To the English Teacher Whose Words Kept Me Strong in Self-Harm Recovery


Thank you, Mrs. C.

I don’t think you realized when I was in eighth grade what the assignment you gave us meant and, more so, what you said about me when I turned mine in meant.

In my eighth grade year, you gave us an assignment to write a “hero essay” about who we thought our heroes were. Most kids wrote about their parents, a president or a celebrity. I wrote about the person who helped me stop cutting myself.

After I turned in my assignment, you came to me and asked whether I would read my paper to an advanced class, to which I said yes. When I tried to read though, I was too overcome with the emotion surrounding the content of my paper. So you read it for me as I sat in the back of the class. You began to cry, too.

When you were finished, I heard you tell the class something I will never forget. “Not only is the girl that helped Courtney a hero for helping her through, but Courtney is a hero. It takes a lot of courage to admit this and to stop cutting yourself.

The bell rang to signal the end of the class, and you walked up to me and gave me a hug.

“I really do mean it. You’re a hero too, Courtney.”

I think about those words often. It has been eight years now, and every time I start getting depressed, I think about what you said. They help keep me strong. They help keep me from ever going back to that dark place.

Thank you, Mrs. C. You have impacted my life in a way you will never know. I haven’t cut myself since then. I still have depression, but thanks to your words I won’t let myself get back to that point.

I’m married now. I’m doing my best to start a life with him. I hope you’d still be proud of me. I wish I could tell you this in person. I hope this gets to you somehow.

Bless you, Mrs. C.

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

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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