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Tatyana’s story: “I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing”

Tatyana is a burns survivor. She shares her story of adjusting to life with a visible difference.

I was burned in a fire when I was 8 years old. I don’t know what came over me but I remember grabbing a lighter and clicking it. I remember I almost got burnt but I managed to stop and then I clicked the second time and it exploded all over my shirt.

I remember feeling cold and waking up in hospital and realising I had burns. I felt like I was in an episode of Holby City.

That’s when the real battle started. The physical things were easier to get back, such as learning how to walk again or going to the bathroom by myself. But mentally – it took me years. From being 8 years old onwards, I struggled with depression and low self-esteem.

I have finally reached a place where I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing.

Friends and people that I thought would have been there for me would make fun of me behind my back. This continued throughout school. But I have also had some amazing times – like meeting other people with similar experiences, and getting help from a youth group.

I am now able to help other people, and have shared my story with the BBC and The Sun. I have finally reached a place where I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing. Has it been easy? No. There were challenges, but I have grown a lot since then and know that I’m closer to where I want to be.

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