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This Woman Struggled With Alcoholism And Depression When She Was 13. Now She Is A Doctor

By Nitin Bhatnagar, 1 June 2018


There are difficulties and problems in the life of almost every person on this Earth but what makes some stand out from the others is their attitude of never giving up and always trying hard to bring their lives back on right track.

We have seen that most of the times when problems knock at our door, we start complaining, whining and cursing our destiny. However, if we show some courage and try a little to sort out things, we can have a bright future.

Here we are going to tell you about a person who is an inspiration for many, especially for those who have had a troubled childhood, faced drinking problems and depression in their teenage years.

1Meet Jo Barton


Jo Barton (32) is a qualified doctor now but at the age of 14, with no grades and qualifications to her name, she dropped out of school in Harlow, Essex. At that time, Jo was a perfect example of ‘nightmare teen’ as she used to consume alcohol on a daily a basis and suffered with depression.

Meet Jo Barton

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2Family problems


Jo suffered a lot in her childhood as her mother was mostly in hospital getting sectioned for bipolar disorder and her father left the place, leaving her and her sister on their own. This pushed her to seek refuge in liquor and she became a daily drinker at the age of 13 which drastically affected her teenage.

Family problems

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Alcoholism at an early age and all other negative things around her made her a rebellion and eventually, she invited many problems for herself. However, now Jo feels that she was in depression at that time, the only thing being that she was not aware of it at that moment.


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4A clean break


After becoming an epitome of ‘nightmare teen’, she decided to change her life and reputation at the age of 17. She had an image with which she didn’t want to continue further as she already felt very depressed. Besides, she also wanted to live a good life for her mom.

A clean break

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5Her first job


She got her first job when she was 17and it was in a restaurant at Great Dunmow. However, she worked there for only four weeks and they fired her because she was not a good waitress. As per Jo, her job required hours of working and she was not a good waitress.

Her first job

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6Restaurant job was a blessing in disguise


She did not prove to be a good waitress at her first job and was sacked in a month but it was a blessing in disguise for Jo as she met someone special at the restaurant. It was none other than her partner and they both are together for 15 years now.

Restaurant job was a blessing in disguise

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7Career in health care


Jo started looking for jobs in health care as she didn’t have any qualifications and experience to write in her CV. This is so because the health care jobs did not require any previous experience. This time luck was by her side and soon she started working as a health care assistant at St Catherine’s Care Home, Broxbourne.

Career in health care

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8Enhancing her skills


For the next two years, Jo focused on getting National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in health care. Not only this, she also enhanced her skills in Mathematics and English and after this all, she wanted to make career in this field only. She got a part-time job in Princess Alexandra Hospital and landed access to the nursing course in a college in Enfield, North London.

Enhancing her skills

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9The tough times


Due to monetary reasons, Jo worked for 60 hours per week as she tried to balance her work with studies. She was having just one meal per day and had a very hectic schedule. There were times when she wanted to quit but luckily she didn’t. The final year was pretty tough as her mother again got sectioned after remaining well for few years. It was hard for her to take care of her mom as well as focus on her studies but she managed reasonably well. Jo passed her exams; nevertheless, her mother was not able to attend her graduation day as she got anxiety attacks.

The tough times

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10Becoming a doctor was her goal


Jo’s next goal was to become a doctor and all this happened because a surgeon at Princess Alexandra allowed her to see many surgeries which made her interested in medicine. She got access to medical course but for that, she needed GCSE’s in Mathematics and English which she got through home learning.

Becoming a doctor was her goal

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11Achieved her aim after few obstacles


After getting GCSE’s, Jo moved to Norwich subsequent to being accepted in the course. However, when she applied for a university place for studying medicine, she was rejected and offered biomedicine. Jo didn’t find biomedicine suitable for herself so she again applied for medicine. This time she got admission in a 6-yr degree course at St George’s Hospital in London from where graduated three years ago.

Achieved her aim after few obstacles

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12Proud of you Doctor Jo


Undoubtedly, Doctor Jo’s journey is very inspirational but she will not stop here. Presently, she is working in accident and emergency at Princess Alexandra hospital, Harlow, and her next aim is to become a GP (General Practitioner) because she wants a good work-life balance for herself as she is working in night shifts as of now.

Proud of you Doctor Jo

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13Inspiration for others


Jo’s journey has been pretty difficult and she wants everyone to know about it so that they can also be inspired. She says that everyone gets the option of achieving success provided that they are willing to work hard for it. She didn’t lose her focus after she started studying and there was no stopping for her till she became a doctor.

Inspiration for others

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14She never quit


As she said earlier that she felt like quitting many times because life was pretty tough; however, it’s creditable on her part that she never quit because she knew that if she stops here, all her hard work will be gone and she will be at square one. This fear of losing everything may have also served as a motivating factor which kept her going.

She never quit

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15She is good with patients suffering with depression


She is very comfortable in dealing with the patients who are suffering with depression as she has also underwent the same situation and can understand their situation pretty well. She also says that people get comfortable with her easily because she is quite common and not like the average doctor.

She is good with patients suffering with depression

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