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Recent questions

My best friend of many years has become grumpy with me

My best friend of many years has become grumpy with me. This may seem like a stupid post but honestly i don’t know what to do. she’s had a few suicidal problems and she used to cut, when i was talking to her over skype she started playing music when i said “i have a headache can you possibly turn it off maybe?” which then she replied with “I had a razor before close to cutting i feel really suicidal and you like ‘sarah’ more than you like me go away and go talk to sarah, you like her way more than me!” (sarah isn’t her real name i just wanted to keep it as confidential to my life as possible) what do i do?

There seem to be two issues here you’re worried about why your friend is self-harming. There are loads of websites and telephone lines she can tap into that address these issues and get support. Secondly you are not responsible for her behaviour and choices what you do or don’t do doesn’t make her, self-harm, it’s much more complex than that. Maybe once you’ve pointed her in the direction of help, parent, carer, youth worker, health carer, website etc, you can back off for a bit.

Friendships are difficult, we fall in and out of friendships and we grow in and out of them as we meet different life stages. Don’t take on something you can’t cope with, acknowledge her distress but don’t take it on as your own if you are unable to help. When people feel this low they sometimes go round in circles and you can find yourself being dragged in and it doesn’t help either of you.

You may not be able to change the situation but you can change how you react. Reacting in a different way may make you and your friend feel uncomfortable at first but may move things in a different direction towards a more positive outcome.

Offer support as a friend, but back off when you’re out of your depth or when you are being pulled in too far, to give yourself space to think about what’s really going on here. The phone number for the Isle of Man Samaritans is 663399, they also have a website. This would be a good place for your friend to turn to for support where there is someone to talk to 24hours a day.

These things have a way of working out given time and the right support.

My boyfriend wants to snog but i’m scared i might do it wrong

I know kissing isn’t a big deal to some but it is to me. My boyfriend wants to snog or ‘pull’ in his words meaning he wants to french kiss, i would love to but i’m scared i might do it wrong or that i’m not ready at all i already agreed to it though. what can i do to stop all these fears?

Kissing is a big deal, some people find it more intimate than sex!  Firstly you should never agree to anything you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s your body and you can share it as you wish.  You also have the right to change your mind or stop at any time this is about consent. Your mouth and lips are very sensitive areas (just ask any dentist) and there’s a really fine line between what feels good and what doesn’t, also because it’s really important part of breathing and if this is compromised you can feel very anxious.

There’s no right way, start with what you feel comfortable with and what makes you feel safe and special. Trust is a really big thing here and this is what your boyfriend needs to understand, sounds like you need to teach him a thing or two about respect sharing and your rights to make choices about your own body. So first things first use your mouth for talking about how you feel and if he’s worth it he’ll understand.

I’ve found a series of bumps just around the inside of my vagina

Just today I’ve found a series of bumps just around the inside of my vagina, in varying sizes. It’s kind of a little itchy but not unbearable. I’m super upset though, how can I get rid of this as soon as possible? :’( I can’t drive so I don’t know how to get to the GUM clinic or how quickly they’re able to see people. please help :(

Lumps or bumps may be normal, there are lots of lumps in this area that are. They may or may not be linked to your itchiness. One way or another you need some reassurance. A practice nurse or GP could help you to know what is normal for you. If you can see the lumps the embarrassing bodies website has some photos that show you what warts and herpes virus looks like as well as harmless skin tags and all the various normal anatomy that a range of women have.

GUM is at Nobles there are loads of bus services, the timetable is on the IOM gov website. You may have to wait a little while for an appointment but they could help you out on what’s normal and what needs attention, If you have had unprotected sex you could probably do with some help and advice in general to make sure you’re safe and free from a range of infections.

Sexual activity with a partner often results in a feeling of discomfort and mild pain

Sexual activity with a partner, for me, often results in a feeling of discomfort and mild pain. I believe this to be due to the condition referred as ‘frenulum breve’, whereby a short frenulum restricts normal retraction of the foreskin, thus discomfort in exposure of the penile glans during penetrative intercourse. I believe the procedure to provide positive prognosis of my predicament to be a ‘frenuloplasty’, without the requirement of circumcision.


Would I be able to visit the GUM clinic regarding this matter for further refers to a urology consultant?


I regularly visit my GP (monthly) in accordance with a medication review, however, this familiarity with my GP has subsequently led to an inability, on my part, to discuss such matters during my consultations, despite my acknowledgement of the nature of clinical practice and the confidentiality it entails.


Thus, I am asking it would be possible for referral from the GUM Clinic, post-visit, to Urology (if it is outside the remit of the GUM Clinic), for such matters of a consultation regarding going ahead with the aforementioned procedure?

You do need to be seen by your GP to be referred to a urologist. If you see a GP regularly you may wish to ask to see another one about this problem. The GUM Clinic are unlikely to refer you for this procedure, but it maybe that pain during intercourse is due to other factors such as infection and they could check you out for that. You may have to wait a little bit for an appointment but it is best to ring and get booked in - Their number is 650710 and there is a choice of clinic times. It is likely that you would have quite a wait to see a urologist, but as you are concerned you need to set the ball rolling and get into the system. Hope this helps - Good luck.

Can a 16 year old get an abortion without parental consent?

Can a 16 year old get an abortion without parental consent and covered by NHS in the Isle of Man or the UK? If so, how?

Yes you can in theory get an abortion without parental consent, but as this is a really difficult time for any young person and there is a lot to be considered. The people helping you, counsellors doctors or other health care workers would encourage you to confide in your parents carers or another adult. They will help you decide who the best person would be and how it would help your situation. One of the best websites to work through the issues is Brook they have on line webchats or free consultations over the phone.

The family planning association also have useful advice on line www.fpa.org.uk

The local family planning clinic can support you with advice, its free confidential and you don’t always have to make an appointment. Tel 642186

The laws in the Isle of Man about abortion are different to the rest of the UK, we don’t have abortion pills and you would need to travel elsewhere to have an abortion. You would have to pay for the procedure and travel and may need to stay away overnight, although it could be done in a day. It would cost around 600, if you need to find this sort of money you need help and advice too.

If you think you may be pregnant it’s important that we find out for definite so we can support you and help you make choices, if you’re not we can help make sure you don’t get in this difficult situation again. Our only aim is to make sure you are safe and well and not at risk of any harm. Take care and good luck!

There’s a girl I like, she is 13. Is she too young for me?

There’s a girl I really like, and I think she likes me too. She is 13, I am 15. I have been mocked and told that it’s weird, although there hasn’t been any sexual contact. Is she too young for me, or are people just being unnecessarily mean?

This is obviously of great concern to you. I am glad you have decided to ask for help regarding your situation.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t have a non-sexual relationship with this girl.

In your question you say that you haven’t started a sexual relationship with her. This is a good thing as you need to be aware that the legal age for consent to sex is 16 years old.

Please be aware that 2 years is quite an age gap, at the moment and you need to be sure she is happy to embark on a non-sexual relationship

Only you and this girl can decide if this relationship is right for you both.

It may be a good idea to discuss this situation with an adult you trust or possibly the School Nurse would be able to help support you with the emotional side of your problem

You could also discuss any concerns you may have with the staff in GUM on 650710.

Is it possible to get the contraceptive injection at the GUM clinic?

Hi there, it’s great that you have considered what type of contraception you would like but unfortunately GUM only provides emergency contraception and pregnancy testing at the moment. If you are considering the contraceptive injection or just need a repeat injection this is available at the Family Planning Clinic and most GP’s surgeries. I would advise you to see which is most convenient for you to attend and book an appointment as soon as possible if you do not want to get pregnant.

The Family Planning Clinic can be contacted on 642186 and your GP’s number will be in the phone book.

Hope this helps and good luck!

How do I come out as lesbian?

How do I come out as lesbian? I’m scared of everybody hating me for it, but keeping it to myself is horrible too.

Coming out can be a very scary time and each person has to choose when is right for them. Do you have a close friend or relative you could have a chat with first? This may be the easiest way to start at first by getting some support from a trusted person.

Keeping this to yourself will be very difficult and may make you feel worse, whereas being open and honest may make you feel a lot better. Afterwards it can be a big relief.

    Telling friends:
  • • Young people are often more understanding of gay and bisexual people.
  • • Old friends can be easier to tell once you’ve made new friends who understand you
  • • You may lose some friends through their own prejudice or fear of being labelled gay themselves
  • • Some friends may be proud of you
  • • True friends will stick by you.

    Telling family:
  • • Only you know whether you want your family to know
  • • It is daunting and a big move but can be worth it
  • • The news may come as a shock
  • • They may already know!
  • • They may be fine about it !

The people you love and who love you should support you and not hate you. They should love you for just being you.

It may help you to meet with other young people in a similar situation who can help and support you and you will realise you are not alone.

There is a local group – IOM Youth LGBT who can help and support you. They are part of DEC Youth

There is a local support group known as the Manx Rainbow Association and they have a web site for local information :  http://www.manxrainbow.com/

There are also national helplines and websites you can contact for information and support. You might like to try : www.tht.org.uk

Make the first step when you are ready. Remember support is out there to help you. Good luck .

Is it possible that I can see a different doctor at the GUM clinic?

My mum and dad both work in the medical departments on the isle of man, will they know if I have been to visit? Also one of the doctors that my dad works with, works at the GUM clinic, is it possible that I can see a different doctor?

Confidentiality is paramount in GUM clinic. We understand that we all live and work in a small community and we are always being asked this question because lots of people worry about this. To reassure you, only the staff that work in GUM have any access to the medical records here. Our records are separate and do not form part of your general medical records.  So, if you were admitted to hospital, for example, your GUM records would not be part of this record. Or if you went to your GP they would not be aware of your GUM attendance. GUM has its own computer /IT system which again only GUM staff would have access to. Therefore anyone working elsewhere in the hospital could not access any GUM information unless they actually work in GUM and have been given passwords and access rights to the information. When patients book into clinic we have added an extra security measure of obtaining a password from the patient which is a unique method of double checking security within the hospital. This is to ensure any telephone conversations are with the correct person. If the staff have any reservations about the identity of a person calling, no information will be divulged e.g. results of test or even acknowledgment of knowing the patient.

You do not say how old you are, but again to reassure you, anyone who is under 16 can attend our clinic and they are also fully entitled and protected by our strict code of confidentiality. There are exceptions, but these are not common, and information could be shared with other health professionals to protect the young person and ensure they are looked after properly. This would be discussed with the young person.

Regarding your Dad working with one of the GUM Doctors, when you book an appointment if you mention the name of this Doctor at the time of booking our friendly reception staff will ensure you will be booked into another clinic either run by another Doctor or one of the nurses. Once again, we are used to people knowing staff in the clinic and we always reassure patients that all information remains confidential regardless of who you know and who knows you. We understand patients could be embarrassed to be seen by someone they or their family know so we always try to accommodate any requests regarding who they are/ not seen by.

If you have any worries, please do not hesitate to book an appointment at the clinic.

When I was 15, my boyfriend, same age, forced me into having sex

When I was 15, my boyfriend, same age, forced me into having sex. I was and am a christian and when he cheated on me we split and I found the whole thing extremely difficult and went off the rails sleeping with anyone. I now completely regret that in my past. I’m now married and find it hard to have a normal sexual relationship with my husband as I see it as him getting his way and a way of making him feel good and using my body. I also find it difficult to enjoy it as I’m not sure as a christian whether I should be enjoying it or not. I’m very confused.

That sounds like a heavy burden to carry about and as if the confusion is affecting your life. Experiencing any form of childhood trauma and abuse can impact on an adult’s quality of life in fundamental ways.

Firstly, you were not to blame for what happened to you when you were 15 and on top of that any trust in the relationship you had was challenged by his subsequent cheating. I wonder if you sought any kind of professional help at the time from anyone and if you did, if you could talk with that person again? That could be a GP, counsellor, pastor or someone similar? You sound as if you need to talk to someone you trust about this and where your life is now.

The counsellors at Relate (the relationship support people) help over a million people each year of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations to strengthen their relationships and they have a branch here on the Isle of Man. They are a confidential service. You don’t say if your partner knows the whole story or whether you are ready to share it with him, but be reassured that Relate don’t only see couples, they see people on their own too. It sounds as if you are not only worrying about your emotional and sexual relationship but also your Christian beliefs and maybe you need to ‘sort out’ how you feel about your relationship before you can work on your Christian belief.

Contact details for relate: Relate Isle of Man phone 01624 623 902.

It is important for you to know that although you were forced to have sex some time ago, when you were 15 years old, that was at an age when you were under the legal age of consent, the police are very sympathetic to such cases and, only if you wanted to, would be happy to talk through anything with regards to sexual assault or rape, this can be done without having to press charges.

With the right help and support people who have been through similar situations have gone on to live healthy connected lives. Understanding the effects of trauma and abuse can help people connect their past experiences with their present challenges, and find pathways to a healthier future. I wish you well and really hope you can reach out to someone so you can get help to deal with this and move on with the rest of your life.

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