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To the Girl Who Just Succumbed to the Urge to Cut

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Dear beautiful,

Yes, I called you beautiful, because you are. Those scars are proof of the fire you’ve fought through — and you’re still standing here today. But you are so much more than beautiful. You are strong, you are brave, you are resilient and you are loved. I know you probably don’t feel any of those things right now, as you’re trying to clean up the mess you’ve just made. But I want you to know I care about you, that you are worthy of love and care and support and help. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you deserve help, support and love.

Don’t feel ashamed or guilty of your wounds and scars. I know it’s hard to see that constant reminder of what you’ve done every time you look at your skin, but those scars are proof that you’re trying. You gave in, but you didn’t give up. I want you to remember that. Those urges were overwhelming and you tried to fight them, but eventually they overwhelmed you and you gave in. But you still tried to fight them, because you’re a fighter. I know you’re a fighter, because you spend every moment with an endless war raging in your mind, and you’re still here. That takes true strength, and you are so much stronger than you could possibly know.

Those wounds are your battle scars. They’re the proof you have walked through fire and still came through alive. They’re the proof you fought with everything you had, even when you felt like you had nothing. They’re the proof there is always hope, even when you can’t see it. I challenge you to even be proud of your scars, because they are a part of your story, and that story isn’t over yet.

I want to make something clear. I’m not encouraging cutting. I do not want you to cut. In fact, I’ll even give you a list here of 99 healthy coping skills for you to try instead of cutting.

But I still recognize that sometimes, no matter how hard you’re trying, you can’t stop yourself from doing so. I know the urges are real, and I know you don’t actually want to hurt yourself, but some days you don’t see any other way to cope. I’m not mad at you or disappointed in you. I know it’s hard, and I’m proud of you for trying the best you can.

It’s OK to hurt. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to break. What you’re feeling is real and it’s valid. Other people feel how you feel. Other people understand. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. Nobody expects you to be strong all of the time. Nobody else expects perfection of you, so why do you insist on expecting it from yourself?

I see how my message may seem confusing, but I guess what I’m really saying boils down to two simple words. I guess I’m trying to say that: It’s OK. Your scars are OK. You are not a bad person. You are not a freak. You haven’t done anything wrong. No one has any reason to be mad at you. You are not a failure. I guess I’m trying to say that you’re incredible. I’m proud of how far you’ve made it. I’m proud of the fact that you’re not giving up. I guess I’m trying to say that you’re loved. All of these miles away, from a face you’ve never even seen… It’s OK. You’re incredible. I love you. My biggest wish is that you could simply love yourself.

Stay strong,

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 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Getty photo via lupashchenkoiryna

Originally published: February 17, 2018
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