Jeremy

Age at interview: 22
Gender: Male
Outline:

Jeremy (age 22), as a mixed race child adopted by a Black family, felt different and alone. He has had dark moods in winter and smokes pot to feel better. He has not been diagnosed nor reached out. Studying psychology, spirituality and being in nature help.

Background:

Jeremy is a psychology student and lives in an apartment with a roommate. He is mixed, Black and White.

See full story

Jeremy has been dealing with “dark moods” since childhood and always felt different and “very self conscious.” He is mixed race, and was adopted and raised in a Black family since 8 months of age. “That’s the only family I know and …my family loves me dearly”, says Jeremy, but “I don’t look anything like my family.” He grew up in the black community, but felt not fully “one of them … feeling that disconnect or being made fun of”. Jeremy recently tried to look for his birth mother, but “that didn’t go through. It didn’t really affect me like one way or the other cause I didn’t know her, I didn’t have any connection to her.” 

His depression, which he considers seasonal affective disorder, starts in the winter. “I would become so sedentary. And I would usually drink more heavily, do more drugs”. He says he gets “stuck in patterns of negativity just over and over. … Negativity begets negativity, it builds on itself”. He does not typically reach out for help, except a “few times to a couple of my friends. I talked to my sister a little bit because she’s dealt with depression.”

Jeremy has never been diagnosed with depression and from his study of psychology in college, he is wary of labeling yourself “cause then you start to act out”. He thinks that maybe he’s “just naturally depressed”. He admits that hearing about diagnoses in class, “I was kinda like nervous… that’s like my personality, and I kind of thought, oh I have this”. 

He thinks that “maybe it’s just the depression, or maybe it’s just the winter”, but that mislabeling is dangerous. Even though he is studying psychology, he has issues with “talking to a stranger about something that personal”. He also acknowledges that, “the black community doesn’t talk about mental illness like they should” but also understands that this stems from a bitter history when “black people were misdiagnosed.” Jeremy has become spiritual, but distinguishes spirituality from religion. “My family’s religious …but I was never a true believer”. He says people do a lot of good things with religion, “but there’s so many fake Christians out there.” Being spiritual for Jeremy “entails being more aware. I really didn’t realize, like, the negativity, and you just get stuck in it and you don’t realize it”. In preparation for the winter, he plans to exercise more, and reach out to people. He wants to “be closer to my mom and dad.”

 

Jeremy accepts that he faces more suffering, but holds on to a bright side of life.

Jeremy accepts that he faces more suffering, but holds on to a bright side of life.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I kind of think of stuff like everything is a balance in life so when something really bad happened then something really good’s gonna happen. Something good’s happened then something bad’s gonna happen. So, that bad thing happened, had me, had me pretty depressed for, for a while. I’m getting, I’m getting over that and now I’m, now I’m that spiritual transition, I’m doin’ a lot better now and things are looking’ on up and I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna keep on suffering for a while. Cause I’ve been, I’ve been in some dark places in my head like, not like, not like I’ll be like in the streets or anything. It’s just I’ve been in some dark places, just myself. So it’s, and after being in that it’s just like I can enjoy, it’s, after being that and understanding that I can avoid it and enjoy life and not miss out on stuff because when you’re depressed you miss out on stuff.

 

Jeremy turns to substances in winter when his depression gets worse.

Jeremy turns to substances in winter when his depression gets worse.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Well, it usually, you know, it usually go through a cycle, like I get, pretty bad seasonal depression, like, as winter kicks in and … usually once it starts to – ’cause I become sedentary, because I do a lot of exercise and working out in the summer, so – but, once winter comes along I just get real sedentary, very quickly and, just, usually … it’s, it depends, it depends on the year, it’s different, but like, it’ll start, it’ll in the winter and, I would like, drink, drink more heavily in the winter, do more drugs, and just really be down on myself wouldn’t really, wouldn’t really want to do anything.

 

Jeremy talks about doing better once he started to reach out.

Jeremy talks about doing better once he started to reach out.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

It’s something I’ve always, I’ve dealt with since I was a child … sometimes just not feeling like I fit in at all and – not that anybody ever made me feel that way in my family, my family loves me, dearly, but, just that disconnect that I was having, I don’t know, sometimes not feeling like anyone understands me. And, I’m doing a lot better now than I was before. I was, in some pretty dark places, just, not reaching out to anybody, not talking to anybody about my issues, and that’s a big thing, too, is, if you don’t talk to anybody it just, makes it even worse. You don’t, you don’t let it out, don’t let anyone know what’s going on. People close to you may not, may have no idea about your predicaments or what’s going through your head.

 

Emotional awareness is the biggest thing Jeremy says he's gained through his depression journey.

Emotional awareness is the biggest thing Jeremy says he's gained through his depression journey.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I’m more aware, that’s the biggest thing. The whole emotional awareness, I was so unaware of my emotions, like, a few years ago. And that’s the other thing that’s surprised me too, it’s like, man, if I’m getting to this level now like where am I gonna be later? But, this whole journey has been, it’s just the whole awareness that’s changed. And once you’re aware of something it’s a lot different, like, if let’s say, try to think of like an example like, if you not, if you haven’t been aware of something, it’s the whole what you don’t know can’t hurt type and like, and ignorance is bliss, that’s what I’m thinking, like, if you don’t know or you’re not aware, you just don’t know, you just, you don’t think about it. So awareness has been the biggest thing. And it makes you like, you’re more on, ah, I’m feeling like this because of this, I’m feeling like this because of this.

 

Jeremy wants to meditate more and try other things, but sometimes just doesn't feel like it.

Jeremy wants to meditate more and try other things, but sometimes just doesn't feel like it.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

So you talked about, you know you like being natural and you said you like, you’re an excerciser in the summer, and you look to spirituality, and do you do anything like meditation or…

Sure, I.

…or diet or herbs or?

I tried it, I try meditation stuff sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. I wanna do it more. It’s one of those things where it’s like where you know you want it, it’s something you should be doing, but you don’t, I’ve meditated before like it’s really, transient is really good, or like listening to tones, certain tones, like, resonance, I don’t know if you know what that is, it’s like earth’s natural frequency.

 

Jeremy feels that a depression diagnosis might act like a self-fulfilling prophecy, making his struggles with low mood -- especially during the winter months -- worse.

Jeremy feels that a depression diagnosis might act like a self-fulfilling prophecy, making his struggles with low mood -- especially during the winter months -- worse.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

And plus like, the whole, the whole, how people don’t like, you know how people are very funny about psychologists, I’m like that. And then it’s funny having studied psychology and then maybe practicing to become a psychologist and to still have and still be kind of against like the whole I, I don’t, like I’m just like any other person even though I know more about the psychological field than the average person. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t like talking about it regardless, I don’t like talking about it to people, like I don’t like really talking about it in general and then I’m talking to someone I don’t know and then paying them too, it’s just not, I don’t, I don’t like that.

Mhmm.

I feel like you, you’re your best psychologist, you know yourself better than someone else and plus they might label you something that you’re not, like you know, you don’t want that.