If I Could Say One Thing to Myself the Moment Before I Started Self-Harming

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Give me just a moment of your time, and perhaps this letter will earn you a million more moments of life.

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know the problems you face or the darkness you feel. I don’t know if you want to cut to see the light or if the light is so far gone you want to crawl as deep into the dark as you possibly can.

No one really knows how you feel but you, and this can make you feel alone, I know. Yet, maybe I can urge you to look at this in another way. The only one who truly has control right now is you. When I first realized this, it terrified me.

I’ve sat in front of psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, doctors, crises team counselors, friends and family and have been faced with the daunting question, “Why?” There have been reports, poetry and books written with the specific purpose of answering that question. They look at cases and give examples of various people who self-harm, what they’ve been through and their feelings when they cut.

I’ve read them to try and find myself, and I realized something. There are lots of reasons behind it. These are complex feelings that can shift like sand from one cut to the next. If there was one reason alone inside each of us, then this problem wouldn’t be so misunderstood and unaccepted.

I don’t want to tell you my problems. I don’t need to know yours right now either. I don’t need for you say what I need to do. Please, don’t do it.

Self-harm is my closest friend and my deadliest enemy. She’s on my body, in my mind, behind me, beside me, below me and before me. She’s not an angel, and she’s not a devil. She just is. She’s everything.

She’s the blood stains on my bed and the blood stains on my carpet. She’s my ruined clothes and the clothes I no longer dare to wear because of scars. She’s the razor aisle in the supermarket. She’s the expensive bill I pay for the razors, the gel and the bandages. She’s that furtive look behind my shoulder. That look into the eyes of the shop assistant, fearing she will know what I am.

She’s a mirror that talks, that whispers, “Darling, it’s OK. I’m here. I’m here. I’m always here.” She a mirror that shouts, “You ugly, scarred and useless bitch. You’re ruined.” She’s the pain inside my mother’s eyes. The worry. She’s the deepest stab of guilt. She’s a liar and a cheat. She’s my hobby and my habit. She’s my favorite color and my desired occupation. She’s the silence on the other end of the line, the one who doesn’t know what to say.

She makes my loved ones feel useless. She’s the raised marks on my body. She’s repulsion, disgust and lack of self-control. She’s my boss. She’s when I work, when I play, when I sleep and when I eat. I’m her darling child. She cradles me She abuses me. She’s when I live and when I die.

She’s every song I ever hear, every story I write. She’s my darkest secret, scrawled across a page and posted to the world. She’s all my organs laid upon a table in a morgue, my funeral and the one who waits to lay my coffin down.

She isn’t suicide, but she carries suicide’s address, postcode and mobile number. She can call it, if you want her to.

She’s just a slip in time, a moment of desperation that turned into my life. She lurks in every corner and whispers in my ear. She’s under my bed, with me in the most intimate of moments. She wants to be my lover.

She’s a slit, then a gash and then a flood of blood. She sticks to everything. I scrub and scrub and scrub, but she won’t leave my life. If I could have a time machine that took me to the moment of choice, where you are standing now, I wish someone could have said, “You are worth more than her, Lyndsay.” Because I was and so are you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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