might’ve done that, but i don't believe that’s how he felt - it might’ve been how he felt in the moment - he didn’t want to be alive anymore, but that wasn’t who he was overall. Nah, he’s absolute-before that he was just brilliant, like something my friends always said that they wished that my dad was theirs (Laughs). It’s a stupid thing to say but...
ADAM: Great, thank you
DANIELLE: Thanks guys, it was nice to meet you all anyway.
DANIELLE: Are we gonna get pizza?
SECTION 10 - MASCULINITY
JAKE: I think it’s this idea of, of being . . . weak or being thought of as weak, um and being kind of, the idea of, of what it, you know, you know as I describe what, what ya think ya have to be as a man.
DANIEL: It’s almost like a lot of us are living a half life. So there’s like certain emotions we’re not able to . . . we feel like we’re not able to express. And that’s kinda being half way human right? Cause you’re a human, you’re - you have a range of emotions um, but I feel like for men, there’s, there’s certain emotions that, like ok you gotta, you gotta put a hat on it
JAKE: I think there’s a myth that men don’t wanna talk about it. I think the reality is, men don’t know where or how to talk about it.
DANIEL: We’ve got a whatsapp group, which is just like, a bunch of black guys, um and yeah we just kinda just built it to yeah, to be more open. Having a space where I feel like I can just be myself as a man is very important as well.
DANIEL: Um, it’s not like it’s a bad thing, it’s just that it is different. Um, so having a, having a space where I - well I can just be myself, as a man, is very important as well.
JAKE Only because I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through, do my friends talk to me about it. And even then, I can see them struggling to.
DANIEL: And yeah, like sometimes in the group chat, we’ll be like when, when was the last time you cried. You know, and I guess a lot of, for a lot of people, the last time they cried was like years ago and now I can’t think of not having shed tears for like more than, well for me like more than a few months. Sometimes, I just, I just need a cry. Sometimes it just, it just needs to come out. And I think, um kind of remapping or kinda re - rejigging that relationship with crying, um as a process of not like something bad but actually maybe it’s a process of healing.
JAKE: After I tried to - after I went public about everything that I went through, my best friend was in my house and he said, I’m on antidepressants as well. And I didn’t know. He didn’t know that I was going through it, and I didn’t know that he was going through it. But we both were at the same time. We were talking to ea- to each other every single day; we were going out with each other two, three nights every single week. But we never spoke about it. Why?
Daniel leaves the stage.
JAKE: When I was going through kind of the worse part of depression - And it, and it was kind of a lot of different things, it was money, it was work. But one of the biggest things that I kind of struggled with was, um, the idea of, of being a man and what that meant to be a man. And that- those expectations of men in in in, the you know in the world that we live in now, kind of what my idea and thought of that was was that we had to protect, we had to, you know, make the money, we had to own a house, we had to be able to stand up to people to fight. Protect ourselves, protect our, our partners, erm. To be what I thought was manly, and aggressive, probably. Erm and I was kind of struggled with that and one of the things in particular that I struggled was the idea of being a dad. I always wanted to be a dad but when I was goin through the really heavy depression, I just could never imagine me’self being capable of being man enough to being able to to to have a child and to look after and protect a child and it, you know, I couldn’t imagine me’self holdin’ a baby and I felt like so small. That was kinda like the really overwhelming feeling that I had is that I felt so small and inadequate next to what I thought were like giants of men. When you go out somewhere and walk into a club or something and especially with kind of with girls and stuff and I’d be like I can’t, I can’t match the real men you know.
‘Massive Attack - Angels’ plays
Tommy sits alone clutching his blanket. He covers his face with the blanket.
‘Massive Attack - Angels’ cuts out
SECTION 11: CRISIS
ALEXANDRA: I’d say like being in crisis, like when I have felt like suicidal. I'd say like it is like a panic it’s like you know like a tightening in your chest erm, it’s a feeling that’s so bad and so consuming that you want out of it, and obviously emergency services are a piece of shite so erm you know, what do they say you can do, you can go to a&e and then you’ll sit in A&E for three or four hours waiting to be seen for someone all while you’re feeling in this absolute panic state when all you want is out, see someone and like, from my experience they’ll sort of say you know why don’t you.. have you tried doing some colouring when you’re feeling like this, that kind of thing so… I don’t think there is anywhere for anyone to turn. People that know that I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through and are now suffering from mental health problems themselves will say to me well I’m thinking of going to the doctors and you know, I wanna say, amazing, good for you, you’re doing the right thing like, don’t worry it’s all gonna get sorted, but I don’t believe that for a second. I’d never discourage someone from going to the doctors. It’s obviously better than nothing, but it’s barely better than nothing.
SECTION 12: CAN’T GET MOTIVATED
TOMMY: I can’t get motivated. I can’t really get motivated, but when I do get motivated, I do… I don’t stop. I’m non stop. Yeah I sometimes really can’t get motivated at all. But like I say, it only takes me to get dressed and go and have a wash, brush my teeth: I’m motivated, go to tescos, I’m happy, I’ll do things all day then, non stop. Then sometimes, it’s not that I’ve got a …fear of people coming round or whatever I just sometimes don’t want any outsider, I don t, I’m not happy with that at the minute…bit anxiety n’ not to happy with outsiders, even though I do cope with it..but er…sometimes, or some days, I definitely feel like, I could be just on me own all day cos I don’t wanna any, I don’t wanna talk to no one. so something’s arranged like tuesday at 1 o’clock, I’d start to get a bit thingy now , thinking shit, I’ve got to plan, I’ve gotta, gotta do things by 1 o’clock, n’I gotta do this, gotta do that… I don’t want that at the minute, I just wanna to do what I want and I do love company as well. But some days I jus’ don’t want it.
MARIE: And there’s times I’d try and him out and it’s it’s getting more and more difficult.
TOMMY: I’m not socializing, you know? And I do like socialising, but cos I can’t it’s pissing me off at the minute because money wise as well, but also… sometimes I don’t want to.
MARIE: But it’s different from physical to mental. It’s very different. Everything that’s happened to me you can mark and improve by the day, cos you can see it so \\ therefore that gives you positive thoughts then. But you can’t see improvements through something’s that’s going on mentally, what goes on inside your head, I mean we’ve all had a little bit of medically training through first aid, or or common sense, or seeing someone go through thing an’ you can help all you can do something, but I think when it’s mentally, there’s very little things you can actually do to help, apart from just be there and chat. \\
TOMMY:: yeah cos sometimes you do’, you don’t know why you feel like it neither, and it’s- it’s-it’s so hard to explain or out your finger on…I feel like, I feel like this because of this. It’s a multitude of things that \\…bring it on.
MARIE: I think -I think- I think, you’ve got a little store cupboard up there haven’t yer? And all your shitty things go in there and then one day somebody comes in with a key and opens up and all those things you can deal with on a one by one basis, all come, together, and it’s like over-overload isn’t it?
SECTION 13 - LEARNT EXPERIENCES
GAVIN: No one’s born confident. No one is born nervous or anxious. You know, we can have the argument over nurture or nature and that, genetic predisposition to things but, what we generally find for people is no one is born with any fears other than allegedly, a fear of falling from heights and a fear of loud noises. The- the- these two appear to be evolutionary in nature. But essentially, what happens is, we have an experience and we store with that experience a memory and with that memory we code emotions to it. So bearing in mind, we’re born as a blank canvas, and then, you start the process of living and having experiences, and its through that process that we have experiences that we learn for the first time, oh this is what love is. Or, this is what fear is, or this is what excitement is and this is what anger is. And so we actually learn all this like a, a sponge. In that early period of learning to walk, learning to talk, to see, to dress, we’re learning our emotions. Everything is learned behaviour, you aren’t born that way, so, if you have a positive experience, you store a positive emotion. If you have a negative experience, and this is all about perception, then you have a negative emotion against it, which is why one person’s playground is another one’s nightmare. No one’s born that way, it’s a learnt experience. That’s really good because if this is a learnt experience, that means you can unlearn it. And people can be good at everything, including positive and negative behaviours, including positive and negative emotions. So you probably know someone who’s really good at worrying, and they’ll find something to worry about no matter what it is. And you probably know someone who finds it very easy to get angry, and they can get angry about anything. It’s just learnt behaviour. It’s just what they’ve been taught and it’s just what they’ve learnt. If you’ve learnt it, you can unlearn it. If it’s something that’s getting in the way or blocking you, you can change it. And this goes right from someone who’s in a deeply damaging space where they imagine, they’re even contemplating suicide. And normally, that’s associated with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, connected to experiences that for them were sad. Now, that’s a generalisation, it could be other emotions in there as well, but normally, everything’s to do with emotions. So if you can help people to release or shift, the old negative emotions that are connected to memories or experiences in their past, then you allow them in - to go into a new space where they learn something new. All of this stuff I’m talking about is an inside job. All of it. Thing is, people don’t give us . . . anxiety or sadness, we manufacture it, we synthesise it, we create it inside through how we process information coming in through our senses and that thought pattern then creates an emotion, creates a state, creates a behaviour. It’s all done inside. Because if that wasn’t true, I could go down to Tescos and buy you a bag of confidence, but I- but I can’t can I?
SECTION 14 - I NEED TO SEE SOMEONE
NICK: If you broke your leg. You’d go see a doctor – you are sick! You’re not weak for needing help You’re not Crazy. You’re sick, go see a Doctor. The school, I mean maybe I should have seen this as a warning sign, but the school offered ‘six free counselling sessions’ Err to any student they felt needed it. Yeah it is it is good that they do it but you sometimes think ‘why do you Need to do that?… How many of your students go off the deep end?’ I guess cos they know it is a tough time. The grief counselor who came she was the woman I went to go See initially, erm, and I didn’t like her. Er. I really, I Can’t remember it was something about her. That really just. Rubbed me the wrong way. Erm. But she, we had a couple of sessions, and she said ‘I’m gonna refer you to someone else. You don’t like me. You’re not digging this.’ Basically. Erm. She had Blonde hair. And a Face. I can’t she just seemed really endlessly, annoyingly patient which pissed me off. I had no idea what to expect from a therapy session, that’s the er, that’s the other thing. I don’t know, I don’t know What I wanted. I think my only experience of therapy was what I’ve seen in and TV and Films and – or you know Good Will Hunting, that prime sort of Hollywood trope where they’ve only sort of got one patient really. And that’s their whole focus. And you expect, I dunno like the big breakthrough moment and like that shit just doesn’t happen.
Went in had my first session And I finally said all these things that I hadn’t really said out loud to anyone, and all the Thoughts and all the talking about Self Loathing, and the self-consciousness and what have you. And, and I left and in my head just like Ah Well, you know, That’s That! That’s that’s dealt with! And then being surprised to find Oh I don’t Feel any better. Erm. I thought it would be like lancing a boil or something, get it all out Ah well thank you. I am well. That was the problem I was bottling it up and now I haven’t. Thank you. Here’s some money.
Obviously that didn’t happen, and then I saw another woman, who, again it’s the old stereotype what you get if you listen to Woody Allen films the joke of the therapist doesn’t Do anything. They just sort of sit there: ‘Mmhmm. Mmhmm. How do you feel about that?’ But it kind of was like that. And that pissed me off. Give me something to Do or some sort of comment or something I can work on. I’ve just been talking at you for about forty minutes and this is not, it felt very one way. I guess I felt I imagined more of a dialogue? So then, the end of the six sessions came and she, this woman who’s name I can’t remember. This was the new woman, the second woman who I liked better but not a whole heap. Mainly I was just averse to going to see a doctor. I’d sort of accepted that I needed to do it, but I wasn’t gonna be happy about it.
But so at the end of the sessions she referred me to an NHS er Psssychologist? Chiatrist? I don’t know which is which, I think psychiatrist. And I went and met with this guy and he dealt a lot more with sort of CBT and er, and whathaveyou. And I went in for my initial chat with him. And he said, alright well, I’m gonna give you this Chart and I want you to Mark on you know each day on a scale of one to Five how you’re feeling. And I was like Okay now we’re Talking, Alright! Let’s Therapise this Bitch! But again I remember chatting with my friend who’d, the oone who initially persuaded me to go see the doctor about how I didn’t really like these women, and she said: ‘that happens. I went sort of through four or five therapists before I found the person I’m seeing now, before I found The One.’ Cos that is where it does differ from going to see a doctor about a broken leg or whatever cos a doctor will go oh your leg’s broken. Let’s do this, and then it’s fixed, whereas this is just, you know it’s a long ongoing process. You need to have a decent connection with your doctor and so she said ‘Yeah you know I went through four or five. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes people click right away, other people, like meeting anybody making friends meeting boyfriends girlfriends whatever. These things take time. I guess I was I Guess I was anxious to just get things Moving. I’d sort’ve gone ok fine I’ve accepted I’ve got a problem I’ve accepted I need to go to a doctor. Fix This. Let’s Fix it! No one at any point said, you know this could take years. This is it’s an ongoing thing, you know.
Like earth. So I was a little annoyed. That’s probably why I was so against the doctor thing. I was Impatient. I was an ‘Impatient Patient’.
‘Mono16 - Dictaphone’ plays
Sam enters the stage, a spotlight. The ensemble enter the stage in a semi-circle around him, portraying his various doctors. The doctors are invasively manipulating him into various Alexander Technique positions.
‘Mono16 - Dictaphone’ fades
SAM: I don’t know where to start really. I mean…
SECTION 15 - THERAPY
JAKE: I mean, a massive problem straight away is that you had to sign in, in a public reception in, er in a building that was shared with loads of different businesses and all that and you all to sign in in one place. And you all had to write your name and say you were going to counselling, which is a problem. Stupid.
MISHA: Ok, so, who am I? Alright. So my name’s Miiisha and...I have been in the psychology profession, for about...about si- yeah bout six years. Everything we do in CBT is ummm, it is evidence based, so it’s a scientific, psychological discipline. In a way, we kind’ve help you to discover what we’re thinking. I wouldn’t just say to you, “hey look! This is what we’re gonna do today, go and do it, goodbye” ya know? I’ll sit down an...I’d maybe have a conversation with you about...what it’s been like for you. Have you told anyone you’re doing CBT?
ALEX: I went to the doctors, I went to the doctors, told them how I was feeling and they basically just said ‘you’ll be fine, you’re just-you’ll be fine, just keep going, you’ll be fine’. She basically just dismissed how I was feeling. She was rolling her eyes the whole time. “Here you go, this’ll fix it.” And it’s just like no I wanna, like literally talk to someone about it.
JAKE: And then she’d talk to ya about problems you were goin’ through. And I - you would spend that time opening up about things you’ve kinda been hiding from. Things you’ve been suppressing. Things that you might not have known that you were even going through and you were basically opening wounds. Erm . . and those wounds couldn’t be closed in the time that ya had. And then you were being sent back out. Into the big bad world and I was leaving the sessions feeling worse.
SAM: I don’t know where to start really, I mean . . .
MISHA: Would you like to bring someone in to sit down? So what have you noticed about, you know, what you’re doing the night before? Are you just going to bed straight away? What’s your eating habits like? What were you thinking...what was going on in your bodeee, you know? How did you feel and how did you respond? N’ those, those things are not gonna be easy to answer.
JAKE: You’d get like homework or something, ya know, like aw go home and write about this and I’d think, “Why would, why would I wanna do that? I’m tellin’ ya about how shitty I feel. Why do you think I’m gonna go home and relive things, ya know.
ALEX: The thing with me is I don’t process things like most people do. So I - something shit could happen, which to the normal person would just be, ‘aw that’s annoying’, whereas for me it’s like oh my god it’s the end of the world. Like it’s sorta like everything’s like aw god that’s the end of that, that’s the most worse thing that’s ever gonna happen to me, and then something worse happens and then it just gets worse and worse and worse. So, first time obviously I was struggling with it was when I was 15 and I was having a shit time at school, getting bullied and stuff and wasn’t really dealing with it, didn’t really talk to anyone about it cause, obviously you don’t ever wanna admit you need that sort of help at that age. Um, it got to a point obviously where I was 15 I tried to hang myself, um, in a woods.
SAM: I don’t know where to start really, I mean . . .
MISHA: You know, you don’t tend to find people or men in their mid twenties coming to therapy that often. Mmmen tend to be quite difficult to engage with. You know, it’s reeeeally haaard to open up.
JAKE: Er so I was feeling worse so as a way of kind of protecting myself, I just lied about how I felt, erm and I became quite a good liar over time.
ALEX: I basically went and hung myself and my friend had followed - one of the guys had followed me cause he could see how upset I was. And he basically lifted me up and cut the rope down. So that was the first time, obviously I had a problem. And I went to the doctors, I went to the doctors, told them how I was feeling and they basically just said ‘you’ll be fine, you’re just-you’ll be fine, just keep going, you’ll be fine’. She basically just dismissed how I was feeling. And then I thought, oh maybe, maybe I’m just being dramatic or something. And like, it was, it was hard to work out. Especially at a young age.
JAKE: I told her everything that she wanted to feel. I told her that I’d done all the things that she wanted and that I was feeling alright in the end actually. And I just lied, and it became like a, it became just a, a bigger burden then.
ALEX: She was like, “Oh, here’s some, here’s some anti-depressants”. And I was like yeah but I don’t wanna take anti-depressants because I don’t even feel like you’re qualified to know what type of anti-depressants I am. You’re not listening to me.
MISHA: Anybody that works in mental health services is fuuuully aware of this y’know? This is conversations that, we’ll have not only in team meetings, business meetings, you know conferences...all the way down to jus’ general chit-chat in the office you know? But we’re so aware that...people are not getting the help that they actually need. There’s very little that, you know, that we can do as individuals when there’s such a big structure that determines how it works. You know you want to help, you reeeally want to help, there’s been so many times, you know I can’t even count on my fingers, how many times I’ve sat on the other end of the phone, and someone said to me “this is just – this is BS you know? I-I I’ve waited 6, 7 months to get therapy an it’s just crap
ALEX: Um, so I pushed forward for like the CBT, so she put me forward for that eventually, um and that took maybe 10 months until they contacted me.
MISHA: You know they, people get upset they’re angry they’re frustrated they’re sad, they’re...you know they’re overwhelmed, they’re scared, you know you’re just thinking, what can I actually do apart from apologise? It’s...this is just how it is.
JAKE: And I lied and I became such a good liar that she discharged me and she said that I was fine and I was fit and healthy and I think it was like two weeks after that was when I tried to take my own life.
MISHA: There’s soo many other people wanting the same thing at the same time and it’s almost impossible to to prioritize everybody...and...it can be so disheartening to kind’ve...just know that actually there’s people really out there that genuinely need to help but they’re not able t’...they’re not able to get it the way that they should.
SECTION 16 - TRIGGERS AND DIAGNOSIS
SAM: I don’t know where to start really, I mean, going to Uni is big trigger to realising you’ve got some issues. Because for me like… although I’ve had it quite bad… I mean I’ve got a whole cocktail of things and I’m still trying to work out what it is exactly that I’ve got.
I think the main one is sort of this umm… this constant obsessing over my posture, because I started getting loads of like- because when you’re anxious and like a bit depressed (because that was sort of like a side effect of the anxiety, you get quite like down) so you get actual pain, like when you think you’re having a heart attack, you think you’re chest is getting tight blah blah blah. It’s like you think that the tension is your fault. So I got to this kind of stage where for three years I was kind of in this stage where all my thoughts were focused on readjusting my posture and sort of trying to figure out why this pain was happening. It was constant, yeah, it was mad. When I went to the doctor, because I was just saying ‘my neck hurts, my shoulders hurts, whatever, I’m tense’… they just pointed me in the direction of physical ailments like physiotherapy. I did that and I did Alexander Technique. Which almost sort of made me believe that I was better because the second I’d start to think- I’d have on and off periods where I was like oh I’m better! Then because of my mental state changing, my physical state changed and I did actually feel better! But I didn’t piece that together I thought – oh this technique that I’m doing is sorting me out. That’s quite ridiculous like that.
I literally had delusions that my body was misformed and stuff like that. Yeah, I would look in the mirror and it would look disjointed and rotten. I had that for about three years and I could sort of deal with it and I didn’t realise umm that it was a mental disorder fully until I came to Uni, because that’s when I started not being able to function at all. I went to the doctors saying there’s something wrong with me but not physically, I think. And then I got the diagnosis and everything changed. I was like - oh shit, here we go!
Mental illness is a spectrum, it’s not just, oh you have that or you have that, or you have that! So I’d get… well I’ll get onto that later. But my coping mechanism was to be more open about it, which I think is fairly rare.
Also, just as an off point – the whole thing about mental health being an epidemic now… like is it? Or are we just getting more diagnosis because people are finally opening up about it? Maybe it’s always been like this, but because in the past peoples lives were genuinely a lot harder like… perhaps because we aren’t evolved to this lifestyle it is a much bigger thing now.
GAVIN: You know, they’ve got manuals with hundreds and hundreds of different diagnoses and then when you ask well what do you do about it and you know, you medicate, or institutionalise, or just leave them, just leave someone with a horrendous label. CBT and counselling, if they help someone, then that’s great, but what I have noticed is they never really release, get rid of the old emotion. And that’s like releasing steam from a saucepan that’s on the stove? So, you release the steam, you put the lid back on. And then, because of the heat source the water boils and as I said at the beginning, if you don’t put out the fire in your past, you’ll keep being distracted by it. And it’ll be like trying to walk forwards in life but you’re facing the wrong way round and you’re dragging all your weight and emotion with you and eventually you’re gonna fall in a pot hole.
SECTION 17 - STIGMA
ALEXANDRA: Ok so stigma
ALEX: People at work or whatever wouldn’t notice that I was depressed but obviously my wife would notice that I was depressed
ALEXANDRA: Everything you hear is that everyone’s gonna understand and everyone’s gonna support you you only have to speak up if you’re feeling this way
ALEX: she knows I’m depressed but she was constantly putting pressure on me like judging me, judging the way I was dealing with it
ALEXANDRA: Everyone’s lead to believe that if they can bring themselves to admit that they are suffering then everything’s gonna be fine and everything’s gonna get sorted for them and that’s all that they need to do but it’s actually so far from the truth
ALEX: She’s a still constantly blaming me. My im.. erm my imaginary illness is the reason
ALEXANDRA: In moments of frustration I’ve been called selfish. I’ve been called a horrible person erm, self absorbed erm, there’s a lot of like can’t you see what this is doing to us? it was like they thought they could guilt trip me out of it.
ALEX: My wife’s friend be like ‘no you’re just the worst person ever you need to just snap out of it.’ If I could just no one would why if you could just snap out of it you wouldn’t be depressed in the first place, would you? Cause no one wants to be depressed, no one wants to feel, shit no one wants to feel suicidal, no one wants to feel worthless.
ALEXANDRA: If people are going round calling you a flake because you didn’t show up somewhere but they know full well that that’s because you suffer from social anxiety and you sometimes don’t make it… they are not supporting you.
ALEX: people don’t understand it at all they there, they're just like oh you just want to be depressed or you just want to be down about stuff like why don’t you just pick yourself up? but i literally it’s like a part of my brain I’m missing that part of my brain that can just pick myself up. Its like, I just don’t know how to do its and it’s like I know… I know I need to do it and I know how people do it like I know people but I don’t feel like I can do it, it’s really weird, it’s just so hard to describe.
ALEXANDRA: There’s a sort of a perception that you’re just a lazy person you’re weaker than other people and that’s why you let these feelings get to you, and you know some people are thicker skinned than others but that’s not the case it can happen to anyone.
SECTION 18 - CRICKET
Tommy and Marie are sat in their living room watching a game of Cricket on the
Tommy shouts at the TV
TOMMY: Right… yes… lov-yeh! Got ball!... Come on England!
Where did my love for sport- I don’t know where it started really, you cant really
pinpoint that to be honest with ya. I think it’s just in ya. As a kid, we’re out ten
hours a day kicking a ball on a field.
Tommy shouts at the TV
Catch him! Catch him!.... Yes! Yes!.... Come on!.... This is big!.... Come on!
(TO THE AUDIENCE) Sorry folks! Yeah well, I’m gonna go to ashes in Australia.
That’ll be amazing because England – Australia you know the competition! I’ll be at my happiest doing that. ‘cause I am feeling better anyway… erm… sort of. It’s a massive, massive thing to talk to someone. Don’t ignore it. Don’t refuse
help. If I could go back sort of, five years or whatever it was, I would’ve accepted help. Don’t ignore your friends and that’s what I’ve seemed to have done! Rather than talk to them, you know, rather talk to them really. Well, I’ve spoke to Marie so that’s helped a lot! But no, don’t keep anything inside to be honest. Don’t. But you know we’re on the conversation about talking? Can you shut the fuck up for a minute because there’s three balls left… and this is crucial!
Yes! Right, they’ve got two balls left to get six runs… please don’t get a four now because it’ll be on the edge of the seat now. I am anyway!
Tommy shouts at the TV
Come on! I want a dot ball next!
(TO THE AUDIENCE) Sorry folks!
Oh catch that! No… Yes! Yes! Massive!... Right, they’ve got one ball now and
they’ve gotta get a six runner… six runs. It ain’t happening! Don’t you dare let it
(TO THE AUDIENCE) I bet you lot are on the edge of your seats now int ya!
(LAUGHS) One more to go…
Because you do get emotional as well, a lot, about little things sometimes. Even,
you know, I don’t know why. And I never ever in my life thought I’d feel like this.
Tommy shouts at the TV
Come on! Yey! Job done! England have won!
SECTION 18 - HOPE
JAKE: All my life, I wanted to be a dad. That is what I had always dreamt of. It was the one thing I thought about every single day and it was the last thought in my head before I tried to end my life. As I sat alone in my car, trying to cut deep enough, that thought remained in my head.
Now, three years on, I am preparing to celebrate Father’s Day, my first I will as a father to a beautiful six month old baby. A happy, healthy, warm, fed and protected baby who looks at me with eyes that fill me with a feeling of complete and utter gratitude; gratitude for what I have, gratitude for what I almost gave up.
His face is a face of hope and an example that, no matter how bad things can be, you should never give up. You will get through it, there is another side. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, a light that can be dulled at times, sometimes seemingly blown out, but it is a light that will always exist as long as you exist.
I didn’t think being happy could be a possibility again. I didn’t think I could achieve my dream, I didn’t think I deserved to. But I did. Whatever you are feeling, somebody else has felt it too. Whatever you are going through, somebody else has been there too. There is help available, there is experience available. You are not alone and you never will be.
MARIE: Well it just kind of happened, I mean, he came at the right time for me, I mean, I was very low and err lonely /
TOMMY: We both was
MARIE: I need someone, not just to look after me, I needed a companion. He’s been invaluable to me. The things he does, something’s are not even like things that you’d normally expect; like doing my diner or doing some house-work or going shopping, it’s not just them it’s the little things! Well, when I get up, for the first few steps, my rhythm is a little bit dodgy and no matter what he’s doing he’ll put his hand out and he helps me over.
TOMMY: But err…
TOMMY: It’s worked both way’s hasn’t it. We’ve helped each other so, you know, massively really / because I was on a really low eb and I just needed some stability at that time.
MARIE: But he is really kind
MARIE: He did, I mean, it turned out to be- you know-it wasn’t just a roof over his head, he’s got a home now haven’t ya?
TOMMY: I’ve got a home again, yeah.
MARIE: Yes… which was a massive thing for him, he needed that stability, he’s got a home, / somewhere to call home. Somewhere where he’s comfortable. His little sanctuary, he needed that.
MARIE: Now he’s got a great big wardrobe and he’s ironed-washed and ironed all his things. / Yes he’s got his iron and he’s happy.
TOMMY: I’ve got my own home, my own comforts. Everything I need. The bedroom’s big, the bed’s amazing, it’s massive and I do sleep in here sometimes.
MARIE: If he’s lucky!
TOMMY: Marie said if I’m lucky (laughs) got wardrobes in here and stuff and all that but because Marie’s disabled we’ve got two fucking scooters in here and it’s just clogged and I don’t like things clogged.
We cheer each other up don’t we? / We chat away and we have a laugh
MARIE: Oh we do yeah, we chat away… we talk absolute nonsense / a lot of the time!
TOMMY: Talk a load of rubbish a lot of the time but…
MARIE: If you were to tape our conversations in the morning you’d think, what on earth are they on about?
TOMMY: Everything is different about both of us in a lot of ways
MARIE: everything we both do we do it for one another
TOMMY: But Marie’s picked up, she’s been out shopping and bought a loads of nice clothes now to make herself feel better and I’ve done the same and you know /
MARIE: It’s given me great pleasure to treat him, say we can go in a lovely holiday, you know, holiday of a lifetime
TOMMY: Yeah the progression since I met Marie has been huge! Mentally and everything wise hasn’t it? So… It’s been good! We don’t really have ups or downs or bad days do we?
MARIE: No, we might have a blast, couple of minutes and it’s over
TOMMY: A little moan more than anything maybe but… yeah I didn’t, I mean, before I moved to Marie’s I didn’t even have a bed it was just a sofa so, you know. There was no privacy… or privacy or anything like that. It was just a sofa. But where I’m living now with Marie is fantastic! I go to bed when I want!
‘cause I still have days where I feel low and down because you don’t- well you must get out the woods at some point but I’m pretty close to the edge as I’ve been for a long time so… as in getting out the woods. I’m not out the woods. /
MARIE: But there is light at the end of the tunnel / isn’t there?
TOMMY: But I can see the light, the edge of the woods, I couldn’t before.
We had a great night last- yesterday though! Ahhh – Anastasia was brilliant herself! But when Lionel come out that was it! It was fucking brilliant. All of it, Dancing On The Ceiling, All Night Long, everything was going on! Ya know, we’re s-s-tood, we’re on out seats, but you get up, stand up, but ye can’t really…go bonkers dancing n that, so I tried to get in the isle, but they wouldn’t let me in the aisle! So…but yeh! So Marie got up and leant on the seat in front, dancing away…and I was the seat behind her, on the aisle seats, I wanted to get in the aisle so I could…you know pull out some moves and that…w-wouldn’t let me. Not allowed. (Laughs) Well! Err, my favourite’s gotta be Dancing On The Ceiling I suppose really, uhhh, “Oh what a feelin! Dancing on the ceiling!” Y-you know it anyway? You know it anyway. And three times he played it, obviously on that one so a little smoochy time, n’…
I’ve been workin’ really for like, err, probably over the last month, jus’ doing, fitting bathrooms and kitchens n’ stuff. I’ve been feeling much better before, but I feel even better now I’m getting’ out a lot more n’ stuff…eating for England and stuff. Well because… \\ cos I’m not really drinking now so the beer doesn’t sorta, suppress my ‘unger, you know it surpresses me hunger so I don’t really want food, I jus’, you know, I didn’t want food. I didn’t even wanna go in the kitchen, at sometimes. Y’know, that’s how much I hate – I didn’t want food. \
MARIE: He’s not drinking!
MARIE: (pointing at Tommy) Easier to live with! He’s not so grumpy!
TOM: Yeah cos I think what it is as well with like, if you drink…like if call an alcoholics, there’s different forms, I know, but alcoholics n’ tha’, t’honest withyuh, with you, the same as… alotta errm, drug addic-addicts that people have, you are a selfish person. And what’f- what what I was tending to do was sometimes I’d have a moan because ‘ ah no I don wanna…dp that I don’t wanna go up there and really I’d just wanna go for a pint, where fff where as now, I don ‘t care where I go, you know that’s \
MARIE: Yeah he’s easier to live with.
TOM: Jus ironing before we go…to \ Turkey
MARIE: where we going? To Turkey…\ today!
TOM: Yes we’re off…today! Today, we’re gone! Check in at the airport, straight away facebook’s gonna get bombarded…to death with photos, so…yes I’m very excited, i[m still in my jama’s at the minute, gotta shower, shave…batmans of course. Spending time with you, will, be fantastic erm..
TOM: Chilling out but I‘ve been working lately so the break, it’s gonna be lovely. And err, really, cos I’ve never been to turkey neither, so I wanna experience the Turks…way of life…how they live, so that…be interesting to me. And err basically yeah just enjoying myself, chilling out and not worrying about a thing, really.
But er, the food as well, I wanna…get me kebabs, I wanna kebab, especially, I mean…I like kebabs anyway if you’re going to Turkey, it’s like when you’re in Rome innit? You gotta, you know…do as they do! I jus’ wanna get in that airport…the ‘oliday starts then.
MARIE: ‘Specially since I’ve been disabled, assist – wheelchair assistance \ – it’s fabulous you just go straight to the front of everythink.
TOM CONT: We’ve got belly dancing as well, ain’t we? When we’re there. I’ll do a bit of belly dancing.
MARIE: There will be belly dancing, yes.
TOM: I’ve got a bit of a belly…bit of a belly now, so I might as well use it.
TOM: Karaoke bars! Singin’ our ‘ead off! Everythink about it, like I say, the word holiday’s enough – it’s a holiday. I’m gonna enjoy.
TOM: But I suppose it’ll end it off when you see me dancing on the ceiling again in Turkey wunit? That’ll that’ll be sorta the end everything then \\ so I’m back to normal…back to me. That will be the end and then erm, obviously I’ll have t’ come down and see the play so, we’ll have to party that night.
MARIE: He’s gone hysterical, he’s back to being Tommy Wilkes.
SECTION 20 - ADVICE
TOM: Quite difficult really to give advice in the dark but err, Jus’ try not to dwell on things...jus try n’...basically chin up and get on! It’s hard as fuck, cos I know that.
NICK: You know I did worry I was a little 'woohohohoo'! You know, a little touched in the head. And I think when you realise you're not alone, that you can talk about it without people judging you, erm…i’m not CooCooBananapants!
JESSE: I think that one thing I can just say is be kind to yourself, like, that is honestly it, like I can’t say to anyone to just be yourself because some people don’t have the safety to be themselves if they really wanted to. I can’t just say speak to someone, because it’s easier said than done.
GAVIN: The words we say and the words we think are hugely powerful, if we ask the right questions we can create change in people thats huge.
TOM: by chin up and a little pat on the...just support...a loving comforting / voice
MARIE: yeah. Believe / in yourself
TOM: someone you can believe...in...and yeah...believe in YERself as well. And this person’s telling you you are better than this, you can do it. And you can? We can do anything we want in our life…
GAVIN: And people go oh yeah all that bollocks about positive thinking but remember what is, how does negative thinking serve someone. Ask that question, how does negative thinking serve you.
JESSE: But being kind to yourself and understanding that like-knowing when you need to take yourself out of certain spaces, knowing when you have to stop doing a certain thing. Knowing-being aware of behaviours and having empathy for yourself, like we can have empathy for everyone else around us but if you can’t have empathy for yourself then what’s the point?
NICK: that's the other thing as well is… I was not I was not treating myself the way I would have treated any of my friends. You know if any of my friends had said 'I'm I'm struggling, I'm finding it difficult to get up I'm finding it difficult to go into social situations.' I would have, I like to think I would have done everything I could to Help them.
JESSE: Like, if you can kind of install some form of self love and kind of find rituals that are a form of self care for you and are beneficial for your mental wellbeing then do whatever it is that you need to do. Umm that’s it, yeah that’s all I can say really, but yeah.
GAVIN: And when we learn to be far more insightful with how we speak and how we think and how we ask questions of others, we can create a lot of change in ourselves and in society. So when we use language we should be really careful.
NICK: I’ve just given myself permission to, to feel Bad. To know that it's ok to feel bad it's ok to need help. And it's ok to Ask for that help. And, if your friends are really your friends then they won't care how many times you ask for their help. My grandad always used to say, you know, 'If I can't cry with you I don't wanna laugh with you.' Which is you know, that was his measure of a decent friend. So i've always taken that to heart. Yeah. So if you're only there for the good times you can Fuck Off.
MARIE: But every now again, and as you know I’ve known him m- many many years...one thing is he could always make me laugh.
MARIE: and when we were kids, to adults /
TOM: Cos I’m a prat!
MARIE: he’s a prat! Not a prat in a negative way, you know I love prats: my brother’s a prat, my dad was a prat, all my loved ones are prats…
MARIE: Don’t say much about me, but there you go. But every now again, and it’s more and more like, over the last...I’d say 6 months...he had that flash and I look up at him you know and I’m laughing me head off n that and says: that was Tommy Wilkes. Cos that’s, you know not tommy Wilkes sad, that’s tommy Wilkes how I remember him.
GAVIN: Language, it’s everything. You can load your words into a rifle and fire them at someone, to create a reaction or to attempt to . . . and equally you can send hope and positivity and excitement.
JESSE: Thats it, thats all I can say really
JAKE: I didn’t ever think I would be someone who suffered from depression, I certainly didn’t ever imagine I would be someone who would attempt to commit suicide. A life of pretence is no life at all and contributes to the fact that suicide kills more men in this country under the age of 45 than anything else. I know that now. I didn’t know it then. It’s the end of the story, or the beginning of the next story.
The real, unedited recording of Tommy and Olivia can be heard over the PA system.
TOM: I didn’t know it was the end anyway, but sorry I gotta go so quick, but errrr, lovely to speak to you, but you won’t be able to listen..to us in the next pub cos it’s probably gonna be loud// , but erm...but really...the most important thing of all is...you all have it in a different way - it’s hard to give advice to a certain individual. Best thing to do is just try and try and try - you will get there in the end and I know that cos I am. And I’m very close to getting there. Yeah you will...there is an end. There is a light...you will see it. You will get there.
MARIE: yeah we’re gonna go get pissed now anyway.