A girl came up to me and introduced herself. She said her name was ‘K’. We became friends and started to go most places together. That’s what I thought friends did.
Each morning when I left my house, I’d tell my mum I was going to school when in fact I was actually meeting up with K. We bunked off school together nearly every day. We went to local parks and, on the odd occasion, to the shopping centre to do more than window-shop; we’d shoplift. When we went to school we’d try and sell what was left over to our class mates.
We’d laugh and joke around with each other but when my back was turned she would tell lies about me to people. I didn’t understand why she was being like this, but misbehaving with her was like a project to me. I had to do whatever she told me to do.
It was like she had some sort of power over me. I didn’t dare do anything else. But I could see a pattern appearing. No one would talk to me because they didn’t agree with who I was hanging out with.
I wasn’t only hurting myself but those around me that I loved. The effect that my behaviour had on my mum was really bad. Her skin began to dry up and the doctor told her that she was suffering from depression brought on by worrying about me.
I didn’t realise I was hurting anyone – I thought I was just doing what normal teenagers do – but, because of the way I was acting, my relationship with my mum suffered a lot.
We would always argue about what I was doing and how I couldn’t see the harm in it. Every time I got into trouble, my mum and her partner would argue about it.
Then they separated and my mum blamed me. I knew I had to find some way of controlling my behaviour before it was too late. I looked at myself clearly and realised that parts of my life needed to change.
I wanted to stop being K’s friend and when I told her she went totally the other way: she took it really badly and she started beating me up.
I thought all she really wanted was a friend but I now realised she was stark raving mad. I am totally disgusted by the way I used to be: what I got up to, the people I used to hang out with and the mischief I did. But I’m only ashamed because I knew what I was doing was wrong.
Just because your friends are acting all bad, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the same. Most people would love to be caring, polite, well-mannered and honest.
So look at your friends. Are they really proper friends? Do they care enough about you to be there when you need them? You need to stop, think, understand where you’re going wrong and change your routine. Then the rest will just follow.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you start slipping back into your old ways. I know, because waking up in the morning will feel better once you’ve turned your life around.