Ask Sam letter

Asker

To Sam

Relapse

hey sam,

so i have self harmed for 2 years but i stopped 7 months ago. however ive been having really bad urges to relapse but i dont want to let anyone down. his have been difficult and i use to be addicted to it but i dont know what else i cant do. please help

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Whenever we try to change a habit or behaviour there’s a process that usually takes place. Whether it's giving up smoking, stopping self-harm or changing a habit you’re unhappy with, the cycle is very similar. Sometimes can include lapsing and relapsing – this a a normal part of making a change.

Self-harm can become a habit or addiction for some people. Other times it's a way of coping that becomes a routine and something you rely on. Changing in either case might be very difficult because it's become a big part of your life. When someone is making a big change they go through something called the cycle of change.

The cycle starts with thinking about whether to change and moves on when you’ve made the decision to stop self-harming. After this you do things that help you to stop and make the changes you need to make. The last steps in the cycle are where you have to keep up the change and then cope with lapsing and relapsing.

Lapsing means slipping and going back to your old behaviour for a short period of time. Like, having a cigarette after you quit smoking for 6 months. Relapsing means going back to your old behaviour properly. This puts you back at the start of the change cycle again. Both of these are normal parts of changing and it doesn't mean you’ve failed. Relapsing is really common and usually means you find it easier to stick with it the next time you go through the change cycle.

It might help you to talk about changing a habit with a Childline counsellor, they’re there to listen and can talk about ways of making it more likely you will succeed in stopping self-harming.

Thanks for sharing

Sam

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.

Write me a letter