What the Urge to Self-Harm Feels Like: A Poem


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.

Gasping between breaths, alone and scared.

My freedom awaits me, I’m already prepared.

Anxiety peaks, madness ensues,

Shame takes over, insanity looms.

The pressure builds and rises to my throat,

Swallowing it down is my only hope.

I reach for release though shaky, I’m calm.

I just need a few seconds, this won’t take long.

A mental debate replays in my mind,

Hesitation feels like hours and gets harder to find,

Grasping for reason through excuses and lies.

Escaping reality in search of a high,

But the air feels like smoke, like I’m breathing in fire,

Being trapped in a net, a blanket of wire.

Capped off from exploding the pressure boils to be freed.

Just on the surface so I’m able to breathe,

Bubbling over I reach for relief.

Hesitation is gone I know what I need.

Losing the battle and also the war,

Once is never enough, my body aching for more.

Instant relief like a balloon popped of air,

The pressure is gone with every tear.

The cuts will heal over starting tomorrow,

Scar tissue will fill the void that was hollow.

My promise to fight is all I can give.

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 Andesign101.


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