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Going back to school when everyone knows what happened

Dear Sam,

I ran away from home. I was just sick and tired from feeling the way I feel-like I'm sick, like something's wrong with me. I live with my sister and my mom. My mom used to do drugs and drink a lot. She tried to kill her self, and she has been in a mental hospital for it. Her depression depresses me. She never leaves the house, she never gets out of bed, and she simply doesn't care. My sister used to beat me, a lot. She abused me physically. I got sick of it and left.

Suddenly, they started loving me and made a big deal out of it, literally everyone was looking for me. I then decided to go back home. My family was happy to have me back, but I was so humiliated on all social networks, everything.

Tomorrow's my first day back in school, and I'm really scared how people are gonna act. I'm scared of how teachers are gonna treat me. My stomach literally hurts from fear. I wanna die. What do I even do? Help, please, Im so desperate, I haven't left my house for a month or so and now I've gotta face them all. Help.

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Facing people again after a private problem becomes public can be really tough. It can feel like it’s better to hide away and not face up to it, but there are ways of making it easier for you to handle.

Whenever our personal lives become known by friends, family and people we see at school or work it can make it harder for us to move on and put things in the past. People around us might talk or ask about what happened, and every time they do, it can bring it all back. They probably mean well and only want to know if we’re okay, but they can sometimes only make things harder.

Having everyone knowing about our private problems can also make us feel like our personal space has been invaded. It makes us feel more exposed and vulnerable, which in turn makes us want to hide away and not face anyone. This isn’t a healthy thing to do and we can’t do it forever.

When the time comes to go back to school or work, you’re going to need some preparation for what to say and how to act when people ask about what happened. Having things prepared will make you feel more confident. The more confident you are, the less likely it is that people will make an issue of it.

Feeling able to tell people that what happened is in the past (and that you want to move on) is key. Having the confidence to say that actually this is private and you’d rather not talk about it will help you to put what’s happened in the past behind you. Think about ways to say this and get some practice saying it out loud.

Making sure you have friends that understand how you feel can help. They can be there for you and make sure any uncomfortable conversations are steered away and the subject changed. Find people you trust, share your worries and ask them for help – true friends will do this for you.

I hope that helps, but if you want to talk more then our counsellors are always happy to listen.

Take care,
Sam

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