Tom is a young man, in his late teens who has recently suffered a psychotic episode. He’s been seen by the local EIP service and here he is talking to the person who helped him about his experiences.
Nurse: do you want to say a little bit about yourself then?
Tom: well, I’m Tom, I’m 19, I live in Durham, and about 3 year ago, I was … a total wreck, paranoid all the time, nervous all the time, erm… I got help from me GP, and I've just been getting better since … er …
Nurse: Alright so… can you just tell me what it was like when you … what sort of things you were going through when I first met you?
Tom: erm, er, … paranoia, I remember I couldn’t sleep properly, I er … couldn’t eat, spending all me time at home, I couldn’t leave the house. I felt like I …thought they were following us, watching us, they were gonna jump us … er … and that’s it basically, I just felt like I couldn’t cope…
Nurse: do you remember the stress vulnerability model we talked about?
Tom: is that the bucket?
Nurse: yeah, do you remember we said that bigger your bucket, the less vulnerable you are to stress or psychosis? We talked about the things that happen when you’re younger that make your bucket smaller? Can you remember what these were for you?
Tom: lots of things, I was bullied loads at school, and I was abused when I was 12…
Nurse: are those your vulnerability factors? The stuff that makes your bucket smaller?
Tom: er, yeah, i guess it was pretty small
Nurse: do you remember we talked about all the things that stress you out are like water filling up the bucket? When you were really paranoid and stressed, what things were stressing you out at the time?
Tom: well, me mam left to go to Ireland, and I’m broke I was broke … I dunno, I left school, I guess there was a lot of stuff goin on …
Nurse: it sounds like it. And we said you could make holes in your bucket to sort of drain out the stress, by doing things that would help like talking through your problems with someone. Did anything help then?
Tom: well, … I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to. ..i didn’t really know what would help …
Nurse: What about things you did that didn’t help? Do you remember, we said these things would block the holes in your bucket?
Tom: … I dunno, drugs I think, and erm, just keeping myself in the house all the time.
Tom: not goin out… and I think that’s all like (sighs).
Nurse: … so it sounds like your bucket was pretty small, full of stress, with not many holes to help get rid of the stress. No wonder this was all too much for you … and how are things now?
Tom: better… I can goin out, I don’t feel there’s people watching us or following us or nowt, er …… I don’t take drugs and I don’t drink … and I've sorted me head out now.
Nurse: mm … so… what’s helped do you think? What’s, what’s … what’s changed your mind about people being after you and following you and getting you?
Tom: well, you’ve helped us the most! Aye, you .. you’re the one that’s helped us.
Nurse: what’s … what’s helped about seeing me Tom?
Tom: you’ve helped us talk through it and that and explained that there’s no one there that’s gonna get us and that … that erm… that er… keeping yourself in doesn’t do you any good.
Nurse: no? what do you mean by that?
Tom: er that … that …keeping yourself in, you get used to being in, you don’t get used to goin out… and stuff.
Nurse: OK, so er, would you have any advice for any other people that were going through what you’ve been through?
Tom: just not to stay in the house, keep yourself out… definitely seek for help, cos if you don’t, it just gets more on top of you.
Tom: I felt like I was … I felt like I couldn’t go on no longer. I felt like killing myself… so I think… my advice is to get help, keep yourself out, stop thinking them things, … and just get on with it basically, that’s all you can do, you gotta cope with it … that’s all I’ve gotta say.
Nurse: Ok… cheers… thank you Tom.