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To the People Who Don't Understand Why I 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. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Depression is a wicked thing. It can deprive you of energy, happiness and a social life.

You might often wonder: Is what I’m going to say be something that puts someone else off?

I struggle with depression, and when things get really tough, I cut. I cut just below the tattoo that reminds me my life has not ended yet. The semi-colon.

Do I fully understand why I cut?

No, not really.

In a sense, I can understand that I do it to relieve some of the pain I feel elsewhere. I do it because sometimes I feel numb inside and I need to feel something.

I’m sorry that I do it. It hurts the people around me who love me and know I do it. I wish I could stop. I just don’t know how.

Here are some things I wish people would stop saying to me:

1. ”If you set your mind to it, you can stop.” Well, no, that’s not really true. You’re just making me feel ashamed and more like doing it again.

2. “You just need a replacement behavior.” Rubber bands just aren’t the same.

3. Just stop for a few days and you can stop the pattern. Great advice if I knew how to stop in the first place.

What can you do to help?

1. Make me feel more valued as a person. I think part of the reason I cut is because I feel like a crappy person.

2. Don’t force your ideas on me. Maybe suggest therapy, but don’t try to stop me on your own unless you know what I’m going through. It feels demeaning to get ideas from people who have never been there before.

3. Love me anyway. That should go without saying. Just offer your support and caring love. I need it right now.

In short, you can’t fix me, but you can be there for me. Just listen and offer support. Don’t try to fix me. Love me.

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 Ogri