Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Am I relapsing?

Hi Sam,

I've struggling with disordered eating for about 5 or 6 years now with my weight fluctuating from underweight to a 'healthy' weight throughout this time. This past year, I thought I had conquered my issues but the past week i've made myself sick twice, self harmed once, started cutting calories and increased my exercise. I thought at first I was just being healthy but i'm beginning to think i might be relapsing. I don't want to put anyone through the stress and worry all over again.

What should I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Trying to change a behaviour or way of thinking, particularly when you're having problems with eating, can be really difficult and relapsing is sometimes part of the process. Eating disorders are complex mental health problems and recovery can also be a complex process. Accepting and understanding this can be the first step in getting the support you deserve.

It's common for people who have had eating problems to feel that once they get better, they shouldn’t ever have problems again. But it’s not always this straightforward and sometimes problems with eating or mental health can come back. This can sometimes make people feel like they're letting their friends and family down or that they are to blame.

It’s not your fault if an eating problem comes back. It’s common to relapse when recovering and may be part of your journey. It’s important to remember that you're not putting your family through anything – health problems are not anyone’s fault. If you're able to accept this then it can make it easier to ask for help again. We also have advice on family relationships that you might find helpful.

Think about the person who you felt closest to during the times when you struggled with your eating. If you feel able to tell that person what’s happening then they can help you to get the support you need. Try writing down what you want to say in a letter so you don’t miss anything out and you can show the letter if you find talking difficult.

It’s really important that you look after your thoughts and feelings about what’s happening. Finding creative ways to express your feelings and talking to others may help to stop you getting into a spiral of negative thoughts. You might want to try keeping a record of your feelings about food with our mood journal or use creative tools such as the Art box to cope with your anxiety. If you don’t feel ready to share this with someone in your life, you can always talk to Childline. Our counsellors are always here for you.

Thanks for sending me this letter, take care.


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