Hello, and welcome to my blog! I'm not sure exactly what I'll be writing about, but with the project I've been working on for the past 7 months recently announced, I felt compelled to finally start one. Of course, it has taken me almost a week to get my blog up and running - more on that in future blog entries...


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"My mum can't cope"

Angela, 16, has to look after her mum...

I love my mum, but sometimes I feel like she's the teenager and I'm her mum.

My mum can't cope

She just doesn't deal that well with the world.

It all started when I was 10. My mum always enjoyed having a drink or two at a party, but things started to go wrong between her and my dad and the drinking got way more serious.

Every time my mum and dad argued, dad would leave the house and mum would just drink.

When she was drunk, all responsibility was left to me. I was constantly having to clear up the house and look after my baby sister who was only five.

I was just a kid myself, only 10 when things got bad, and practically caring for my whole family aged 14.

Our family was ripped apart

Finally mum and dad split, but it wasn't all over.

“The divorce was hell”

The divorce was hell. Us kids wanted to stay with mum, but dad won custody after claiming her to be an alcoholic.

We moved in with dad, and although we tried to see mum every day and stayed at weekends, it wasn't enough. Without us she was a mess. Slowly she started to slide off the planet.

My mum moved into a flat with about six people in an area where most of the people were drug takers.

I hated it round there. On the few nights I was allowed to stay over, my mum would say she was going out for 10 minutes and not return until about 10 hours later.

I was terrified she was going to get drugs.

She was never home

Most of the time she wasn't in her house at all. She was always down the pub drinking. I can't count the number of times me and my brother had to go and find her and make her go home.

One night we were out for our first family meal together with dad's new girlfriend. Although I didn't like her, we accepted her.

Mum burst into the restaurant with her best mate and two blokes young enough to be her kids! She sat down at the next table and made a complete scene, and then she just passed out into oblivion.

In the end I took her home but what I saw devastated me!

Broken bottles everywhere and it stank of booze!

I put my drunken mum to bed and cleared up the house as much as I could.

“She passed out”

By the morning it was clean and my mum woke me up from the sofa. She couldn't remember everything that had happened.

"You really scared me, mum." I told her. "You were completely out of control and you can't carry on living like this, it's horrible."

I told her I was coming to stay and she cried in my arms.

Things were settling with dad and his new girlfriend, and I knew my brothers and sisters would be ok.

I gave her an ultimatum...

When I moved in with mum I told her, "I'm only staying if you keep off the drugs."

"I'm going to try, sweetheart," she said. "I'm going to try really hard."

I have to look after my alcoholic mum

She still drinks a bit, but she's coming off it slowly. We're trying to get a new place to live. I'm desperate to get mum away from those druggies, because I know how easily led she is.

I'm worried that if I leave her again, she'll just go back to her old ways, and maybe get even worse.

I'm stressed a lot. I worry about my mum and I'd be gutted if anyone at school knew what I was going though. But every day mum gets a bit better.

“I feel so trapped...”

I just hate to think what could have happened to her if I wasn't around.

To be honest with you, I don't know if I'll ever be able to leave her alone again. I feel so trapped.

I love my mum, but I need to have a life too.

I'm now in school and doing my A-Levels and hoping to lead a better life than the rest of my family have managed so far.

"I nearly drowned"

Lyndsee, 16, is terrified of water, and for good reason...

Most people love swimming in the sea.

Lyndsee's terrified of the sea

I used to love it too. The ocean stretching out forever and that feeling of cool freedom.

Now it makes me shiver, and it's all because of something that happened to me on holiday last year.

My family usually don't get to go away much. Mum works really hard and my dad is often away so it's hard to find the time.

Then last year my mum announced that we were going to Cornwall for 3 weeks. Everyone was going, including my three sisters and my gran.

I couldn't wait.

We were all together and I was so happy

We stayed in this small flat near the sea. There was hardly room for us all but we didn't mind.

“It was our first proper holiday”

The first day was bright and sunny and we just couldn't wait to get down to the ocean.

There were some lads on the beach and really weirdly we knew one of them, Dan, from our home town!

He was a couple of years older than me and I'd always quite fancied him.

I couldn't wait to get in the ocean

I stripped off into my new bikini and I hoped Dan was watching as I ran out into the ocean.

The waves were huge but I'm a strong swimmer so I didn't think twice about swimming out.

"I'm going back in," my brother said, "I'm not as good at swimming as you," he told me.

I was gutted to see him go because we were having so much fun, but now I was alone with Dan so I didn't mind too much.

As Carl went back to the shore, we all decided to swim farther out into the ocean where the waves were amazing.

We tried to jump the powerful waves letting them throw us around and laughing.

“The tide turned”

Then the tide turned, literally...

All of a sudden I looked back and realised how far we were from the shore.

Then I felt a powerful surge around my legs which knocked me sideways.

When I got my balance back I was choking on salty water, I looked around for my friends but they were miles away.

I was terrified...

I couldn't understand what was happening.

Lyndsee is terrified of water

I was far far out in the ocean trying to swim back to shore using all of what I had to give physically and mentally.

I realised I had to think fast. Before I knew it I was getting further and further and further away from shore and I was getting tired.

All of a sudden I got the most horrible feeling in my right foot and I couldn't swim anymore.

I blacked out, I think. And when I came too I was being dragged back to shore by Dan and his mates. They'd saved me.

“I was safe...”

Finally I got back to shore and I had to look at my foot. It was bleeding and all red and about four times its size. I was in excruciating pain.

No one has ever been able to explain what happened to my foot.

I also have not gone in an ocean since. I am pretty scared to set foot in another ocean ever again.

I know that I should never have gone out so far, and that I'm lucky to be alive.

I may swim in an ocean again one day, but I'll never feel that surge of freedom again.

To anyone reading this I would say, don't go in the ocean not knowing how to swim. Don't go in the ocean alone. Be aware of how high and powerful the waves are.

In The Dark: A real-life film

For Mum: A real-life film

"She Tried to Starve Herself"

Beth tried everything to make her friend eat...

“She thought she was fat, she wasn't”

My Best Friend Helen is Anorexic / Bulimic. It all started one day in half term when my friend Cat and Helen were discussing a diet they were starting.

At first I just sat there listening, but soon I'd had enough. 'Neither of you need to go on a diet you are just being stupid!' I told them straight. A big argument soon erupted that ended up with me storming off home and Helen chasing after me.

My best friend is anorexic

'Beth! Beth! Look don't be upset, it's just I do think I'm fat but...' Helen had hit a raw nerve, 'Helen, You're Not Bloody Fat! There's nothing to you!' I yelled.

'If you are anorexic or bulimic I want you to tell me right now! If not then you must promise me that you never will be. So, are you?' Helen just looked at me. I was devastated, because her silence meant she was.

She told me her daily food plan...

After the big bust up we didn't talk for a while. But I couldn't let my friend starve herselve to death. I knew I had to swallow my pride and talk to her.

Helen and I had many discussions about her problems, I thought that talking would help her. But then one day she told me her daily food plan. Which goes as follows:

Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Nothing

Dinner: Some

But the thing was the 'some' food she had for dinner she later 'got rid of'. Basically she would leave the table, go upstairs and puke it out.

So basically her entire intake of food each day was about enough to keep a hamster alive, if that.

I soon figured out that her mad eating plans weren't just about losing weight. Helen believed she was partly to blame for her parents recent divorce, and she didn't like her mum's new Boyfriend. The bulimia was a cry for help and attention.

I told her she was stupid. I told her she was beautiful, that she was thin. Too thin. She didn't listen. I cried most nights because I couldn't make her better.

She passed out

“I'd heard about people dying from anorexia”

One day in our summer holidays we'd all been sitting on the field. But I'd gone in for my dinner. I couldn't face watching Helen pick at her food, going on about how fat she was.

Minutes later Em came running up to me 'Beth, don't get angry, but last Tuesday Helen fainted on the school field and she's just done it again.'

I rushed over to her. She was lying on the grass, she looked so small, so thin. 'This is stupid,' I screamed at everyone. 'I'm taking her to my mum, this can't go on,' I said.

Mum was great, but even I could see she was shocked by the state of Helen.

She sat her down and just made her eat magic stars, a banana, and a glass of water. She watched her eat the whole lot, and then she stayed with her so she couldn't puke it up.

'You really really scared me,' I told Helen. 'This isn't funny anymore, please will you try and get better?' I asked her.

Helen knew that she had to change...

My best friend had bulimia

She promised me that she would try really hard to get better. 'I know that this isn't the right way to live,' she told me. 'I will try. Our friendship is too important to me.'

I knew that she meant it, but I also knew what a strong grip the illness had on her and it wasn't going to be an easy journey back to normality for any of us.

Helen started seeing the school counsellor, but she was still really thin. And I got really suspicious that she might still be puking secretly.

It was like, every time she went to the loo I was suspecting her. That's not a great way to be.

She needed someone looking out for her the whole time, but her mum was hardly ever home and there was no-one making sure that she was eating right at home.

It was a cry for help...

“You have to count your blessings”

We finally convinced her to tell her Nan, who has been making her eat, but keeping it down is a different story.

She's just so devious and will tell any lie to make us think she's eating normally.

Even though I love my friend her behaviour can be quite annoying. I have to spend so much of my life worrying about her, and I just get loads of abuse in return. She still needs medical help, and I will get her it.

All she really wants is for her mum too notice, but she's to wrapped up in her love life! So if you're reading this Mrs Lewis, buck up your ideas and notice your daughter's cry for help!

"My dad died"

An anonymous Slink reader tells her story...

Life was going great! I had an amazing family, great friends, and I went to a good school.

My dad died of Cancer

I could never imagine that what happened in the year to come would be so terrifying.

I woke up one morning and the house was deathly quiet, even though it was a school day. I thought that I'd overslept so I rushed downstairs to see what was going on.

That was when I saw my mum and dad sat on the sofa looking at each other. mum told me to go and get my sister. When we sat down together on the couch, my dad started to cry.

The news was bad...

"I've got lung cancer" he said.

At first I didn't really understand what was going on but after having it explained to me, I started crying too.

There was a possibility that my dad could die. But I didn't think that would happen to us, dad was always so strong!

I just couldn't get my head round it. One of the hardest things was telling my best friend.

I burst into tears in her bedroom and couldn't stop crying for hours. Somehow, telling somebody else made it seem so much more real.

My dad went through chemotherapy and was very ill over it. I missed a lot of time off school, sometimes weeks at a time. My mum was in bits and I had to look after her.

“He was so weak”

After around 5 months, my dad had lost his hair. It was strange to see somebody so close to me this weak.

He started to have these fits. His left arm would uncontrollably spasm and the left side of his body would go weak.

One time we were all staying at my uncle's house and my dad had a fit in the bathroom. Luckily I didn't see it.

About two weeks later, my dad had another fit in front of me and my other sister. It was awful.

We were thrown out of the room by my mum and had to ring my other sister from upstairs and tell her not to go into the living room until dad was ok.

After a few months of radiotherapy, my mum and dad were called to the hospital to see the consultant.

Had the treatment worked?...

My sisters and I waited nervously at home. This was to see whether or not the radiotherapy was working or not.

After waiting for what seemed to be forever, the car pulled up the drive. They walked through the door and my dad started to cry. I knew that this couldn't be good news.

We found out that he had been immune to the radiotherapy and so the cancer had developed. He had been given a terrible choice. Either he could live for 2 months without any more chemotherapy, or live for 5 more months and have intensive chemotherapy.

Between us we decided not to take the chemotherapy because we didn't want him to be ill in the last few months of his life.

In the next few months of his life, we did everything together: going to football matches (Manchester United of course) to Alton towers (we went on every ride and we got to go in through the exits because my dad was "Disabled")

5 months had passed, a lot longer than he was expected to live, and my dad started to become really ill.

It was the end of April and my mum told me that my dad was going to stay at a hospice for a week or two and then he would be coming back home.

My dad died

After about 3 days, we went to see him. He looked so weak. The day after, my mum told us that the doctors thought that this was his last day to live and that we had to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye to my dad knowing that it would be forever was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. He wasn't awake when I was speaking to him. We had been told that he could hear what we were saying but couldn't respond.

The day after, I was at my nan's house with some of my family and my mum and sister were together somewhere else. I was waiting in my nan's living room when my uncle got a phone call. I knew that it would be about dad.

I was so confused...

I burst into tears. We got in the car and raced to the hospice, thinking my mum and sister were there.

My auntie was holding me tightly in the car, reminding me that she had hold of me and would never let me go.

We got to the hospice and my family were nowhere to be seen. Then we went back to my nan's house. They weren't there.

“He was so brave...”

Then, finally, we went back to my house. Stood in the doorway was my mum, arms wide open.

"dad's gone," she said. I ran into her arms and we both sobbed.

I was in such a mess! Then we had to face the funeral. My mum ran up to the coffin crying. It was so hard to see my mum like that. But we stood by each other and stayed strong.

The funeral was awful...

Everyone was there for him, and hearing them singing somehow made me stronger.

“Life is getting back on track...”

5th of May 2002 changed my life. I miss my dad so much but I know that good things always come from bad.

I still have my friends and family and life is getting back on track. I miss my dad so much but little things keep cropping up, just proving that he is watching over me.

He had told me that he would do and that he would be in my heart all the time. And he is. Always there. Everywhere. In everything I do.

He will always be with me.

I love you dad xxxx

"My friend is bisexual"

Teri's best friend had a secret...

I'd always been quite quiet, but in year 9 things started to change for me. I made loads of new friends outside my tutor group and really opened up.

My friend was bisexual

I was just having a great time, getting up to all sorts and kind of going crazy.

Around that time I made friends with a girl called Ruby. We really hit it off and quickly became best friends.

We felt like we could tell each other everything. It was amazing, having someone that really understood everything I was going through at that time.

But Ruby had a secret...

I was so happy, but I started to feel like my other friends were keeping something from me. A secret that had something to do with Ruby.

“Something was going on”

People would say stuff that I didn't understand or give me and Ruby strange looks when we were out.

"So you and Ruby are getting on well - what's happening there then?" one guy asked when we were out at the park. I didn't have a clue what he was on about.

Whenever someone said stuff like that, Ruby would act really funny. She'd go bright red and tell me not to listen.

I didn't think much of it to be honest.

She got too close...

Me and Ruby had English together and would always sit next to each other. I thought it was cool because we were such good mates.

Sometimes she would sit really really close to me. It was too close, and although I didn't want to hurt her feelings, I found myself shrinking away from her.

This could make her angry. "Why you moving? Have I done something wrong?" She'd ask. Once or twice she'd touch my leg. "Don't be angry," she'd whisper.

I was starting to feel quite uncomfortable around my friend. And I just really wanted to know what was going on.

I decided to go and ask one of my friends about it. "Is anything wrong with Ruby?" I asked.

“I confronted her...”

But they wouldn't tell me. "You'll have to ask her," they said, and moved away.

The next day I built up all my courage and asked her why she was being like this to me.

She went really quiet and red for about 5 minutes while she tried to change the subject. I kept on at her. "What is it?" I said, getting quite angry.

Finally she looked me straight in the face and said, "I'm bisexual and I fancy you'.

I was totally shocked. I don't know why, but I just laughed. It was just so weird.

Ruby looked gutted and ran off. But I didn't run after her. I just didn't know what to say.

I felt so mean...

My friend was bisexual

I felt awful. I couldn't stop thinking about the look on her face and thinking about how much courage it must have taken for her to tell me how she felt.

I knew I didn't want to get involved with Ruby in that way, but I didn't want to lose her as a friend either.

The next day I tracked her down behind the science block.

Everyone had been teasing me about it all day, so I could only imagine what they'd been saying to Ruby.

"I'm sorry about yesterday," I said. Then I explained exactly how I felt. "We're such good friends," I said gently, "But I don't think about you in that way, I'm straight."

“She looked like she might cry...”

"I know," she said sadly. "I think you're amazing, but I know you're not into me in the same way." She looked like she might cry.

"Have you heard what people are saying about us?" she asked. I wouldn't mind if you didn't want to hang out with me."

"Don't be daft," I said, giving her a hug. "You're still my friend!"

We're closer than ever now. And Ruby is actually seeing a guy at the moment.

I've learnt that people have totally different and surprising sides to them, and you should never listen to what idiots at school say. We should love our friends for who they are!