Lucas Otterling, developer of the QuoteNow app.

21-04-2017Humphrey Carter

Lucas Otterling may be all smiles today, as one would expect from any other 19-year-old, but his life so far has been a roller coaster which dragged him down to the darkest depths of depression at a relatively very young age.

Born in Stockholm 1998, Lucas’s dream was to become a professional footballer and, as he and his family moved back and forth between his home city and London, that looked like slowly becoming a reality. In Sweden he had become rated as one of the country’s top five goalkeepers. He played for the Stockholm All Stars and was spotted by a scout from Fulham.

In 2014 he was invited to move to London for trials with the club. "So, in the autumn of 2014 I moved to London to take the first big step in my childhood dream of becoming a professional footballer, playing in the toughest leagues in the world.

"But six months later, in January 2015, the day after I bade farewell to my schoolmates and made the final decision to become a full-time footballer, I broke my finger in training so badly that surgery was necessary. It was a wet day and I slipped and just thought I had injured the little finger on my left hand. But after a scan, I was told I had broken in it four places and that they would have to insert two screws to strengthen the finger. The surgeons and doctors explained that the surgery was pretty routine and that the chances of either of the screws coming loose was just 20 per cent.

"Fulham were really supportive throughout the whole process, even though I had not actually signed for the club yet. But ten months later, after intensive rehabilitation, one of the screws, the top one, came loose which meant the finger had weakened and the doctors had no option but to sit me down and make it quite clear that I would never be able to play football at a professional level.

"My dream was totally shattered, I was heartbroken and I fell into a seriously deep depression. For some ten months I was in a really dark place. I suffered an identity crisis and there were days when I woke up feeling extremely angry and frustrated with others when I just couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed. What for?

"We were, still are, living in Barnes and I was attending the Swedish International College in Richmond studying economics with the aim of becoming an entrepreneur. I knew that being a professional footballer was not going to be a life-long career, but I had not expected it to have come to an end before it began. I felt like it was the end of the world.

"I didn’t watch any football, wanted nothing to do with the game, and that’s pretty tough in the UK when everything is about football. Fulham had even given me a free season ticket, but I didn’t go to any of the games. My family were great, very supportive. They had never pressurised me during my footballing days. They were unlike many parents, especially fathers who pile so much pressure on their kids in little league football. I was training before and after school when I was a kid but that was my decision. I had a friend whose father would make him stay on for an extra hour after training to practise.

"I think, overall, the pressure for young kids growing up to today who show some sporting talent is far too much and, obviously, it does not work out for the majority and can lead to a negative reaction - depression like my case, at a really early age - and it also puts a huge strain on family relationships.

"My father, for example, came and watched me play but never pushed me doing it. He would be interested in the result when I got home but that was the end of it. There were certainly no arguments or family repercussions when I lost and even for those children who have gone on to become successful sportsmen and women, it is extremely interesting and a real eye-opener to discover how many have battled or are battling depression throughout their careers, however successful they were or are.

"There are top athletes out there today performing at elite levels when they are in action but may leave the changing room and spend half an hour in tears in the car. That pressure from such an early age can be very damaging.

"But after those ten months - it was New Year’s Eve at the end of that year - I decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t keep feeling sorry for myself. My study grades had been slipping and I had to get back on track and not mess up by studies as well. My escape and rescue was so-called ‘self-help’. I listened to thousands of inspirational speeches, read motivational life stories and quotes, and went to various seminars and events. Some were with other sportsmen and women.

"Previously I had never been that interested in computers, etc. but I suddenly swapped being a would-be footballer to a nerd. I googled how to code apps and how to build a business. And now, a year and a half later, I am the founder of an inspiration app, ‘QuoteNow’, which has been downloaded by thousands of users worldwide in countries like the US, South Africa and India, only a few months after our official release back in January of this year.

"The basic idea of the app is to offer inspirational quotes and pep talks based on the user’s temporary mood and needs - you need different types of inspiration for various moments. I also felt an enormous desire to ‘give back’ to all the people who had motivated, inspired and helped me through my football injury and depression, so a small biography accompanies every person’s quote. Some of the quotes are by famous people, some from ordinary people.

"There are some 2,000 quotes for every mood. Users just punch in ‘sad’, for example, and corresponding quotes to help get over that feeling will appear. The app can also be set to provide a quote. For example, if you hate getting up and going to work on Monday mornings, you can set the app, like an alarm clock, to wake you up with inspirational quote.

"And looking back, all that process of learning about apps, social media, online business was great therapy for me because it stopped me from feeling miserable. It gave me a goal to aim for and, judging by the global response and the five-star app store rating, I’ve scored."

Lucas now intends to continue with his social media business. He is toying with the idea of furthering his studies of economics in either Sweden or the United States. But in the meantime, he has been offered a two-month internship in Berlin with an e-commerce clothing company which has spotted his social media sales talents. So in the end Lucas has emerged a real champion.

Download the app: https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/quotenow/id1054792941?l=en&mt=8

Comments

To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Henry James / Hace over 4 years

Specsavers, here I come. I'll try again.I't's about time that there was a facility to edit ones comments. Well done Lucas and I hope that your app helps many others to overcome depression.

+2-

Henry James / Hace over 4 years

Well done,Lucas and I hope that your help helps many others to overcome depression.

+2-