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How Mental Illness Derailed the Career of a Promising Young Skateboarder

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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 (6506)
Tvrdy Livaja (1 day ago)
i smoked for every day for years and i cant really say that anything bad come of it. it was getting better and better. i just quit one day and smoke from time to time.
Johnny Boy (7 hours ago)
Everyone's body does not react the same to every drugs. That's the thing that most people does not seem to get. Some people shouldn't consume certain type of drugs but they still do it because their friends do, so it ends up being the "kewl" thing to do... that's what we call "immaturity".
Jaydon Goodrich (5 days ago)
Schizo sad
MrSuperPorkChop (5 days ago)
he pushes mongo
eat my g (5 days ago)
God bless
Kenyon Bell (6 days ago)
he feel on his ass so hard and got a mental illness??? not true
Ross Mac (6 days ago)
Same shit happend to me,IV been skateing from a early age,then stopped at the age of 18 because I got a job,then started up skateing again at around 24 years of age,& still continued to smoke weed,I'd been smoking,since I was only 15,then at the age of 31 boom I crashed,I ended up locked up,in the Royal Hospital,for only ment to be a month,I ended up in there for 11 months,& got diagnosed,with acute scytsophreinia,yep & that was that,today I'm 43 & still skate,yep just get on wi life now,so I no what Paul went frew,difference he could had been a pro skater,bloody shame
westley padgett (6 days ago)
I personally feel like his mom is the worst parent in the worst for allowing her son to be drugged this much...terrible person
Paralaxitives (6 days ago)
0:16 guy nearly dies in background
fishfingers1985 (6 days ago)
Man this hits hard I ended up in the padded mental health cell. I suffered a drug induced severe psychosis. Having ADD and smoking an ounce a week it started innocent enough then the problems started.. i thought my room was tapped with cameras and mic's so i taped up all the air con vents in my room covered them with posters as well as my windows. I could not go outside and every car was a undercover or was following me. I thought i could hear and see hidden messages from the telly and radio.. I could go on but to shorten the story I ended up getting arrested at an airport ten feds carried me threw the airport in handcuffs and the airport could have charged me with terrorism trespassing and would have been a big stretch in jail.. Thank god my doctors had my entire mental health records since i was 15 and was let off the airport did not charge me.
Martin Leandoer (8 days ago)
That’s why u need to take the bros before hoes
WireDog (9 days ago)
Such a cool guy. Prayers for you, mate.
ChimentiAKA Towlie (9 days ago)
Seems like a really humble dude
Sol Surfer (9 days ago)
Rob Lewis (9 days ago)
Mental illness ruined my teens and 20s. Now I'm 29 and I feel like my life is just in ruins. Brutal.
David miorgan (8 days ago)
Its the Jew in you, part african, part Arab, part oriental, inbred over and over, a confused mix of genetic traits that doesn't know whether to shit or go blind. Don't breed.
Greg Pari (10 days ago)
We used to smoke 10 bongs and go skaten
CJ outwest (11 days ago)
"I just wish that I could prove that I'm well, so that they could rest and be relaxed and think 'oh Pauls gone back to normal'". That made me sad, he sounds so helpless and has lost all the light and character out of his eyes and he just looks and sounds like a hollow shell. Its a heartbreaking thing to se
Ted Schroeder (11 days ago)
Are we gonna ignore the fact that he pushes mongo
me me (11 days ago)
Career as skateboarder....I am curios when you get 40 years old ....mah... I think those guys have to distinguish better between dream and real job....
SageofSixPaths (9 days ago)
me me most pro skaters are actually in their early to mid thirties. You can skate forever if you take care of your body and know your limitations.
Branislav Ciberej (11 days ago)
just do go and visit your mate ..and bring him back..you got a legend and a friend in there and not giving him a credit he deserve..you should be ashamed a bit dont ya?
Rafael Martins (11 days ago)
anyone knows the song that starts playing around 1:40?
Daizy z (12 days ago)
Weed. This is what weed does to you. A completely underrated drug. So dangerous, so harmful to the user and everyone around them.
Aman (12 days ago)
Where's the song at 1:40 from? Ghosta and vodka ?
yali brennan (13 days ago)
skate or die 👽
Sture Elvis (13 days ago)
Buh fokkin hu.... Getting high every single day then crying about why he's break dident come. Buh bleeding hu...grow the hell up.
Jason corr (14 days ago)
Paul your a 🏆Champ🏆 👊🏼
Mile Puzic (14 days ago)
Everything you have done can be undone, sometimes takes a little bit longer to undone than it takes to get it done. To simplify, if you are stuck in this mental health probelms and if you are not on meds still or in the institution you can undo this. How do i know? I almost died cos of weed, i suffered panick attacks, my body melted off, my brain almost shut down and it took me almost 3 years to recover with prior to that having mental health problems from my childhood. For some reason i had mind which could function so i worked jobs that are complex enough but weed got me after i broke with couple of girls one after another. No medication, no help from family or destructive friends who dont have a healthy mind etc., just living day to day like a solider Eating tons of meat and eggs. (i´ve eaten about 7 eggs a day for two years 730*7= ? :D ) Little fruit here and there. Water. No bread, no pasta, no artificial sugar, no candy. Bone broth.(6-12-24 hour cooked) - google this. (recovering gut bacteria) Cold showers(raises testosterone and clears racing mind) Running.(helps with circulation because brain needs a lot of it every day, also..oxygen) Suplementing with Omega 3 6 9 ; B12; magnesium, calcium Phisical activity in the morning. Strict bed time. Writing - early morning or before sleep, just run a daily diary and wrote what bothers you, that is like letting the steam off The point is, you need to fix your gut with good food and bone broth, cutting the crap and than in some point start train and run like you are preparing for a marathon and a powerlifting contest while taking every suplement you can from early morning. In one point your mind will start seeing what is and what is not, your gut will provide good fuel with food you take and day by day youll end up like a new man. THIS GUY SHOULD BE STILL SKATING
Xhairs (12 days ago)
My friend smokes weed and has extreme anxiety/depression. He refuses to even try quitting to see if it will help, instead he is now taking anxiety medication etc.. While still smoking weed. How long did it take for you to notice a difference in your anxiety after you quit?
Andrew Paino (14 days ago)
Bro i can barley even stay on a skateboard
Francesco Finucci (14 days ago)
what really, really scares me is how the fuck nobody realized something was wrong before mental illness appeared. I lived in the UK for 3 years and I've seen quite few of these people having no roots, no family, being socializing but being in fact completely out of any community that could help them if they need. They barely exists socially. Then - and only then - mental illness happens, "friends" are shocked, "family" puts you in an advanced mental health facility so that they can sort you. This is something I saw only in the UK and it is scary as fuck. It is social disfunction and only then it is mental illness.
Burger Eater (15 days ago)
Weed made him worse it's the gateway drug.
Total Drama (15 days ago)
you're fucking fine, you're just looking for pity to become more popular. Go to rehab come out in a month and just skate. Grow up bud
Total Drama (15 days ago)
brit's being "gangster" lol yeah right
smarterthanyous (15 days ago)
Being british AND a skateboarder? This poor kid had no chance at being heterosexual.
GetUpFalcon (15 days ago)
Fucking spare me - drug addict struggles with mental health. My brother threw his mind away to drugs - it ain't fucking sad, he doesn't deserve anyones pity and he ain't fucking unhealthy - he's a fucking fool for turning to the bong instead of confronting his issues. Live with the consequences of your actions - that's life.
Kendrickzz (15 days ago)
This is such a sick video rlly good to watch and understand keep doing what ure doing vice
QUINT34577 (15 days ago)
you can have a career skateboarding/??? i never knew. On another note does anyone in this day and age really not know about the connection between weed and mental health ...seriously..
Catherine ferguson (16 days ago)
Good luck buddy, Mental Health is hard, I've had mental health all my life, cutting hedges all day keeps me going. Be strong xxxxx
ben angove (16 days ago)
Is the music at the end of this by Paul White.. and is it on any of his releases?
Yogi Bear (17 days ago)
From the ages of 17 till 22 i smoked marijuana daily and heavily. the signs were all there since everytime i smoked i never felt good and always paranoid and scared. but being young and stupid and seeing all my friends doing it i kept on smoking. Needless to say at 22 i had the exact same problems of this skater, i went crazy and they sent me to a mental asylum. been in and out for4 years now. and the ",medication" they give you during these 4 years permanently damaged me in ways noone can ever understand. imagine feeling like you have no emotions and are dead inside but deep inside of you you still want to live If anyone is reading this and your still young and smoke weed please stop right now it may ruin your life forever.
David F (17 days ago)
that doesnt have to be your permanent state. face your problems sober
FreewillMonk92 (18 days ago)
This shit is sad it happens to a lot of young and upcoming people
Sujan T- Magar (18 days ago)
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. C'mon mate cheerup.
Mark Russ (18 days ago)
This is why marijuana is bad for society. It pushes those most intelligent (with a predisposition to mental health issues), often beyond a point of no return. I was nearly one of them. I didn't get out of it unscathed. I'm still trying to pick the pieces of my life up. I'm at university now. Life is a struggle. I wish that I never tried it. I'm coming good and slowly becoming the man that I should've been 10 years ago, if I'd never found weed (and had a predisposition to mental health issues). Drugs are overrated. They prevent people from fully maturing as an adult. Life is beautiful as it is. It is our perceptions that make it what it feels like it is. This is why its so important to LIVE your life. Dont exist, live. The highs I've had whilst clean are better, than any high that I ever had. Weed, Ice, meth, ecstasy, alcohol,subutex, morphine, homebake heroin, a trip etc. They all take your ambition to strive for a better life or to improve yourself... the essence of life (amongst some other stuff e.g. travel, family, hobbies). Peace ✌
Ryan Heeguh (18 days ago)
Dude this guys muscle memory for all the tricks he was doing. Damn
OG Kakarotto (19 days ago)
Dude he's gone full mental ultra instinct and just couldnt handle it, couldn't make heads or tails of it all... bugger talks of gaming references like scoring multiple tricks to win (i'd say he played video games being a smoker and skater so this is how he's perceived it all, this out of body and mind experience of living possibly crossed with maybe some traits of schizophrenia ) Other people may choose to perceive things in story book style, movie style etc etc whatever there strongest say, skill is" Also theres the rule of 3...ya know?? land 3-tricks!! and the feeling of being above it all as it happened in 3rd person ala TRUMAN SHOW=JIM CAREY=AWAKENED DUDE.... synchronicity/laws of attraction working there in a cycle LOL The truly awakened people tend to say life is as you perceive it.. so perceive it as your the victor, the hero, main character, the movie star etc etc... being a gamer i relate heaps of things to gaming, in the sense of an RPG role playing game form.. my strongest genre by far. And honestly what harm could thinking positively do??? Like really?? and thats why the main characters i play always finish the victor, positive thoughts, grinding for experience and knowledge non-stop.. even when you attain a goal, theres still more things to learn, do, gain (cos knowledge is a better power IMO)....you need to find a new way to be the BEST YOU in MIND, BODY and SOUL, not slave for someone else... and things start to be less bleek and then eventually bright again, more vibrant.. gotta raise your energy and vibrations... this might make zero sense, and thats probably because you have a 50/50 chance of perceiving things correctly and just are not able to manage that ATM. GOOGLE SOME THINGS-MEDITATION for 1 HINT: its just about not over thinking as to not force things and divert our flow in this almost meaningless life-CYCLE... and its only meaningless if you choose to perceive it that way and do nothing but procrastinate on dreams and imagination while making others profitable not you and the people around you.. whew peace all im outty
Joao Araujo95 (15 days ago)
OG Kakarotto just so u know i felt what u wrote... Reading all this coments make me realize that we are all in this reality, i smoke since 17...now 23 its been a ride i ve done so much things and now feelin lost 👽nbdy really know right...every person has their own game/reality...enjoy the ride
a very smol bear (19 days ago)
that guy looks like jeffable from children of poseidon
Adrian Wilson (19 days ago)
He was off coke I guarentee
scotthemic 1 (19 days ago)
Skateboarders all 50 n dress like they 15 LMAO
Koala Kast (19 days ago)
moral of the story - girls are trash - relationships are trash - DO NOT FALL IN LOVE
Leedy (19 days ago)
Like paul says "never give up guys " it does get better
Pierre du Plessis (19 days ago)
was the drugs.
Joe Jones (20 days ago)
Dont sound like weed man.. not knocking or accusing. But, that sounds like coke or stimulants.. just saying.. I think his additions, are candy coated..
Nich Allen (20 days ago)
Illiterate_Genius (20 days ago)
David Lefebvre (20 days ago)
and the ppl who turned him onto the weed caused it all.
spastic 420 blaze it (20 days ago)
So good to see him back on the board after all that fucken B$ in the fucken psych ward for 14 years of his life. poor dood :'(
Noah Brad (20 days ago)
They made it seem like he's dead at first wtf??
MrColdwatercanyon (21 days ago)
Weed isn’t good if you’re down or booze or dope . Being heartbroken is the worst Fuckin desperate times
WYATT FOLEY (21 days ago)
wow. poor guy. the dude had everything, greatest life.
spartanlm21 ! (21 days ago)
9:10 the mongo
Darren Jansz (21 days ago)
I thought he died because of the way his friend was talking about him
Tyler CSM (21 days ago)
my friend has psychosis and this really hits home for me.
MrSentia (21 days ago)
Poor bastard
Linkboy (21 days ago)
it was cuz he was pushing mongo
billy sultana (21 days ago)
To all those people who are blaming weed .. bullshit lol 90% of ppl i know smoke weed and only happened to a couple of them and coincidence they were going through some shitty break ups and work related / money problems not to mention the abuse of other drugs and ive had a friend who commit suicide and never smoked a j in his life but just a shitty break up and tore him to pieces so before you state just from smoking by it self make sure that theres no combination of drugs ,domstic violence , loneliness ,bad up bringins ,break ups and work related stress or any of that because thats what actually causes these traumas to their braines ,weed is just the substance they use to soften up the pain if used properly it could be the drug that heals them and not to forget the ones that went to seek medical help and stopped smoking ended up much worse on prescribed drugs .
cyan (22 days ago)
I'm surprised I haven't seen any comments about him pushing mongo.
Gerard Markham (22 days ago)
DO NOT SMOKE WEED IF YOURE YOUNGER THAN 21 ish. The ONLY clear research we have on the negative affects of marijuana are the studies on the young brain. You can't escape unscathed if you if you smoke and abuse a medicine that people with epilepsy and cancer take when you're a child with an undeveloped brain....-_-
jess jesse (22 days ago)
2: side effect of pill medication = suicide or agresivity kill people ! Check facts read more lazy people ...?
jess jesse (22 days ago)
1: darkside of psychiatry an industry of dead = they are liars swindlers psychiatrist ! Check facts dude !
Fishing Day (22 days ago)
I'm glad ppl see this
Miles Wilkinson (22 days ago)
Oh shit. I've done the same. I think I'll just deal with it until I see weird shit and get paranoid
Jay Gill (22 days ago)
David Godfrey (22 days ago)
Ricardo Reis (22 days ago)
Crazygaming (22 days ago)
God bless him and his family 🙏🏻
BOC Built (23 days ago)
So it wasn’t the mental illness it was the medication. Smh. Like mcgregor said when you give your all towards one thing sooner or later you will go crazy or loose it.
Straight Facts (23 days ago)
It’s always a bitchs fault
Edward Scissor hands (23 days ago)
This poor dude totally feel for him He completely lost his shit
Mark Walters Media (23 days ago)
Reminds me a lot of Max Bemis' breakdown when he thought his life was a Truman Show sort of deal. So sad and terrifying. Really hope he's okay these days.
Karim Xyz (23 days ago)
really sad story
Deimos (23 days ago)
This is truly fucking sad. The guy seems so genuine and decent and it hurts to see him stuck like that.
Kaleb Kraft (24 days ago)
Only mental illness is that he pushes goofy
Ryan Keshet (24 days ago)
That's called marijuana-induced-schizophrenia
TEE VEE (24 days ago)
hrtzii (24 days ago)
bless him
Dr mr Igor (24 days ago)
I think it comes from different things like: - Smoking weed on very young age (The brain has to develop in your youth years) - The amount of using weed (1x a week or wake & bake every day) - The kind of plant you use (Sative, Indica or combination and even between those there are different effects). People use maybe wrong compost or chemicals to make them grow faster - Your personality. (how did you grow up, is anxiety/ schizofrenia in your family) With alcohol it's the same, if you drink every day from your 12th, you won't be here for long... Just skate en enjoy some in the weekend. Make it a special occasion to look forward to instead of a daily lifestyle. I feel sorry for him, hope he can still skate and enjoy in the future :)
JmanAsh-B (24 days ago)
Don’t smoke weed too young people
Golden grillson (24 days ago)
I could’ve been a pro surfer hadn’t my mental illness debilitated myself...
gawge _ (24 days ago)
Seeing that Bristol spot as soon as the video started was mad. I've never seen a spot that I've skated myself in a Vice doc before
Retroke (24 days ago)
wow man, you have to consume weed with responsability, it can be dangerous to your brain
mountain dude (25 days ago)
I was the same way with thinking you had to do things a certain way for a certain out come but it just went away
Harry Byett (25 days ago)
Alex Campion (25 days ago)
is this a case of the tragic inevitability of severe mental illness? or is it yet another case of the extreme failure of a system that was supposed to help and support him? with everyday that goes by, i trust the NHS and the sheer lack of professionalism of a lot of the staff who work within it less and less. their lack of funding means appalling mistakes are made; access to high quality service is woefully inadequate; and people end up being gaslit and blamed for things out of their control. i have very, very good reason to feel that way about the NHS.
Robby Love (25 days ago)
Weed not solely to blame.made a small problem bigger. Just came to ahead faster and more dramatic. Sucks. Weed can help and destroy.
Antonio Marshell (25 days ago)
Weekender 1 (25 days ago)
Too much weed, the shit is trash.
TwiistedFN (25 days ago)
“Derailed” I see whatcha did there... I’m not making fun this is lowkey a sad story
Call me soup (26 days ago)
so, i read hentai in the title. Tbf i saw a scetchy video from uberdanger under this.
K3NnY_G (26 days ago)
Man, I guess you guys in Europe/UK just get used to rockin' the interlocked stone clack a' clack 'a eh? Can't be escaped there I can see.
MT Skate (26 days ago)
Campus green Bristol yew
chuckIII dee (26 days ago)

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