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Asker

To Sam

Worried about a friend

hey.

im  R* (13) and my gf (14) is a self harmer. we talk about it whenever we feel the need to. she says she doesnt do it often but the scars and cuts say otherwise. im really worried about her. i've suggested to her she talks to someone else, like a professional or someone from childline, but she says she doesn't like talking to people about it. she says im the only one she talks to about it.

she hides herself really well and thats the worrying part. no one knows other than me, so no one can help other than me and who ever else knows.

we trust each other with our lives. we've been going out for about 4 or 5 months now, but i've only just found out.  she says everything would be better if she just acted happy. she's done it for 9 years.

also when we aren't talking about cutting and self harm, i find it awkward talking to her. i cant find things to say to her. im not really a good conversation starter. 

if you could help me with either of these it would be really helpful and i'd be most grateful, thanks in advance.  R* x

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for talking to me about your concerns for your girlfriend who self-harms. I'm really pleased that you've decided to ask for some support with this.

From what you've said, you have done all the right things to try and encourage your girlfriend to talk to someone about how she feels, but it sounds like she is not ready to do that. Maybe you could talk to her about looking at the self-harm page in Explore. There is some useful information there on self-harm and how to tell someone about it. She may also want to look at the self-harm message boards, where other young people have posted about their own situations.Your girlfriend could post a message seeking support from the online community too. This may be a good place for your girlfriend to start talking to someone about what is happening in a ‘safe place’ which is anonymous.

It is really great that you are offering your girlfriend such wonderful support but it is important that you are supported too. It must be very difficult dealing with the pressure of being the only person that your girlfriend speaks to about her self-harm. If you don’t feel able to talk to an adult you trust about this, you can always chat to a ChildLine counsellor by sending an email, logging on for a 1-2-1 chat or calling the helpline on 0800 1111. Remember, if you or your girlfriend are ever seriously concerned about her safety, then you should tell an adult or contact 999 for immediate help. For example, you might need to do this if she has cut herself and can't stop the bleeding.

You mention in your letter that you find it awkward talking to your girlfriend and that you don’t feel like you are good at starting conversations. It may be that you have shared interests and things that you both enjoy, such as music, TV programmes or sporting activities. These would all make good conversation starters and you can probably think of more too. For more help, have a look at this information in Explore which talks about building confidence and self esteem.

It is great that you have contacted me to talk about this and you should be proud that you are looking out for your girlfriend in this way.

Take care,

Sam

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