Dear Thelma

I am a 15-year-old high school student. These past few months have been miserable and depressing. I am currently suffering in many things: school, life, my dream to become someone successful … the list goes on and on.

Every day I feel terrible. I feel as if I would die at any moment. There is this heavy weight on my shoulders and I always feel tired and sick. I have lost my appetite and an interest in the things I used to enjoy, I can’t concentrate on anything. I just feel demotivated in anything I do. Sometimes I feel like giving up and killing myself. Over the last few months, I think I’ve gone mental.

School doesn’t help either. My classmates make fun of me all the time, calling me names. Some even try to strike back at me whenever I say something, or ignoring me as if I am no one. I once had friends, but they don’t talk to me anymore. Everyone else is having a good life while I’m always in the corner alone, suffering quietly from this chaos.

I feel stressed because of my studies and my goal to succeed in my violin career. Sometimes I just can’t handle anything around me and I always have the urge to commit suicide. Life just doesn’t feel right and I feel that ending my life can just lead me to peace.

Am I suffering from depression, Thelma? Or is it just me imagining things? I just want life to be good again and I don’t want to wear the mask that everyone sees. Please help me. – Emotional


Dear Emotional

You should go and talk to someone and you should do it very quickly because you’re feeling suicidal. That is never good, and so it’s important you get some help. Can you talk to your parents? Or maybe a close relative or a teacher you trust? Please do so as soon as you can.

Curiously, feeling suicidal is not always an indication of depression. Feeling suicidal simply means you don’t want to live the way you are. It’s a cry for change. This is why there are people who suffer from anxiety, grief and other conditions who feel that way, too.

Depression itself is a complex issue because no two people are affected the same way.

Generally speaking, depression involves having symptoms for two weeks and more. These include but aren’t limited to feeling hopeless, not enjoying things you used to enjoy, not being able to sleep, losing your appetite, feeling like a failure, wanting to die … You mention all of these, and more, so I really think you need to be assessed properly.

Please don’t worry about asking for help. Teenage depression is very common and it’s becoming more common every year. The reason for it is hotly debated but some suggest it’s because the way we socialise has changed.

Teenagers used to spend time at school, and then go home and spend time with their families. They would also have a social life with the kids who lived in their own neighbourhood.

Teenage depression is very common and it’s becoming more common every year… Some suggest it’s because the way we socialise has changed.

Today, life is very different and a lot more stressful. You study a lot more and you’re probably on your phone a lot too, so you don’t get a break. As such, recognising you can’t cope and asking for help is sensible and proactive.

While you haven’t asked me for advice on friendship, I think you need urgent help there, too. You mention that some of the kids at school are bullies, calling you names and even hitting you. That is totally unacceptable and you have to tell your parents and teachers so they can put a stop to that. With all the big bully stories in the press at the moment, adults should be listening, so speak out. Bullies never pick on one person! So by reporting it, you will be helping yourself as well as the other kids they’re bullying.

Finally, you say you had friends but now you’re alone. Please talk to your counsellor or therapist about this. You see, depression can have some strange effects. In a way, it can act like a cloud of dark smoke. When we feel depressed, it wraps around us, making it hard for our friends to reach us. Also, this haze makes everything seem hopeless.

So I’m thinking it’s possible that some of your old friends would be happy to talk to you, but maybe they’re a bit uncertain about how to go about it. This is not your fault or theirs; it’s just an effect of the depression.

Work out what’s going on, and get your counsellor and your parents to help you get back into your happy zone again. This may be as simple as asking an old friend over to your house for an afternoon.

You’re very brave to speak up and I hope you get help very quickly. Do write and let me know how you get on.


Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help.

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