Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Starting sixth form

I'm sixteen and I have just started sixth form at a new school, I was really happy to go somewhere different from everyone at my old school, I wanted a fresh start away from the people who made my school years hell and all the bad memories the school held.

I thought it would be great and I would make loads of new friends and I would finally be happy. It has highlighted to me that all these years I thought it was school that was the cause of my depression but it isn't. It's something inside of me and I want it to leave me alone. I haven't made many friends and I can't cope with the stress of A-levels and the subjects I am taking. I thought it would get easier but it hasn't. I have started to have panic attacks worse than ever and a lot of the time I feel frozen with panic and I am so scared that I can't even think about my work let alone do it. I know it comes across as me being really really lazy but some nights I'm concentrating on keeping myself from cutting myself or overdosing or worse. I survived the first half term, but only just.

I feel like people look at me like I am crazy, my teachers know about my panic attacks and I feel as if they watch me in my lessons worried that I might suddenly explode I just want to be normal. I want to be abe to cope. I really don't think I wil make it to the end of the christmas term. I don't know what to do any more, I don't want to die, can you help me?

Ask Sam


Hello there,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. It sounds as though you have had a tough time at school with people making your life difficult and you were really looking forward to moving on to sixth form where you could put all the bad memories behind you and have a fresh start. I can hear that things have not quite worked out that way and you don’t feel any happier and in fact things are a bit worse because of the heavier workload that you have got to cope with.

Lots of young people write to me at this time of year to tell me how hard it is to adjust and how it is really difficult to juggle all the work they are given. It sounds like this.

It is normal to feel anxious when moving into a new group of people with everybody trying to fit into the group. Colleges normally have student services where you can talk to somebody about your workload and any worries you might have about the subjects you have chosen. This might give you the opportunity to talk about managing the workload in a way that puts less stress on you. I can hear that some of the teachers know about your panic attacks and I am just wondering if there is one teacher in particular that you could maybe talk to in a bit more detail about all the stuff you have got going on - maybe they can point you in the right direction to get help within the college.

I am concerned that what’s going on has have left you feeling that you want to cut or overdose. I want you to know that I would never want you to do anything to harm yourself. It would be good for you to talk to somebody about everything.

The ChildLine counsellors are there to listen and help support you. You can talk to them in confidence and tell them as much or as little as you want to. Call free on 0800 11 11 or log on for a 1-2-1 chat online. You could also take a look at our feelings and emotions section for more information and advice or visit the Mind website for tips on coping with panic attacks.  

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small.

Write me a letter