Tatyana shares her story of adjusting to life with a visible difference

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

My name is Tatyana and I was burned in a fire when I was eight years old.

Friends and people that I thought would have been there for me, would make fun of me behind my back. This continued throughout school.

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 eight-years-old onwards, I struggled with depression and low self-esteem.

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.

If you’re a young person or child who wants to read more about living with a different appearance and learn techniques to handle various situations, take a look at our self-help guides.

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