Saturday 13 September 2014


Reader Teresa has battled depression, self harm and an eating disorder over the last few years - and she believes that many of the kids in her school year are struggling too…

Teresa says:
My story starts ages ago… I've never fitted in, right from the start of primary school, and I have always been bullied. I've always had a problem with my weight, and this made me a target for bullies and made me long to be skinny. By the time I was in Year Four I was restricting what I ate, but I was happy apart from that. I had no idea how bad things would get.

By Year Six, the bullying had worsened and I began self-harming. By Year Seven I had started secondary and made new friends, getting away from the bullies. Even my eating disorder was under control. Suddenly it all went wrong - I lost my friends, boys I'd seen as friends turned against me. By Year Eight things were better again - I had a boyfriend and a group of friends who always made me laugh, and my problems seemed to be fading. Then I found out my boyfriend and friends had been using me… and my world crumbled all over again. One day I broke down at school; I couldn't hide the pain any more and the teachers spoke to my family. That could have helped, it didn't; my family didn't want to face the problems or accept that I was in trouble. They chose instead to ignore it all, pretend it wasn't happening, and so nothing really changed.

I have new friends now and a guy I like… things started off great but he has problems similar to mine and things went bad for him. My friends also have problems like this and things went bad for them too. I'd say around a third of the kids in my year have issues like mine, and yet these mostly go un-noticed - they are invisible illnesses. I have found some things that help - reading CC books have shown me that people do care and that things can get better. I like DRIFTWOOD and SUMMER's DREAM especially - they're books that show me I'm not the only one to have feelings like this. I am not sure why so many young people are unhappy these days, but it scares me sometimes. I am getting to the point where I feel like I need to ask for help, and if my family can't face what's happening I will go to the doctor by myself and get support and help from some of the websites and support groups out there.

I don't want to feel this way. I want to feel that life is good… I hope that one day it will genuinely feel that way.

Name has been changed to protect Teresa's identity, and pic posed by model
Photos by: Gratia C Model: Iona

HELP: If you're struggling like Teresa, please reach out and get some help and support...
Young Minds:
ChildLine: Call 0800 1111 or visit

Cathy says:
Teresa's story is sad and shocking, but not as unusual as it should be… and I think she is right, there are many young people struggling with invisible illnesses and issues. Have YOU ever been bullied or encountered any of the issues Teresa has? COMMENT BELOW to share your story or offer support and reassurance to Teresa.


  1. I used to have depression too... no one realised, until, like you, i broke down in school. No one told my family though: the teachers just acted wary of me, like I'd explode if I came too close, and my friends abandoned me. I decided to sort it out myself-I visited, and still visit, a doctor who helped so much. I never told my family. I was too afraid of their reaction. I have managed it now-the depressed girl who was always crying is in the past, replaced by someone who's glad she didn't give up, now she's got a future. If you have read this, thank you.

    1. Stay strong anon. Ur an inspiration to everyone for fighting against things like depression etc. I think people really need to start taking more notice of things like depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self harm. + people need to support and help others. My virtual hug to u Hamdi:)xxx

  2. I've struggled with depression since childhood too. It has made my life very difficult at times but the one thing that has helped me is to know that I am not alone. Teresa, please know that you are not alone. It can feel very isolating and at times you feel like you are so weird that no one will ever understand you and it often feels unfair that other people seem to find life really easy. But depression is an illness, it's not because you are less of a person, it affects so many of us and we are learning more and more about it as time goes on. I found talking to a therapist very helpful and I hope that you manage to find the best help for you. There is support out there for your parents too, so they can better understand what its like for you and what they can do to help (and what doesn't). One of the best things that has come from my illness is that I now feel able to help other people who are going through depression, I can be there for them because I know what it is like and I know that they won't have to go through it alone, like I did. You can recover from depression and have a wonderful, full life, so please keep looking to the future, nothing stays the same for long.

    1. Stay strong and don't ever forget that you are never alone. We're all in this together. xxx

  3. I think the saddest thing about this, is that nobody notices stuff like this IS actually happening in the world today. It's not just in books and movies. And it could be happening to anybody around you, friends, family, even the nicest, beautifulest girl in your class. We need to find away to make more people aware of what's happening, so we can fix it and make the world a better place. So, if you've ever self harmed, dieted, etc, remember that you aren't alone in this. There will always be someone there to help you through tough times, you might just have not realised it yet. Stay strong. xxxx

  4. Stay strong anon you are such an inspiration from Arabella

  5. stay strong and happy then your life will be better

  6. Keep going Teresa! Don't give up hope! If you talk to your family yourself they might understand that this isn't just something that they can ignore anymore. This is what families are for. Rosiexxx

  7. I know what its like to be depressed. I began to get depressed when my brother got chemical depression and I blamed myself and I assumed it was all my fault. It didn't help when I began to be bullied at school and peope called me fat and ugly. I for about a month or two became anorexic and my best friend Iseult was the only one who knew and she pulled me out of it. But then she moved to France and then I just stopped again. The world seemed to stop and I became depressed again, but not anorexic, though I still remained slim. I found school impossible and life in general hard and I stayed that way for two years with no-one realising what was going on. It wasn't until secondary school that someone noticed. That was Emma. She is always there when I need someone and she will never let me down. If you find a good friend, you can get through depression easily. Good luck!



Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...