Alex's Answer

I don't know what's wrong with me

Your Question

I just really don’t know what’s wrong with me, my life is okay, I’m fairly popular in school, I have many friends, my parents don’t argue that much, yet I’m always feeling like I’m never good enough, like I don’t deserve the things that I have. I don’t have much trauma, that I recall, but every day I can’t focus on simple things. Because of this, my mam shouts at me for not always understanding her. I keep making simple, stupid mistakes that I shouldn’t be making that remind me that I feel like a waste of a person. I’ve resorted to self harm and, at the time I’m writing this, I’m not even a week clean. I just can’t stop. I feel like I don’t deserve my friends, they’re amazing and I feel like they deserve someone way better than me. Thank you for listening, Anonymous


Hi there, you are very welcome to Ask Alex.   

We know that it can be a difficult thing to reach out and talk about what’s going on for you, but we feel that this can be a helpful thing for young people, so thank you for being so brave and well done for taking the first step.

You have told us that you are having difficulty concentrating on daily tasks, experiencing low self-worth, and have been self-harming. We are concerned to hear that you are self-harming. Self-harming is often used as a coping mechanism for those who are feeling very difficult emotions such as low self-worth, which often makes it difficult to stop.

Delaying self-harm can also be a beneficial technique, for example following the 15-minute rule, whereby you wait 15 minutes before you cut yourself, then extend it by another 15 minutes. You can continue repeating this until the urge has passed. At a time when you are feeling good, think about an activity to distract yourself during these 15 minutes. Something you really love, a treat to yourself. Maybe it could be watching your favourite TV show, playing a video game, paint your nails, or if you’re feeling up to it a walk outside really helps. Something that brings you a small bit of happiness.

Distracting yourself from the urge to self-harm can be another helpful technique. You could try holding and squeezing an ice cube for a few minutes, as the change in temperature encourages the mind to focus on something else. Grounding techniques are also a way of helping us focus. You could try the Five Senses Technique, where in moments of distress you focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. You can find more useful techniques on the SpunOut Website: and the Jigsaw Website:

Often our society makes us feel that we need to have a reason for having poor mental health, but this isn’t the case. Our mental health can be impacted by a variety of factors including genetics, age, hormones and various other factors. While often our mental health can be impacted by negative life events, it is not the only cause. Often when we are feeling low, we find it difficult to concentrate on daily tasks which sometimes causes frustration for those around us. It’s important to talk about how you are feeling to a trusted adult. You have a right to be happy and feel safe, and you have the right to be listened to and be heard. Have you ever considered speaking to a trusted adult in your life about harming yourself? This adult could be a parent, guardian, teacher, friend, or school counsellor. It is important for your mental well-being that you get the help and support that you deserve and, even though it can be very difficult, it can be helpful to talk about it. Your GP is also there to help, can refer you to other support services who could help.

You do not have to go through this alone. There are organisations that can offer help and support to you. One such organisation, which we have already mentioned, is:  This website may help you understand what is going on for you. You can look through their information and they may offer you direction in how to avail of supports. Pieta House also offer support to people who self-harm. They can be contacted by phone on 1800 247 247, by texting HELP to 51444 or you can visit their website:

If you are finding it hard to talk to those in your life whom you are close to, you are very welcome to chat with the Childline Team by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or through our Live Chat on  Childline services are free and confidential, and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.  

Thank you for reaching out to us, please know we are here for you. You do not have to go through this alone.

Take care, of yourself,


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