10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Self-Harming


I started self-harming in seventh grade. I found out about it online and from friends. It was something that turned my world upside down, and not in a good way. Here are some things I wish someone told me before hurt myself for the first time.

1. People glamorize it. I found that people online make it seem like it’s something wonderful. Like it’s a golden ticket out of our feelings. But in reality it was something really dangerous.

2. It doesn’t help with emotional pain. It pushes away emotions, which only makes them harder to deal with and delays what is inevitable.

3. Always take thoughts about self-injurious behavior seriously. It’s something I wish I was able to get help for sooner. It escalated so quickly.

4It’s an addictive behavior. I had moments when I wished I could stop, but I just couldn’t. The behavior became something I liked so quickly.

5. It’s so isolating. I pushed my family and friends away. I didn’t want them to know my secret. At one point the only friends I had were online and I never left my bedroom.

6. I felt a lot of shame. I felt so much embarrassment and guilt after I self-harmed. It was something I didn’t want anyone to know about, especially the people closest to me.

7. It’s dangerous. It can cause infections or other serious medical issues that require trips to the ER. Because it can be an addictive behavior, the degree to which you hurt yourself can get worse each time.

8. What I was feeling was valid. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t feel like I deserved to feel the way I did. Which usually came in forms of anger, sadness and disappointment.

9. The moment will pass. My feelings were valid and they, like everything else, will pass. Just because it’s how I’m feeling now doesn’t mean I’ll always feel that way.

10. It can be a symptom of a larger problem. Like depression, anxiety and even borderline personality disorder

If you’re thinking about using self-harm to cope with what you’re going through, please don’t. It’s something I wish I never started. Instead read a book, listen to music, talk to a friend. Those things helped me through some of my toughest times. Another thing you should do is reach out and see a therapist, counselor or someone who can help you cope with what you’re going through.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Self-harm

monochrome black and white portrait of a girl

Self-Injury Is Not Just Black or White

People sometimes have a difficult time deciding what to wear in the morning. However, for me, so many questions run through my mind before I even think to open my closet door. How confident am I feeling today? How many times do I want to answer the same question? Am I feeling brave enough to [...]
Someone holding out their wrists. One says "Stay" the other says "strong." Text reads: 28 Tattoos that Cover Self-Harm Scars

28 Tattoos That Cover Self-Harm Scars

  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. While most tattoos have a story, a tattoo above, below or on top of a self-harm scar is more than a symbol — it’s a visible reminder, and [...]
image of a woman in the rain through a glass window

A Poem for Bad Days With Self-Harm

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. An empty room, an empty girl. Sitting silent on the floor. Her sleeve rolled up, exposing skin. She drags the blade and presses in. The pain it brings cannot [...]
woman wearing a sweater and a scarf clutching her hands in front of her chest

Learning to Love Myself With My Self-Harm Scars

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. “When I see my scars, I fight disgust — but I do not truly hate them. Why is this so? They remind me. I remember. Everything. I will always remember. [...]