Ask Sam letter


To Sam


Hi Sam,

I've managed to not sh for about four months now and I'm quite proud of that. However it's getting really hard not to do it. I've been using the butterfly project and putting ice cubes where I want to do it but they aren't working as well anymore. Especially after a rubbish day it gets really hard to stay distracted from hurting myself. What should I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

There are lots of things you can do to distract yourself from self-harm, it’s all about finding what helps you most at the time. If something’s worked in the past it’s always good to try it again, but doing the same thing might not always work. It might not be the right distraction for how your feeling right now.

Sometimes, distractions don’t work straight away, even when they’ve helped before. That’s because you might feel different or you’re just more used to the distraction and it doesn’t grab your attention in the same way. There probably isn’t one thing that works forever, so it can help to think about trying lots of different things to find new ways to cope.

Thoughts about self-harm aren’t always the same - sometimes they might feel stronger than other times.  That’s when trying something new might help because you’ll need to concentrate more, and that can help take your mind off your thoughts.

Remember you’ve coped before, even when it was really hard. You could keep a photo or video of a time you felt happy to remind you how well you’re doing. That can also remind you of the things that motivate you not harm. Regularly doing things that help you relax can also help. May be a few minutes of writing in your mood journal every day, listening to a podcast or music can help you unwind and stop stress from building up. Taking care of yourself can help you to manage better when things are more difficult

Not self-harming for a period of time is always an achievement, no matter how long it’s for, and it’s okay to feel proud of yourself. But relapsing is also part of the cycle of getting better. It’s normal to take a step backwards every now and then. Try to focus on the other steps forward you’ve made.

You don’t have to cope on your own, there’s always support available from our counsellors, from the online community and also from your doctor.

I’m glad you wrote to me and I hope this advice will help

Take care,


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