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To Sam

They don't understand!

Hi Sam!

I know this is probably too long but I'm looking for some advice. It might seem silly but it's really important to me at the minute.

At the end of last year, I suffered a mental breakdown. It was a huge crashback for me but now I'm in recovery and getting better day after day. It's never easy and I have my good and bad days. On the good days I am on top of the world and can easily do the things I did before my breakdown. On the bad days however, I have such a hard time and struggle to deal with myself and my feelings.I hate myself sometimes and feel like a constant failure. I'm slowly learning to deal with the bad days and it's getting so much better. I also have severe (social) anxiety and mild clinical depression.

I have dealt with my breakdown in a way I think is best. I have ditched the talking and counselling and just got on with life, not telling anybody but my parents, a teacher and a very close friend. I had a month off school for initial recovery. However, now my friends don't believe me.

I am fully aware that mental illness is soooo hard to understand. I believe that you don't understand what it's like until you've been through it. But, my friends are constantly unsympathetic. When I need a hug, they walk away. If I need a confidence boost, they just insult me. Sometimes I need somebody to tell me it'll be okay, but all I get as a reply is 'you'll bloody get over it, it's all in your mind'. It's so hard being this independent and I love my friends, but if I ever try to explain my situation they're just plain rude and either walk away or roll their eyes. It's hard enough living with social anxiety, depression and recovering from a mental breakdown but having to do it all on your own is really, really hard. I'm just after some advice... what can I do to make my friends believe that I just need some support from time to time and mental illness is just as debiliating as physical illness? 

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Mental health issues can affect the way that we feel about ourselves and whether we believe we have the strength to overcome challenges. Sometimes you might feel really positive and confident about things but other times you might feel stressed, anxious or sad. This is completely normal.

Sometimes it can be difficult for others to relate to us, especially if they have never gone through anything similar in their own lives. However this shouldn’t stop people wanting to support you. Your thoughts and feelings are very important and you deserve to be listened to.

You could speak to your friends on a one-to-one basis and be open and honest with them about how they make you feel. Sometimes people do not realise how they are making others feel until they are told. Doing this when they’re on their own and not in a group can make a big difference to the way they react.

Helping people understand mental health isn’t always easy, but hearing real life stories about what it’s like helps people to relate to it better. There are lots of true stories on the Young Minds website, and you could even show them posts on our own message boards. The more they read about it, the better chance they have of understanding.

On ChildLine we have pages about anxiety, depression and other types of mental health problems. Perhaps you could send these pages to your friends, to help them understand what you have experienced.

Lots of young people speak to us about mental health issues, and our counsellors can help you with any worries you might have.

Take care and good luck,

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