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To Sam

Relapsing depression

hi Sam,

i had depression for 2 years and i self harmed and it was so hard for me to just get pit of bed, i did ask for help in the end even though it made me feel weak, i just realised i wasn't strong enough to fight on my own. I have been better for a couple months and this last week i've felt like my depression could be coming back, i don't want to relapse because depression ruined my life for 2 years, do you have any advice on how to prevent a relapse???

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you've had depression before it can be scary when you start to feel low again. Sometimes people worry that they'll go through the same things from the past. It’s normal for someone to have some setbacks when recovering from depression and this might mean temporarily feeling low or like you used to. But with the right support you can work towards making those feelings temporary.

Depression can have different symptoms so recognising how it affects you can help you to get support early on.  Sometimes remembering the thoughts and feelings you had in the past can make you feel anxious about becoming depressed again, so it can be difficult to know if you're relapsing.

Losing motivation, wanting to stay in bed and feeling very tired are common symptoms of depression but they can also be a normal response to stress and pressure in your life. Your mood can change during the day and from day to day and no one feels happy all the time. Lots of things can affect your mood including lack of sleep, not exercising and having family arguments or problems with friends. But if your mood doesn’t pick up after a few days or weeks it might mean you’re becoming depressed again.

Talking about how you feel with a trusted adult or your doctor can help you to work out what to do next if you’re worried about your mood and you can make a list together of the things that have helped you before.  Sometimes people worry about disappointing people by saying they're struggling again, but it’s really important to be honest and tell people how you’re feeling.

There are lots of things you can do to take care of yourself that can help you to feel better and avoid a full relapse. Spending time outside every day, eating healthily, making time to relax and spending time with friends doing something you enjoy are all ways to help you feel more positive about things and are good for your mental health no matter how things are.

It can take time to recover from depression and getting support from a Childline counsellor and from other young people on the message boards can help you to feel less alone. Taking time to check in with how you’re feeling each day by keeping a journal is one way of noticing patterns or changes in your mood and can also help you during a period of depression as you can look back at how you’ve coped in the past.

Thank you for your letter.

Take care,


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