Ask Sam letter


To Sam


I am recovering from self-harm and am 45 days clean, but have never wanted to cut more. I do not want to relapse because I don't want to let the person I have promised I won't harm to and myself down. Can you suggest some other distraction/coping methods?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me about how you are feeling and well done for ‘staying clean’ and not self-harming for 45 days – that is such a massive achievement and you should be really proud of yourself.

I hear that, although you have not self-harmed for 45 days, you are fighting the urge all the time and are worried about relapsing. Take some time to think about the things that helped you stop or control your self-harm before as these strategies have already worked for you and may work again. You may have found particular distraction techniques useful so you could try them again or try different ones. You can also take a look at additional self-harm distraction techniques on the National Self Harm Network website which are also available for download.

If you do relapse, remember that you’re not the only one who has gone back to self-harming after stopping. Many other people have had to try more than once to give up something difficult or challenging. Only when you’re ready to stop, and when you feel able to cope with what life is throwing at you, can you start getting back on track. Remember you are not letting anyone down, you are trying really hard and deserve praise for that. You can also take a look at our self-harm page for more information and advice.

Sometimes it can help to talk through your feelings. You may be able to do this with a trusted adult around you, like a teacher, a parent or another family member. You could also talk to a ChildLine counsellor for free by calling 0800 1111 anytime, or logging on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Looking after yourself generally is important – eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can all play a useful part in this and you can take a look at our staying healthy page in the Explore section for more information and advice.

It showed courage writing down your worries and sending them to me and I hope this response has given you some useful information to help you continue to avoid self-harming.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

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

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