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Willow Smith Shares She Self-Harmed as a Child


Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Seventeen-year-old Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, opened up about self-harming after the success of her single, “Whip My Hair,” which was released when she was 9 years old. She shared her experience during an episode of her mother’s Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk” on Monday.

“After all of that settled down and there was a lull, I was just listening to a lot of dark music… I was just plunged into this black hole,” she said. “I was, like, cutting myself and doing crazy things… Totally lost my sanity for a moment there.”

In the segment, Pinkett-Smith remarked that she had no idea her daughter had struggled with self-harm. She asked her daughter if self-harm was a way of making the pain inside “real” and Smith said that’s exactly what it was. “I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain, but my physical circumstances weren’t reflecting that.”

Smith also emphasized that many adolescent girls struggle with self-harm. In a study on self-harm in children and adolescents, young women, ages 13 to 16, were found to struggle with self-harm at a higher rate than their male counterparts.

Smith hasn’t self-harmed in about five years. “One night, I was like ‘this is actually psychotic,’ and after that I just stopped.”

It’s important to note that struggling with self-harm does not make someone “psychotic,” which refers to psychosis and feeling detached from reality. For many folks, self-harm recovery takes years.

If you or someone you love has struggled with self-harm, you’re not alone. In her piece “When I Started Self-Harming Again” Mighty contributor Ashley Carroll has a message for folks who have struggled with self-harm.

I am lovable even if I am unable to always access kindness for myself. I am lovable even if I am indignant. I am lovable even if my truth is painful. I am lovable even if my actions are scary. I am lovable even when I am bleeding. I am lovable even if I’ve failed. I am lovable no matter what is or isn’t present on my skin. I am lovable. So are you.

Screenshot via “Red Table Talk” Facebook