Ask Sam letter


To Sam

how do I stop

I started feeling really down exactly a year ago. I started self harming. I then completely broke down and had to tell a friend who said she'd done it to. Somehow it then got spread and everyone knew what I did. That was after a really bad break up. I saw a counsellor for 5 months but she didn't find out about what I was actually doing until the last session. I managed to stop by the summer, but the urge kept coming back at low times. In October I did it again and then on and off for a bit. About a month ago I did it badly again and it's getting worse and worse and I don't know how to stop myself. I feel like I have no incentive or reason to stop so I just carry on. The thing which triggered it most recently was one of my friends trying to commit suicide. I'm only 14 and I want to be able to stop but I can't. I feel like I have no one to turn to or properly talk to, partly because I don't want to worry anyone. Everyone thinks I've stopped now but no one ever asks if I'm ok they just assume and I don't know what to do please help. I have scars from the very first time I did it and that was enough to stop me for a while but now they're fading and I feel like I need new ones. I don't even try and cope any more I go straight to my blades and I'm sure there's another solution I just can't see it now
Ask Sam



Well done for getting in touch with me at what seems like a really difficult time for you. There are lots of reasons why young people self-harm, but there are different ways for you to cope and get help.

Self-harm usually comes from emotions that are difficult to cope with. It can be used as a way of releasing tension or controlling something in your life. It sounds like self-harm has become a way for you to manage your feelings when you’re feeling down.

It can sometimes be difficult to stop self-harming completely. It’s also natural to have a pattern of stopping and returning to self-harm. It’s important to remember the huge amount of strength and progress you have shown for not hurting yourself for those times when you weren't self-harming. But remember that we understand that there are lots of things that can cause us to start again. There are lots of self-harm coping techniques that you may find helpful to try and distract you, if you feel the urge to harm again.

You said that your friend trying to commit suicide recently was a trigger for you. It sounds like you’re trying to manage a lot of difficult feelings on your own. It can be hard if no one ever asks if you’re okay. I want you to know that you are not alone in this. You can get support from other young people on our self-harm message boards and find out what they have done to cope when they feel like they want to self-harm.

It’s really positive to hear that you want to be able to stop and that you’re sure there’s another solution to self-harm. There are lots of people who can help you stop self-harming and support you to find different ways to cope with how you’re feeling. You can talk to one of our counsellors, who are here to listen and can support you to express your feelings and help you to take steps to making a change.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter