Ask Jigsaw: Lockdown affecting eating habits

I think the lockdown is damaging my eating habits and the way I view myself. I’ve been isolated to my house for weeks now. I’ve felt an extreme hatred towards myself, and it just seems to worsen everyday.

But I feel so awful for upsetting my family, especially my mam, who I know is being really hard on herself because of how I’m behaving.

I really do try to eat and not think about the disordered thoughts, but because I can’t distract myself, I feel sort of trapped with them.

I feel extremely guilty and horrible for adding more stress to my family, but I just can’t do what they’re asking me. I can’t see myself getting better and I feel like such a burden on everyone. I really do wish I could snap my fingers and make everything right, but I can’t. I don’t know what to do, it’s too difficult.


Hi Anna,

I’m sorry to hear that you are going through such an intense experience during an already difficult time. Thoughts about body image can be all consuming, and can have a strong negative effect on our mental health, as you have described.

Ask Jigsaw: I feel so lost right now

My Mam and Dad separated recently and my Dad moved out. I am really angry with him for loads of different reasons. I have access with him on Saturday’s and its really awkward , we sit in McDonald’s and he asks really awkward questions about school and my Mam, I have told my Mam that I don’t want to go anymore and she says i have to go or else she will get in trouble with the court.

Its really getting to me because i think neither of them care about how i am feeling, they just care about the court and doing what they think they have to do, I done think anyone really cares about me and its getting me down


Hi Louise,

When parents are separated it can bring up lots of emotions for people. We may feel relief, sadness, anger or fear about what will happen.  It means change in terms of practical arrangements and often can have an impact on our relationships with parents.

Watch: Active listening

We’ve all had the experience of trying to say something to someone who is not really listening to us.

Active listening

In this animation we show how we can engage in active listening by showing young people these verbal and non-verbal signs:


  • Eye contact, nodding and smiling
  • Leaning forward
  • Mirroring body language


  • Remembering what is said. A young person will appreciate your full attention and focus.
  • Reflecting back what you’ve heard. This shows the young person that you’ve understood the key points of what they’ve said.
  • Seeking clarification. If a young person has shared something that you don’t understand, ask them to explain what they mean. This is better than pretending you get something, which a young person will pick up on.
  • Summarising. Recap your conversation and any decisions you have reached together to ensure you are both on the same page.

>> Read more about supporting youth mental health 

Ask Jigsaw: I feel lonely at school

What do I do when no one at school likes me and when I feel lonely at school and have no one to go to and don’t want to go to a counsellor or a teacher because you feel they aren’t helpful.


Hi RedLight2,

I am sorry that you are feeling so lonely and you haven’t found that anyone has been helpful. School can be really tough at times. It can seem that some people make friends easily and find their ‘tribe’ straight away. However, for some of us, fitting in is more challenging and school can amplify our sense of loneliness.

Ask Jigsaw: Don’t want to go back to counselling

Hey, this isnt even a question but ive been feeling so odd recently and its impacting my behaviour, like my eating habits are all over the place, I’m either crying or really feel like crying every evening and my relationship with my family hasnt been great either.

I tried counselling before and it didn’t really work out for me that well at the time… and when i told the counsellor about my eating habits, they said they think its due to anxiety?? but i don’t know what i’m anxious about??

i acc dunno what to do but I don’t think i want to go back to counselling, as i don’t want to have to deal with emotions or things from my past resurfacing, if that makes any sense? I’m kinda afraid that things are a lot worst than i try to think they are but i’m also aware that fixing that would take ages and i just don’t want to feel worse before i can feel better?

thanks x


Hi xoxo,

I can hear a lot of pain and confusion in your message. It sounds like your mental health has been having a negative effect on many aspects of your life, including your relationships.

Ask Jigsaw: Need to talk

Hi! I am a 14 year old student in Ireland. I am feeling a bit lost at the moment… You see I have been to my school counsellor a few times and the last time I went (about 3 months ago) I was really happy that day and I think my school counsellor thinks I’m fine now but to be really honest I’m struggling… Like really struggling but I don’t really want to ask to go see her again because I’m really afraid. I really know though that I need to talk to someone but I don’t want to ask my parents to go to a therapist outside of school because I don’t want to worry them…. If you could give me some guidance or anything really I would be so grateful 


Hi Quirky23,

First of all, well done for reaching out and talking to your school counsellor in the first place. It takes courage to seek help, particularly if you are feeling lost.

Ask Jigsaw: Do you help teens in the LGBT community?

Do u help teens in the lgbt community?

-Anonymous 17

Hello Anonymous 17,

Jigsaw supports young people from all communities, including those in the LGBT community. Some young people come to Jigsaw because they want to explore issues to do with their sexuality or gender. Other young people from the LGBT community want to come to Jigsaw for support that has nothing to do with this.

You can read more about accessing Jigsaw Services here.

Thanks for your question.

Justin, Jigsaw Clinician

Ask Jigsaw: Feeling lonely with Covid-19

Hi. I’m feeling especially lonely at this time. More so than other days where I do feel lonely too, but now I’m completely isolated. I don’t have a friend group or support system to keep me company online and my family do keep in touch but they are far away (I’m a student studying abroad). The uncertainty of the global situation is also giving me major anxiety. I don’t know how to cope.


Hi there wav3rid3r,

There is more uncertainty and isolation in our world now, than we have probably ever experienced. Understandably, this can make our feelings of loneliness and experience of anxiety much more intense. As a student abroad, you are physically distanced from your supports which must be tough for you.

Ask Jigsaw: Friends not social distancing

I met up with my friends today and it was a bit underwhelming. It was great to see them but it also made me very nervous. First of all there was 7 of us, but the thing that stressed me out the most was the lack of social distancing. A few of us tried to at the start, but it got so difficult especially when some friends kept trying to get close to me. This really annoyed me and when i confronted them they brushed it off and said ‘a sure we will all get it at some stage’.

I understand that some of them are not in tune with irish news and it could be down to innocent ignorance, but its impossible to convince them to even try. Some people in my family are at risk, so social distancing really matters for me.

At the same time, I get serious Fear Of Missing Out when it comes to passing on hanging out, so I dont know what to do now. Any ideas on what i should do?

Also Id like to say a massive thank you for doing all the work you guys do, it means so much as a young person to have a place like this to fall back on when i need support:)


Hi Kayla,

Firstly, thank you for your kind words about our service. It’s our aim to provide support for young people like you, so it means a lot to hear that you can rely on us. It sounds like you’re in a tricky social situation and I’m sure that many of us will face similar situations, if not now then in the future