I thought drinking would help!

Dear Suzie, 

 I’m 13 and I’m so depressed. My parents think I’m just being silly and its my hormones but all the signs are pointing to depression. My sleeping pattern has changed, I constantly think about death, I wake up tell myself there is nothing in the world for me and so on. One day I was with my older friend who is 16 he offered me some alcohol. I had a sip because I knew it wouldn’t do any harm and it wouldn’t cause any problems, but it was really nice and I had more. One day I was so depressed I was on the edge of self harming so I went down into my garrage and took some of my parents alcohol. It cheered me up so much. From then on I took alcohol from my parents cupboard when I got depressed. My mum is a reflexologist and she can tell things from your feet. I was one of her case studdies and as soon as she pressed on the bit of my foot that represents the liver I screamed in pain. I’ve stopped drinking alcohol but I’m worried about what it has done to my body…And tellng my parents, I know I have to. I feel so ashamed.


Don’t feel ashamed – you needed some help and you weren’t getting it. But where did you get the idea that alcohol “wouldn’t do any harm and it wouldn’t cause any problems”? Dear me, what do they teach in schools these days! Cannabis, heroin and other illegal drugs may get a lot of the press but the truth is that more people are harmed by or even die of alcohol related illness than just about any other cause. Problem drinking tends to start with a few sips to make you feel better.

 OK – you seem to have realised it doesn’t help and it certainly does harm. I’m so glad to hear you’ve stopped drinking. But now you need to get some help for that depression you’re feeling and help that really helps, not something that simply hides it and hurts you in the process.

 Your parents may be right in thinking these feelings are normal, natural teenage blues rather than full blown depression. But that doesn’t mean they are silly or should be ignored or brushed away as trivial. You need and deserve some help with these feelings.

Your drinking is likely to have simply made you feel ill and done some temporary harm, but it may have left you with conditions that do need some medical attention. I’m not a doctor and even a doctor couldn’t diagnose from a letter. But I think it important you talk to your mother about your feelings, what you’ve been doing and how you’ve realised it doesn’t help and that you’ve stopped drinking. Then tell her, calmly but firmly, that you feel awful and need some help. You need someone to talk to – a counsellor who will take your feelings either of teenage angst or depression seriously and will support you through them. You should see your GP for a check up anyway, and then ask him or her to suggest someone in your area you can speak to. Good luck!

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