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

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

Related to Self-harm

woman running fingers through hands

The Unexpected Way I Manage My Self-Harm Urges

One of the most challenging journeys I’ve taken with regard to my mental illness has been managing my self-harm. I chose the word “managing” rather than “overcoming” because I don’t know if I can ever permanently rid my mind and body of the urge to self-harm. But I do know that I can live with [...]
bald woman with green eyes

The Drawings That Help Me Stop Self-Harming

I’ve never felt like much of a drawer. My pictures were never the best — no one oohed and aahed at them. I didn’t mind this much. I didn’t draw much anyways; it wasn’t my forte. But in ninth grade I started self-harming. I was stressed out and anxious and felt the only way I [...]
woman's tattoo that says "be still" with a cross and bird

How My Tattoo Gives Me Hope as Someone Who Struggles With Self-Harm

I have wanted a tattoo for several years now. I’ve struggled with self-harm and several suicide attempts in my life, which I deeply regret. This year, though, my plan was to finally get a tattoo that had special meaning — one to help remind me to keep pushing forward, I’m not alone, and even when [...]
woman with hair covering face

When Self-Harm Scars Make You Feel Ashamed

“Always recovering, never recovered.” A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. And that’s not to say your efforts or how far you’ve gotten were for naught – but to keep getting back up when you do fall. I’ve learned over the years, of course, that it’s extremely important to know you are not [...]