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To the One Contemplating Self-Harm, You Are Not Alone

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. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Hey you, the beautiful one reading this:

Stop. Take a breath. Listen to me.

I know it hurts right now. I know the pressure is building, and you need a release. I know you may feel hopeless or worthless or any of the other adjectives that I too have all too often used to describe myself. I know this seems like the only solution, the only relief, the only way to cope. Please, hear me out.

I didn’t believe my best friend at the time when she told me, with the gravest tone of voice I had ever heard her utter, to never make the first cut. I didn’t hear her desperate cries as she professed to me that it could become an addiction. In my eyes, it was one cut; it was just one time. I could not imagine myself falling prey to its grasp. I thought I was different.

I soon learned it is never just one cut. It can become an addiction. It’s sometimes not just one time. It will lure you in with its promises of freedom and when it has you, it will not easily set you free. It can make you a liar, making excuses for those “cat scratches.” Soon, clothing will become more than just about style — it will be a safety net, hiding the body you are ashamed of, covering your secrets from the world. Far deeper than any physical scars will lie the emotional scars. You may feel weak, ashamed and more hopeless than ever before.

I cannot lie, at the time it feels like a release. Once you begin the cycle it will feel almost impossible to pull yourself out. It is jealous, ruthless and wants nothing more than to destroy you, or rather, teach you to destroy yourself.

So, darling, I know these mountains seem impossible to climb right now. This world and your mind feels overwhelming and frightening. I can’t promise you it will get better soon. If I have learned one thing, it is that overcoming your struggles takes a lot of time and patience. The path is not linear and sometimes you will take five steps forward and ten steps back. As my favorite YouTuber Kati Morton always says, “Recovery is a process, not perfection.”

You aren’t alone. You have nothing to be ashamed of. This is a path that has been journeyed on long before you, and unfortunately will most likely be journeyed long after your last footsteps on it. There is help out there. This may want to destroy you, but there are people who want to build you right back up, who want to see you succeed in life. Do not tell yourself you aren’t worth it. This life is yours to live. This story is yours to write; you can’t let anyone else hold the pen. You are so terrifyingly strong, beautiful and worth it. You have made it this far. You have already overcome so much, whether you can see it or not.

This is not your story. This does not define you. This is just some rain — maybe it feels like a hurricane, but even the largest of storms pass. You can do this. You deserve the happiness and love you give to everyone else. So, grab your coffee, lace your boots and grab my hand. Let’s climb this mountain together.

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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Thinkstock photo via imtmphoto