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To Sam

i wantto find out about my mental health

so for a few years I have thought of some really dark things. I kept it to myself. a few months ago I started writing all my thoughts down in a notebook. then a few days ago I showed my mum my notebook and we talked about it. yesterday me, my mum and my older sister all talked about how I can get help with it. I don't want to talk to someone face to face but I want to know if there is something going on. I am going to be 13 in august so my dad says it may just be the hormones. my mum and sister think I may have a mental health disorder. my sister has anxiety so she recommended this so I can talk to people and see I am not alone. if you have any ideas on what I can do or if you think i may have something please reply. I didn't tell anyone for a while because I thought they may think I am attension seeking when I just want to know what is happening. please help. thank you.

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Everyone feels low or depressed at times and it’s a natural response when something sad happens, like when someone dies or a relationship ending. But feeling sad can happen when there’s no obvious reason too and it might be confusing when you don’t know why you feel unhappy.

Depression is when you feel sad a lot of the time – or sometimes you don’t feel anything at all, even from things that usually make you happy. Feeling depressed can feel like everything's hard work and you might want to hide away in your room, sleep a lot and you might feel cut off from the world.

Writing about your feelings can be a good way to express yourself and you could share your notes with an adult who can help like a parent, carer or a counsellor at Childline. Talking to someone else about your emotions isn’t attention seeking, its being honest. Telling an adult you trust about difficult things can be a first step towards getting the right help and support, no matter what problems you're facing. You can use your mood journal to track your feelings.

Not every day will be the same and you might start to see patterns when you feel lower. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning and you need more support to get motivated to start your day. Or it might be that your low mood seems to be connected to days where you don’t have a routine to follow like at weekends and holidays. If so then setting your morning alarm for the usual time and having a plan of things to achieve that day could help. It often helps to look back at your journal and see you’ve had days where you’ve felt better or you enjoyed something and to remember that it’s possible to feel more positive again in the future. Understanding how you’re feeling can also help you to talk to your family, your doctor or your counsellor if you have one so they know how to help.

Remember, only a doctor can diagnose depression and if you think you’re depressed you can talk to them about what’s happening Lots of young people share their experiences of depression and ways to cope on the message boards. And reading or sharing your experiences with the online community can help you to feel less alone. You can also always speak to a Childline counsellor if you want to talk more about how you're feeling. I’m glad you wrote to me - It can be hard to talk about feeling sad or depressed but help is available and it's always okay to say how things are for you.

Take care,

Sam

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