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To Sam


I do not know how to catorgorize this, but my dad has severenmental problems and he was an alcoholic and self harmed, And i didn't help because i'm really ill and have been since i was in primary 5. Also my dad is disabled, so after school i'd have to sit in the house to help him, things like empty urine bottles and the toilet chair for him, and watch him. he always found a way to burn himself, and because he was so low he was never there for me, and when he was drunk he was agressive, i've had my head bashed off of a pointed fence, and grabbed and even strangled, he's alway verbally abusive though, even today. my mother never beleived me about what he was like when he was drunk... she was always over at a friends, but then she eventually walked in, in the middle of one situation and saw but it never stopped. but i always understand he had alot of problems which would get him angry, because he used to be able to walk,  but then through out the years of abuse he gave himself with the over doses of prescribed drugs, self harming, over eating and alcohol abuse his body gave up.  I've always put this behind me until about 2nd year, i was really low, sick of all the argueing, feeling severely drained. i could'nt do it anymore, I was self harming, and each time it just got worst. also on top of all of this i've been bullied all of my life. I went to the doctors because of how low i was feeling, and how i was so irratant but this is because i can only tolerate liquids, so i was also having problems with that. and now my parents both constantly shout at me for nothing, my brother always lies to get me into trouble because he's moved out and he likes annoying me, and since the only meal i have is soup, my mum isn't buying it all the time, and she knows i amn't allowed to eat anything other, everything else she buys is chocolates for my dad, and solids. so i just stick to water, milk and coffee. We've had socail work but they left, as my dad stopped being to agressive towards me but when they left, it happened again:/ he's off the drink now, he has his hiccups, but he's over doses more than anything, which i'd rather get verbal abuse than him killing himself, the other night i had to phone an ambulance on him because my mum wouldn't ... my mum leaves me to look after him so she can go out with her friends or bingo. and if there is a breivement or a time of grieving i'm the one who has to suck it up, which is really hard but my mum just goes into herself and numb, and so does my dad but i have no time to greive i have to put it to the side, so i can make sure they wash, eat, hydrate themself. also this year i've spent most of my time in hospital and i'm having to resit my year. but i'm to go for socailizing but i don't have many friends, so i just stay home. and even today my mum and dad argue with my mum&dad constantly on my back, about money problems which i understand, but i amn't aged or fit to do a great deal about it. It leaves me feeling useless, so i'm selling things my grandparents&other people have bought me, to get abit of cash for them. Also my mum never says she loves me and when my dad does i don't know if i can beleive him, because he hurts me.. I've also had to tackle him from over dosing on medication a dozen times. and when i get home from hospital i'm meant to rest and recover but it's the same as soon as I get in, either tidy my dads mess or beer cans or pick him up from falling out of his wheel chair, taking care of him. I now don't mind doing all this but it is draining, i don't feel i ever get a break even when i go out, it's only for a few hours, with my phone on, constantly checking everything is ok. then i have to talk to dad about his problems because no one else does, he's had help before he's been in a mental hospital but he rejects help from psychiatrists, just like the other night when i phoned an ambulance they told him to get help, but no he just said point blank no. It got me so angry, upset and confused, I don't understand why he wouldn't it would give me a break and i wouldn't have to constantly look after and supervise him, or deal with overdose come down. i see a spychiatrist but whenever i want to talk about my parents both of them tell me i'm not allowed.. and my dad screams at me. It's unfair they won't help themself and they won't let me either... i've wanted to kill myself so many times but i always think " but i've got other people to think about" which gets me lower but i don't do anything about it.I've never tried talking to others but i don't want to be a burden and put more on their plate. I also want to be a doctor, I've gave myself something to set my mind on to try and take it off everything. it works abit but not alot..  but when i get stuck or find something really interesting with my course in medicine i try to talk to my mum but she tells me to get lost, she doesn't care or is not interested. but she's always on the computer and i interupted her game. but i thought she'd atleast be abit interested but she's not, but it's the first thing i'm set on..   I've bottled this up for years, but i needed to get this out... I'm 15.. and my frame of mind is already it is better to independant, cause then you don't need anyone and won't get hurt or expect better from anyone, i should be able to talk about all this, and so much more that i am carrying on my shoulders. i'm just lost, filled with mixed emotions..and needed to get it out. but thanks for listening.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

You’ve shown a lot of courage to share what’s happening in your life with me and I’m glad you felt able to write it all down. You’ve been coping with a lot and I’m wondering what it was like for you to write down the different things that are going on for you.  For a lot of young people this can be an important first step in getting the help and support they need.

I’d like to encourage you to think about talking to a ChildLine counsellor, they would like to be able to support you in finding ways to cope. You can phone them free on 0800 1111, send an email or use the website to have a 1-2-1 chat. You can talk to them about anything and most things you say are kept confidential between you and ChildLine. You can find out more about the confidentiality promise on the ChildLine website.

You have talked about being really ill since you were in primary 5 and that could be very difficult for you. You have also said that you are not able to tolerate solid foods but your mum hasn’t been buying soup for you to eat. It’s not ok for her to do that; all parents or carers have a responsibility to ensure that you are looked after properly which includes having enough to eat. Being looked after properly also means that you are not left alone for a long time, and don’t have to spend a lot of time looking after other people in your family, without getting any support from an adult.
There is some information on the ChildLine website about being looked after properly that you might find it helpful to read, which you will find in the ‘Explore’ section.

It sounds like you might be left on your own to look after your dad quite a lot while your mum goes out. You do a lot of things to help care for your dad including trying to help him get better when he takes an overdose. I wonder whether you know that means you are a Young Carer. If you are a young carer, you should still have enough free time to do your school work, see friends or just chill out for a bit. There are lots of Young Carers in the UK who help to look after a family member; there is an organisation called Young Carers that exists to support young people. 

Thanks for telling us about when your dad was aggressive towards you; it’s not clear whether that’s still happening now. You said your dad would grab you, strangle you and he hit your head off a fence. It’s important to let you know, that is called physical abuse. Physical abuse is wrong and it is not your fault that it happens. All children and young people have a right to be safe from physical abuse in their lives.

You have also said that your dad is verbally abusive and that your parents shout at you all the time; at ChildLine, that would be called emotional abuse which is also very wrong. Nobody is allowed to say things to you that hurt your feelings and make you feel low.

There used to be a social worker involved with your family but it sounds like they stopped visiting you when your dad wasn’t being so aggressive. It’s concerning to hear that it started to happen once the social worker left. Some people who have been involved with Social services in the past consider contacting them again for further support and help.

You have told us you have been seeing a psychiatrist; you haven’t been able to talk about your life at home because your parents have said you’re not allowed and your dad screams at you. Your psychiatrist is there to listen to you talk about things that are worrying you and it’s important that you can tell them anything you want to. It is not ok for your parents to tell you what you can and can’t say.  When you see any doctor or nurse, it’s important to try and be honest with them about what’s going on for you so they can find the best way to help you.

It seems like you would really like to have someone to talk to about your life, being bullied,  wanting to be a doctor and what it’s like for you to feel it’s best not to rely on other people. Maybe you could think about what might happen if you were to talk to your psychiatrist. You can also talk to ChildLine as I said earlier and we hope you will consider that option, they are there to listen and they care about you.

Take care,


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