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.

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

Thinkstock photo via Ogri


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


Related to Self-harm

A mom and daughter walk hand in hand down a street

I Am a Mother With a History of Self-Harm

As I push my beautiful, sweet daughter around in the supermarket, I can’t help but be hyper-aware of the stares. It’s hot today and I chose to wear short sleeves and shorts out in public. Normally I cover up, but my recent time spent in therapy and new antidepressant made me feel more confident. But [...]
mixed race man walking up stairs

How Self-Harm Became Like a Drug

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. Or if you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can [...]
illustration of woman pulling hair behind face

Why I'm Scared to Tell Someone About My Self-Harm

Self-harm is a topic not many people usually feel comfortable talking about for a million different reasons. They might not want to believe anyone would deliberately harm themselves. They also might feel like the topic is way too personal. My reason though, is because I self-harm and I’m scared to let anyone know. This unhealthy [...]
three peoples feet stand in front of a car

Why We Shouldn't Shame Adults Who 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. I went out for dinner yesterday with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have been [...]