Content warning: Article discusses self-harm.
Self-harm is a touchy subject with a huge stigma that follows it. Most people would rather not talk about it and honestly, that's understandable. If you've never been there, you wouldn't get it. Nobody expects you to. But this letter isn't for those of you who haven't experienced self-harm, it's for those of us who have.
You're stronger than you give yourself credit for being.
Nobody knows the pain you must be in to run a blade across your skin or swallow that pill. Nobody drinks a bottle of liquor just for fun, either.
Once you start — once that first release of pain works for you — it is difficult to stop. It becomes your go-to for any bad situation or day that you are facing, just like any other addiction. People will see your scars, and ask you about them. Knowing exactly what they are, it's almost like they want to hear you say it. Ignore them.
The only people who matter are your trusted loved ones and the professionals helping you. Something you must understand is people who self-harm feel like the world is against them, even when it isn't. They may feel like nobody is there for them but in reality, we just don't love ourselves. It takes a special type of person to love a self-harmer.
To those people, who stick with us through our worst times — thank you for not giving up on us.
With that being said, there is hope and there is help. And it's just a phone call away. Don't feel so inferior to make that phone call. Don't feel like you can't seek help, because you can. Find a safe alternative to your go-to. They are out there, there are things to do with all of your built-up anger and sadness. Find a new hobby, explore your options. Read, write, play video games even. Something is better than self-destruction of any form and I hope you find it.
I know it sounds cliche but it does get better. You get stronger and you get wiser, mostly with time and experience. And from my own experience, most of my growing out of the stage had to happen by watching the people I love having their hearts broken every time I relapsed. But that's another thing — relapses do happen. It's how you handle the situation after. Don't feel like you're less of a person because you had a setback. Don't let all of your progress go down the drain, start over. It's that simple, don't let one set back ruin the progress you've made.
Keep moving forward.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255