Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I can't deal with this

I just need a bit of advice right now. Everything seems to be on top of me and I'm not to sure how to deal with it. See, I'm currently in tech studying ICT and I'm in a job 4 days a week & it's going great. But recently I've fallen back into depression and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on my work, most of the time I have to call in sick at work because I can't sleep at nights and I'm too tired to get out of bed.

I've looked into counselling, but because I'm at work most of the drop in centres close before my set ending time. I'm aware of the other options like childline, samaritans etc, but I feel like I would benefit more from a face to face session rather than an over the phone one. The only problem with that is that I find it hard to release my emotions in public.

I've also started self harming again after stopping for nearly 6 months, which is making me feel worse about myself and making me cut more. There's also the topic of where my feelings lie as my bestfriend is telling me she loves me, as is a guy I know along with another girl (I'm bisexual) so because I have to choose, I'm cutting more. And, I just feel like switching my emotions off, just cutting and going day by day in a daze because I can't deal with the pressure.

I apologise for the length of this letter and don't worry if you can't answer it, it's always good to write feelings down, even if you don't get replies so thanks :D

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter at what seems like a stressful time for you.

You mentioned feeling under a lot of pressure at the moment and you’ve done the right thing in speaking to me about this. You also mentioned falling back into depression and it's common to find it hard to concentrate or have difficulty sleeping when you are feeling like this. I can hear that you are really enjoying your job, if you are finding it difficult balancing your job and college an option which is available to you is to speak to your manager at work about reducing your contracted hours to something which is better suited to you.

You said, that due to the pressures you are feeling, you have started self-harming again and it’s important for you to know that it can stop once again. I understand that people can use self-harm as a way of coping with their feelings but as it can be dangerous it’s important for you to think about your safety while cutting, this means making sure you don’t cut too deep and that if the wound doesn’t stop bleeding or you are in a lot of pain that you call 999 and they will be there to help you. You may find it helpful to read the information in Explore about self-harm. There are other coping strategies you can use instead of self-harming, such as writing down your feelings. As you said sometimes it's helpful to simply write down what’s going on.  

You may find useful, it's a website for people who self-harm, talking about safety, providing ongoing support and message boards.

It’s really good that you’ve thought about having some counselling as this can provide you with a safe space to talk about your feelings. I know that sometimes people find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling. It can be helpful to write down your feelings or some bullet points about what's happending in your life and bring your notes with you when you go to your doctors or a counselling session. This is something you can do until you may feel a bit more comfortable and no longer need to write down things.

You’ve also mentioned feeling pressure about who you want to be with, you said that you feel you have to choose and this is adding to you self-harming. It’s important for you to know that you don’t have to choose between any of them, being with someone shouldn’t be a stressful process. If you don’t know who you want to be with you can say you don’t want to be with anyone at this point in time. It's OK to take some time out for yourself, rather than feeling you have to be with someone.

You may want to visit the ChildLine message boards, this is where you can read what young people say about lots of topics including partner relationships and self harm.  You can get support from others who may be in similar situations to you and also add your own thoughts or start a new thread if you want to.

I'd really like you to get the support you deserve. I want you to know you don’t have to cope on your own. You can contact and talk in more detail with a ChildLine counsellor by calling on 0800 1111, having a chat 1-2-1 or sending a private email. Remember that if ever you feel in danger or you couldn’t keep yourself from serious harm you can call 999 and they will make sure you are safe.

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