Thanks for your letter. It sounds as though the pressure of school and exams is getting on top of you a bit. School can be a very stressful time, particularly towards the end, because it feels like everything you do now will affect the rest of your life. Remember that school is just one part of your life and there are other ways achieve the things you want.
There’s no doubt that your exams are important. It’s good to try your best and put everything you have into them but if you don’t do as well as your friends then it doesn’t mean you are a dunce or stupid. Some people are more academic than others. This means they do well when tested in the way you are at school but there are lots of other ways someone can be clever or intelligent that don’t show up in tests and grades.
There will definitely be things that you are naturally good at which your friends are not. It might be that they are good at learning and passing tests but you might be better at art or working with your hands, music, sport or performing. These things, and many more, are skills that you can use to be successful, with or without having the best grades at school.
It might also be that you are capable of getting higher grades, but are finding the stress of it all is preventing you from being able to take in everything you’re learning. Usually there would be a teacher or careers advisor at school that you could talk to about your grades. It might also be that now isn’t the best time for you to learn. Many people find learning easier as they get older and there are lots of opportunities to learn as young adults.
It sounds like the stress that you feel is having a huge effect on you in other ways too. You said you were self-harming yourself to cope with it and I’m concerned that you have had feelings of wanting to kill yourself too.
It sounds like you are looking for a way of coping with these feelings and the pressure of school. You said you’re scared of talking to your mum about going to the doctor. I'm wondering what would it be like for you to go on your own? If you don’t feel able to do this perhaps you could take a friend you trust or speak to someone like the school nurse, if you have one.
You also said that you feel really alone at the moment. Did you know that exams and school are some of the things ChildLine talks to young people about the most? You might like to look at the message boards and see how other people are coping with school and exams. If you post a thread about your worries, perhaps they might say how they are coping too.
I’m really glad you sent me this message. If you need more support you can talk to ChildLine more by calling us on 0800 1111 or logging on for a 1-2-1 chat.