John Eccles: the man who talks like an 11-

Which guy had that for you? I think he did. My mum’s asked lots of times now. Usually she was saying: “How did you do that?”. But she’s just not impressed when I do…

John Eccles: the man who talks like an 11-

Which guy had that for you? I think he did. My mum’s asked lots of times now. Usually she was saying: “How did you do that?”. But she’s just not impressed when I do it. It’s as if she doesn’t even notice.

I used to speak very badly in front of people when I was younger. It’s just that I was really quiet and awkward. I always had a high IQ, though. I had a problem with reading, but as I got older it got better.

I left school a few months before leaving GCSEs, and I do believe that had a lot to do with the fact that I couldn’t cope with school. In certain places I was miserable for weeks and I’d go home and lie on the sofa. That started to be a serious issue in my life. It’s the starting point for a lot of my later problems. There’s only one big one – psychopathy – and it’s got a pretty good prognosis. There are more antisocial behaviour problems and more depression, anxiety and antisocial behaviour problems. It has some fairly negative advantages.

My mum only told me that she has cancer in May 2014. It was a year and a bit before the doctor gave me the news, and it was around the time of my second full time job. I hadn’t been in touch very much, I was just trying to get on with it. After about a year, I popped in and he said: “Yes, you’ve got it.” I didn’t really know what that meant. I just thought “OK”. I got paid the next day.

I don’t think I felt bad. It wasn’t as if it took away my sense of life. It was a bit like going through your official bankruptcy.

I wasn’t saying: “Mum, you’re gonna die soon.” It was quite a long time – that was the little bit of planning that I did about how I was going to cope with the subsequent cancer treatment. I left school early to go to the hospital when mum told me that her cancer had spread and she was going into radiotherapy. The experience reinforced that I didn’t want to be around when my mum’s dying. I started turning my life around.

My mum came out of the radiotherapy job successfully. I was with her about a month later and we talked about it a lot. I want to be honest, that was a bit of a shock to me, the fact that Mum was actually unwell.

She came through it okay, but she did have a rough couple of months. But I was working and I wasn’t around. I didn’t have time to think about it at the time. I thought she was really busy and I was working a lot.

When I was at school I didn’t actually help Mum, as I was busy with work. In the end I think that’s where she saw me changing. That’s when she asked me, “Are you coming for support?” I was working for British Gas for a few years and they sent me over. I started going to meetings at college, or local support groups, and talking to different support people. It was my way of handling it.

In 2011, my mum was allowed to go on regular radio and television shows for a while and those helped her a lot. In that position I couldn’t just sit there by myself, and I think people picked up on that. She still has to go through treatment, but it’s been a little bit easier this time round. My partner has done a lot of the juggling, she’s able to visit me more, and it’s helped a lot. We both have really good support.

I don’t really see how this could be an opportunity for me. I still have to go to work, so that I have something to do. When I got out of school I was not interested in getting a job. There was always going to be this “late page boy” job waiting for me. What if someone starts working, do I have to move jobs now?

I think everyone who’s got a mum, or a stepmum, has that sort of relationship. I was lucky, because it was more about the way I thought I would be better off not having a mum. I was lucky that I have a partner that really understands how it feels to not have a

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