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‘Nightmare Teen’ battles addiction, left school aged 14 but now has become a Doctor

A woman dropped out of school in her teens, battled with depression and excessive consumption, but got her dream job as a doctor due to her sheer will and dedication.

Dr Jo Barton Photo Credits: East News Press Agency

Jo Barton, 32, is at a point which would have been seen as a ‘mission impossible’ at the age of 14 when she dropped out of her school in Harlow, Essex without any GSCEs.

Her mother was struggling with bipolar disorder at that time. It took her sheer will and full dedication for her dream to become reality, as at the age 32 she is working as a fully qualified doctor.

She told: ‘My teen years are where it all went really wrong.’

‘I dropped out of school at 14, halfway through year ten, and I ended up skipping a lot and I was homeless. I started drinking at a very tender age – about 13 – and I was drinking every single day. There is huge possibility that I was depressed but I did not know it at that time. I turned to drinking and then I began to rebel and that got me into more trouble than I could handle as a teenager.’

She decided to turn her life around at the age of 17 when she landed her first job as a waitress and later became an assistant at a care home – where she found herself in love with the field of medicine.

The first two years she dedicated all her efforts in completing NVQ in care along with getting a grip on English and mathematics.

She then pursued a nursing course while working a part-time job at a hospital’s X-ray ward.

Dr Jo Barton Graduated Photo Credits: Essex Live / BPM Media

She dedicated herself to 60 hours a week of hard work.

She recalls the memory of that time: ‘You do not really get support in college and I just accepted that fact. I survived on about single meal a day. There were number of occasions I wanted to just stop but if I did that then I would have got nothing.’

Despite several hurdles along the way, she managed to pass her exams before being accepted to a 6-year degree at St George’s Hospital in London where she graduated from 3 years ago.

She is currently doing her job in accident and emergency at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex – but this not a stop for her. She has already imagined her next goal in her mind, and that is of becoming a GP.

She added: ‘I just want to tell people that if one comes from nothing there are options if one is willing to put the effort in. It’s all about staying focused and staying in education. It was a constant struggle and I am not going to tell anyone it is easy. All the time what was in my head was, if I don’t do this then it’s all gone and I am back to square one.’

‘If I quit then I am going to be left with nothing.’

Interview Credits: East News Press Agency

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