Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I can't eat

5 days ago, during school, I had a panic attack. I spoke to a very comforting teacher but since then I've completely lost my appetite. The thought of food makes me feel physically sick and I barely eat anything at lunch or dinner. I do want to be able to eat but every time I try it's such a struggle. I've begun to dread mealtimes now and I'm constantly feeling nervous in school and in classes. What should I do? I know that my parents are worried about me but I can't bring myself to eat more than 6-8 spoonfuls of food. Please help.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for sharing what you’re going through. 

It sounds as though you’re trying to cope with a lot and you’ve done so well to tell me about this. From what you said your teacher was really comforting when you had a panic attack in school but it seems like you’ve been struggling with the thought of food ever since. It can help to think about what’s making you dread the idea of food and mealtimes so that you can understand what’s happening a bit more. This can be a challenging thing to do on your own. If you’d like to talk this through with a counsellor, remember you can always get in touch with ChildLine.

You said that you’re feeling nervous at school and I’m wondering how you’d feel about writing down the thoughts that go through your mind when you feel that way. Some young people have told me that they have found this a good way of beginning to deal with things that are difficult for them. It might be useful to try and think about which things are worrying you and whether there’s something you’re frightened might happen in those moments. I can hear that you have a supportive teacher and it could be a good idea to speak to him/her again so that your teacher knows what you’re going through too.

You don’t tell me how old you are and you might also consider going and talk to your doctor about having panic attacks and losing your appetite. Your doctor can give you medical advice and support about things that might help. Your doctor can tell you about the importance of eating the right amounts and types of food so you can stay well physically and mentally. A doctor would be the best person to help you with this.

I’m really glad that you took the time to write and I hope you get the support you need at this difficult time.

Remember that you can always talk to a ChildLine counsellor - either by phone, 1-2-1 chat or by sending an email. All the counsellors are there to listen to you and they will not judge you.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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