Ask Sam letter


To Sam

do i have a mental disorder?

hello, sam! i’m a 13y/o female. so, i was actually hesitant to write this because i dont want to seem an attention seeker, but i will do so anyways because i am too scared to ask my counsellor. so.. i went through bullying last year (it ended last year when they moved out.) it wasn’t just ‘you’re ugly’, it was discreet insults and snide comments made under the breath, and faces made at me. now, when i talk and my sentence grows longer than maybe 5-6 words, i start sweating and get butterflies in my stomach. i start stuttering and blushing and forget how to speak english properly. not only this, but i overthink EVERYTHING. every single little detail. when i’m talking to someone, i will get stressed they find me weird. i get scared that someone i dont have a crush on thinks i do. my overthinking is such a problem, i can’t sleep well. i cry myself to sleep, sometimes. both of these problems are ones i have had since i was 7-8. please respond. thank you so much!! <3333

- anonymous

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Bullying can affect your confidence and the negative effects can still be felt long after the bullying has stopped.

People calling you names, making faces at you and saying unkind things to you under their breath are all types of bullying. Bullying that isn’t always obvious can affect you as much as being shouted at or physically hurt. It might make it harder to understand what’s happening and more difficult to explain to someone else. It’s always okay to ask for help, it doesn’t make you an attention seeker.

Sweating, blushing, stuttering, forgetting your words and having butterflies in your stomach can be signs of feeling stressed or anxious. Although it might feel difficult in that moment, it can help to remember that it’s your body’s natural response to feeling under pressure or threatened. Feeling worried about physical signs of stress can make you feel more anxious. Then it can become a cycle that’s hard to change.

The anxious feelings won’t last forever and there are different ways to help you cope with them when they happen.

Some people distract themselves by thinking or doing something completely different, like focussing on a colour, a smell, or other things you can see around you. You can find more ideas in our Coping Kit to help with distracting you from anxious feelings.

You can also try to focus on relaxing any tension in your body by unclenching your fists and letting your shoulders drop down a little, away from your ears to help you feel calmer.  Your counsellor might have some ideas too. By telling your counsellor what you’re struggling with, they can work out how best to help - they’re always there to listen and help you. If it’s hard to know what to say, you could try using our conversation starter.

Thinking a lot about other people judging you or trying to guess what they are thinking or feeling about you can also make you feel worried or anxious. What somebody else says or thinks about you isn’t something you have much control over and worrying about it probably won’t change anything.

Try to focus on things you do have a choice about or can change instead.  You could build your self-esteem by writing down one thing you like about yourself and two things you’ve done well each day. Ask yourself what your best friend or an adult you trust like a grandparent, carer or teacher might say about you if it’s hard to think of something.

Childline counsellors are here for more support and there’s great advice from other young people on the Childline message boards too. And if feeling anxious and still have problems sleeping you can always talk to your doctor.

Thank you for writing to me and I hope this advice helps

Take care,


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