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How Mental Illness Derailed the Career of a Promising Young Skateboarder

51341 ratings | 3332881 views
Paul Alexander was a young British skateboarder full of charisma and drive. He discovered the opportunities of sponsorship, travelling and recognition during a move from Leicester to Bristol in his late teens. Living with professional skateboarder Danny Wainwright he became engulfed in the fun, responsibility free lifestyle that came with his chosen pursuit of becoming a pro skateboarder. Paul seemed destined for success then something came to get him, something he’d never experienced before that would take his personal goals and freedom far away from his grasp in a seemingly never ending battle. This is his story, directed by friend and skateboarding companion Tim Crawley. WATCH NEXT: Getting High with Pro Skater Antwuan Dixon: http://bit.ly/1JVIUwV Check Out The VICE Skateboarding Playlist - http://bit.ly/1PwyMsC Click here to subscribe to VICE: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE Check out our full video catalog: http://bit.ly/VICE-Videos Videos, daily editorial and more: http://vice.com More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos Like VICE on Facebook: http://fb.com/vice Follow VICE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice Read our Tumblr: http://vicemag.tumblr.com Follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/vice Check out our Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/vicemag
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Text Comments (5788)
Simon Tenzone (33 minutes ago)
I've been looked op in an mental hospital for a year, with the wrong medication,. They were treating me wrong and now I'm skizofrenic on top of what I really was hospitalised for,. You find out who you really have in life when you cant visit anyone , and you just wait for them to come visit. I hear voices in my head constant, and I have to make my thoughts to an reality, so often I end up doing thing that could get me killed. Hope your doing well Paul , under the circumstances <3
DareMe DareMe (1 day ago)
Mental health issues are fucking terrifying. It’s scary shit.
Ellioy Oneill (1 day ago)
Drugs bring out pre disposed mental health issues
Tyler Cash (1 day ago)
Dude didn’t have his head on straight don’t blame a mental illness 😅😅
Review Maplin (1 day ago)
Wizard (4 days ago)
Amazing dude. I know a bit how you feel. Peace.
ivan ruijter sanchez (5 days ago)
What a paranoya
I’ve seen this 5 times now
Jeff Diaz (6 days ago)
Wow very touching story!!!
JR Murphy (7 days ago)
I feel sorry for Paul as he obviously believes the BULLSHIT LIES AND DRUG ABUSE the government inflict on people with mental health issues.   They refuse to look at the reason WHY he went psychotic (that's what happened), why he was paranoid - not saying he was being rational, but what had driven him to it??????  His controlling parent perhaps???? He was bought up spoilt and not taught how to cope in the world, but expected to, or did he suffered trauma or abuse when young?????????? This was just a video for wealthy elites blaming cannabis for EVERYTHING - his drug addiction was related to whatever bad inhuman thing/situation that was happening to him and driving him mad.  So was his addictive OCD skating - none of you people ever ask why, you just accept this shit, you just accept us peasants being experimented on with psychotropic drugs. Grrrrrrrr  and putting it on VICE validates it YUK - how many more people have to suffer and die at the hands of our grossly corrupt, cruel, immoral government mental health abuse system before something is done????????????? In my opinion, having only watched this video, he said his only interest is in making everyone else proud - his parents must have put a lot of pressure on him.  Plus he looks a sensitive person, sensitive people don't survive in our neo-liberal world, nice good kind people are hated, its the callous cruel bigots that are loved and rewarded.
kubamax9 Kubowski (17 hours ago)
JR Murphy Cannabis has a differing effects from person to person.
M.D.rydin215 (7 days ago)
Wow so talented, and so sad how mental health issues can derail someone’s life. Glad you out and hope your doing well brother!
OCSJC :. (8 days ago)
Now do gator the skater
ross noakes (8 days ago)
One of the GOATs
Michael Gunn (8 days ago)
What a shame. One of the best vice docs I’ve seen
Too much of a good thing WILL bring you down.
Idiot Comments (9 days ago)
Hey Paul. Just want to say I've been there. I get how you feel -including the guilt because people are just trying to help. Sometimes to improve your life you need actually focus on the things that bring good to your life and give you an identity (things like skateboarding for you). Not just the identity of being a mentally ill person. You are more than that. Concentrate on that. Wish I could talk to you to see if I could help.
Glo Bro (9 days ago)
Idk some parts are relatable like sometimes I would feel like I gotta do something for something good to happen or else something bad will happen it’s complicated
Quensk (9 days ago)
He started pushing mongo when it all started...
John Doe (10 days ago)
15:35 You weren’t trapped in hospital not doing anything positive, on the contrary being in the hospital was doing the most important positive thing which was getting mentally healthy.
Hussein Al-janaby (10 days ago)
I got the exact same thing and it stopped me from starting uni this year
Aric Wright (11 days ago)
Praying for this guy
Steve (11 days ago)
Damn glad i started smoking weed later on, not at a young age. This is one of the saddest things I ever seen to happen to a guy who was sooo good and now he got to start all over again. Glad they showed him landing tricks at the end though, looks likes hes coming back from the dark place.
Luis Hernandez (11 days ago)
Not a scientist but I do know psychotic breakdowns are caused due to irregular amounts of dopamine. Several drugs including the weed can increase your dopamine levels.
Aromal Hareesh (13 days ago)
Weed is not for everyone
Jesus Christ (13 days ago)
fuck, from what i gathered from this video im mental ill... Fuck my life
Squidward Tentacles (14 days ago)
I remember doing this when I was younger. Doing it every day ruined my life and people started to ridicule me for my bad decisions. My friends finally stepped in and I was able to stop pushing mongo.
StrykerSoldier 15 (13 days ago)
Lmfao I'm dead
Ricky Slick (14 days ago)
"I used to smoke 10 bongs" same
ali abbas (15 days ago)
Thank you Vice!!
Payne (17 days ago)
Dudes a good fuckin skater
Triple Parakeet-Shoes (18 days ago)
I bet they smoked some bunko ass weed
John Gotti (19 days ago)
its funny how ill people are more emotional look at society people they all emotionless, careless, selfish, soulless looks like robots, slaves..
paul pride (20 days ago)
this is Cray cray
Malachi Poe (21 days ago)
The problem is he skated mongo
ColgateROB (21 days ago)
I started smoking cannabis daily when I was 16 and I'm still at it. No major changes in developing or existing mental illness (I've had depression for much longer). I might come back to update y'all at some point lol.
lookatyourpastside (22 days ago)
This is why i don't believe there's a god
Rubber Bubble Wrap (22 days ago)
Anyone know what hoodie he’s wearing at the end?
Lost Films (23 days ago)
Idk why but this dude look like Wes Kremer
jordan khalil (26 days ago)
I smoke but not 10 bongs then go out no wonder he ended up with mental illnesses such a shame
Elizabeth Foley (26 days ago)
Jonathan Heredia (26 days ago)
He weed was probably laced, and he didn't know it.
Matt Isadore (27 days ago)
lithium saves lives. no bullshit
leo cameron (28 days ago)
i think he could had thought the same things without cannabis
leo cameron (28 days ago)
the fact that if say you use cannabis for mental health you are refused treatment
Deceivingly Charming (28 days ago)
13:06 I know how that feels man. My dream (since I was 8 years old) was to be a Navy SEAL. I trained for 4 HARD years with a former SEAL in high school (started training when I was 12, originally). After I graduated, I joined the Navy, passed the SEAL PST and was going to BUDs. 5 months in I started having seizures and my dream was taken away in a heartbeat. I got discharged... All of those years I trained, non-stop... was for nothing. Literally blood, sweat and tears...and Its all gone... Now I HATE every job that I do. Being a SEAL is the only thing ill ever want to do. 7 years later and im still depressed. Your're not alone brotha.
Seima Onami (29 days ago)
I think this has nothing to do with his personality nor his ego but his major popularity cameras, fans, etc. I think that’s what’s what is blamed for
Euan C (29 days ago)
But he pushes mongo
Daisygirl1217 (29 days ago)
I've have suffered from mental illness since I was young and still functioned well enough to commingle in society but when I became a chronic insomniac for 3 years things changed for the worse. Lack of sleep for long periods of time on top of depression would make anyone go crazy. But schizophrenic does tend to show up during the same years it did for him. The intense emotions of his breakup with the one he loved most hit him hard, hard enough to wake up the beast.
Luke (29 days ago)
I don't want to end up like this.
Jack Hill (29 days ago)
i hope hes doing ok, and what a skater!
aint fuckin regular (29 days ago)
who’s to say “you’ve got mental illness” wtf is that? its just bein different to whats considered “normal”... Society makes it seem like ur wrong, when actually ur just different to the majority and human beings have too much hate in their blood to just accept difference. Fuck all dat, be different, be crazy, be "mentally ill", better than being "regular". as long as you realise normality is just a perception created by the majority to pressure the minority. be strong minded, believe in urself, believe in ur craziness. and destroy this fuckin world with ur energy, positivity and creativity.
donnie (1 month ago)
Damn I kinda relate to him when he was talkin about he felt like he was filming the greatest film
Frank Thomas (1 month ago)
such an important video and message well done vice. he fucking rips too sheeeesh. hope he's still well good vibes to him. everybody struggles
Axel Axel (1 month ago)
Keap on going sir that's the life eaverything got the end, eaverything will pass
Jeffrey Bozko (1 month ago)
When i was younger i also used to think i was being filmed, and i tried to do out of the ordinary things because i thought i was being filmed.... i knew i was sick
Kris Topher (1 month ago)
Underground Chamber (1 month ago)
I used to watch Paul skate in Bristol when I was a kid, what a G!!!!
Paul J (1 month ago)
If you want to know the link between paranoia and marijuana just Google it. This is an obvious correlation for a kid that started smoking at 12. Title should say - How contributing to the delinquency if a minor derailed the career of a promising young skateboarder. Or... How doing drugs at a young age affects the mind and derails the career of a promising young skateboarder. Or... How having no father or Parental Guidance derails the career of a promising young skateboarder. For all we know he had head trauma from skateboarding without a helmet at a young age and that could have been the cause of some of his mental issues.
olfan92 (1 month ago)
Cannabis doesnt do these things to you. dont Believe in lies. cannabis doesnt affect dopamine and dopamine isnt released until you hit puberty. thats why Life turns around a lot after you hit puberty. all ups and downs you feel. its dopamine. when you're sad,depressed etc your dopamine is low. weed pretty much turns off your dopamine during the rush then starts it up again after you land. thats why you can feel sad etc after you land on weed… cuz you go back to your ole sad self. the thoughts, Everything. its not induced by it tho. hope you learn something. bless everyone who suffer from mental illnesses!
G-male VEVO (1 month ago)
He’s lucky people cared. I recently came into mental illness and my family has disowned me because they don’t understand.
ChillWithWaxy Vlogs (1 month ago)
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jxtacincx (1 month ago)
Kip Gilkey (1 month ago)
They should have never locked him up.
Blake Sanden (1 month ago)
is he still alive ?
Bob Hunley (1 month ago)
Thank you for this. I had 20 years clean and sober and can relate even though I have OCD, PTSTD, AND PROLONGED TRAUMA. IM ON MEDS , I LOST MY SON IN A CUSTODY BATTLE THAT LASTED 19 YEARS , I won and now she's alienated me from seeing him again and I had a nervous breakdown. Now I don't bother with phyco morons who teeter on the edge of mental retardation. My ex narcissist. She will implode. Karma Rocks.
cause&effect (1 month ago)
not metal illness mate, its call meth
Annette Graves (1 month ago)
lots of bumps on the head for skaters!
4nd7ew 3o3beini (1 month ago)
It sounds like he's a schizophrenic that worsened his condition by excessively smoking marijuana
esoligh (1 month ago)
This same thing happened to me since I was 19 in 1999. Everything seemed to be going sweet. I had stopped drinking and weed and just skated, had a girlfriend and a job at a Caltex while I studied City Planning at the University of Auckland. Suddenly my world was shattered. My parents told me they were splitting, my girlfriend dumped me and brought my ex-good friend home, my Mum brought some dickhead boyfriends home, and started smoking and drinking in the house every night (which is forgiven as she was heartbroken). I couldn’t leave cos my youngest sister was only 10 and I needed to look after her. It fucking broke me. To the point that I felt lost for around a year. Some things were okay. I spent a Summer New Years holidays crying deeply in a Apple Thinning Accommodation in Upper Moutere in Aōtearoa, New Zealand. The country I live in. I was a local legend at my skatepark, the Birkenhead Skateboard Park, and a key figurehead in the local crew the Birkenhead Skateboard Posse haha. We had fun together. It sucked that this shit happened, but after the crying I felt a lot better. I started working way too many hours and stopped skateboarding because of injuries. I disappeared, none of the homies knew where I went. At the end of a year whereby I worked 7 days a week, as a Bicycle Courier in the City of Auckland, and a Kitchen Hand at Musical Knives, a local restaurant, as well as studying full time City Planning and Cooking from scratch on Sunday’s (until I couldn’t spare the time) dishes for my own student cafe in the Architecture School Cafe space on a Monday, I wore myself completely out. The other students called me ‘The Good Food Guy’. :) Getting lost in work never works. I’d never heard of mental illness or anything. I was grieving. My ex-girlfriend still lived with my Mum too lol Then I met her, a young lass named Alice, who was everything I was seeking in a girlfriend, and we definitely vibed. Only thing was schizophrenia type symptoms came out when I met her, it was horrible. I was drawn to her, as well as pushed away by her, like happens with personality disorders. It sucked. Plus she was a ten and vivacious, plus an imperfect human and she judged me for how I presented all fucked up from my trauma. I took it all to heart and as she was into doing drugs I thought maybe I needed some again too. She said no to me. My friends hated her though they never met her. One night after work at my Musical Knives kitchen hand job, one of the Chefs offered me a lift home and said we could go past his place for some spots. Usually I would say a hell no after a horrible experience with weed when I was 16, but this time I said a heartbroken hell yea! I smoked 6 spots of resin and slowly went completely postal. I awoke in the Auckland Hospital gardens after having tried to admit myself to Emergency Care. Fucking scary shit. After this I called my friends who were all worried, we used to skateboard every day and now I was living in sketchy flats and flaking on everything. I had a good girlfriend for a month or so after Alice, she was called Frances, and she identified the Schizophrenia thing in me as her Mum was a Psychology Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology. As it happens her father was a Art Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology and acknowledged my distinctive unique style of my artwork when I made her a card for her birthday. That was in my evangelical Christian phase lol This is a super long story. I will stop here, I would just like to say I finished my Bachelors and Masters Degrees in City Planning and fight on and plan on starting a PhD soon. I also have a loving family who do everything in their power to support me. I have been through the gates of hell done fuckin’ burnouts and come out alive. I’ve just coming off four months of hospitalisation and some trouble with the courts for driving offences committed off the meds (one being failing to stop for a red and blue). It’s a story always growing and changing. Thank you so much Paul for being open with your struggle, you’re a genius on your skateboard. If I’m off meds I can skateboard mean, but then I can’t human very well and I get in peoples faces way too much so yeah, I know how hard this shit can be and you’ve inspired me to be more humble within it. I’m diagnosed Bipolar Type I, and can believe I’m some pretty grandiose stuff at times. I have told so many people to look at this video if they want to know what happened to me with my skate life. You’re a legend and those nollie backside flips are legit! One of my favourite (if not my favourite trick) to do, back in the day, the extra 180 was super fire as a mfa! (I’ve felt that once on the old wedge at the BSP but never put it down). My brother Dean Clark, Rest in Peace, said “keep it going another 180” haha I can’t be told! THANK YOU PAUL!!!!!!!
Nicholas Ovel (1 month ago)
That cliche "better to love and lost than never love at all" is fucking shit! In my opinion. That's brutal. He touched something that boys, young men, and men feel grateful to just be around and witness. It is what keeps him going but the feeling he let everyone down and some how infected them. I've watched his doc before and every time I feel heavy hearted. The feeling of losing control like that... It's fucking heartbreaking!
mashembo (1 month ago)
the uk mental health system is very weird, it almost makes people worse, the medication they put you on cant do you much good in the long run.
Bertysimplezzz (1 month ago)
Y'all hearda King Capital STEEZ? They tried calling him schizo cuz he had managed to walk outside the box of babylon a couple times. I'm still finding more meaning in his bars, looking back at his songs over n over. Mad respect, 47 93 til infiniti #longlivesteelo
Bertysimplezzz (1 day ago)
+HowlinJimmyJefferson babylon is a rastafari term for the human institution and constructions that distract us from whats real, the earth and its beauties. He managed to get outside of that box.
And what is ‘walking outside the box of Babylon’ ?
CheeeezPIC (6 days ago)
Bertysimplezzz proera
Gaylord† (1 month ago)
yung lean @ 0:53
scramblegg (1 month ago)
Paul! My mums was a skater punk in the 90s in the Aussie scene. She developed schizophrenia in 99 at 20. Heavy pot smoker, also other drugs, mainly pot. She died in 2016, she was so smart, funny, charismatic, but schizophrenia took it all away and killed her. I'm so happy you lived and try so hard to get yourself well because schizophrenia is so destructive.
DRIVE BY STAR (1 month ago)
for every pro skateboarder there's 10 stories like this. Those who can push through the drug and alcohol abuse associated with the sport make it.
Spiraling69 (1 month ago)
so after 14 years in hospitals they finally diagnose him with schizophrenia? This hits home as I see many people around me break down one by one. I hope his Mother lives a long and healthy life. He will need her... I wish you well buddy.
Sean ERA (1 month ago)
Its like Im watching a very extreme version of my life story. Thanks for this vid; in a way I needed it🙏🏻
Socairnone (1 month ago)
Its good to highlight the stupidity of substance abuse and the higher the profile of the idiot the better. But I don't quite follow how somene can say he ruined his career ..when he was just another jobless skateboarder polluting our public spaces with their hobby endangering others with the acitivity they indulge in quite selfishly anywhere.
Rae Savage (1 month ago)
You have to be mentally ill to want to be a professional skate boarder
got that skate 3 vibes tbh. great doc!
XED (1 month ago)
syndromeofadown (1 month ago)
Weed. Ex smoker. It really is detrimental to your mind
Rufu5 (1 month ago)
A top lad, sad story. Hope you’re doing all good Paul 👍
makaveli thedon (1 month ago)
Happened to me thanks god came back to real life I ll never ever do drugs again I was about to lose my mind!
Luke (1 month ago)
Jesus, bit of a low blow of a pun for the title like? XD
Ryan (1 month ago)
When you mix marijuana with a developing brain (it said he was 13 when he started smoking?), it's a recipe to fuck you up for life. It's only relatively harmless when you start smoking with a developed brain.
Sweetcheeks (1 month ago)
He could be a ti targeted individual
Ghettobalster420 (1 month ago)
8:22 fkin poser
Jake Husband (1 month ago)
So he started doing crack
Xeroxxx (1 month ago)
plain overdose
Anthony Hill (1 month ago)
That was a good analysis. She said skateboarding was free movement and possibly a freeing from his problems. It was for me
Anthony Hill (1 month ago)
He sounds like he was on meth but he said it was just weed that did that to him. I believe him cause I heard weed alone can do that you from watching the Dr. Phil show.
Michael Oladepo (1 month ago)
Only good vice documentary
Wyatt Cervantes (1 month ago)
Good name for a new film, the film I believe was happening that wasn’t happening.
Tony Matthews (1 month ago)
He's lucky the Meds haven't made him baloon....weight gain happens to many on psych meds.
Chriss caggiano (1 month ago)
Wow..That was ..Wow..So happy to seeing him skating at the end in the miserable psyc.unit..
Mike Roberts (2 months ago)
Logan Ruiz (2 months ago)
Obviously he has an illness... he has an illness
Dan Miley (2 months ago)
3:21 lmfao is that decoy from kurupt fm
Andrew Ndalama (2 months ago)
Some people will probably bash me for this but i don't care, What Paul was experiencing was actually more spiritual than physical, thinking like that does happen along with having trouble sleeping, thinking people are out to get you... all that paranoia is something i have experienced myself and have had my past experiences of intense marijuana smoking. I got saved by giving my life to Jesus christ, he has the power to break every chain or bondage and Spiritual matters cannot be handled in a physical manner it takes Spiritual.. i wish paul all the best being a fellow skater myself this really touched me..#JESUS SAVES

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