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To the Person Struggling With a Self-Harm Relapse

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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.

To the person who’s just relapsed with self-harm: this isn’t the end.

I know that in this moment it may feel like you’ve thrown everything away. I know it may feel like you’ve lost everything – the hope you had, the progress you’ve made and your recovery – but you haven’t. It doesn’t matter whether it’s been years, weeks or days since you last self-harmed; there is still happiness in the world for you, and there’s still hope. There’s still life for you to live, songs you haven’t sung get, laughs you haven’t laughed yet and joy you haven’t experienced yet.

It’s bad right now, I know; I know there’s a mix of guilt, shame, fear and maybe even a sense of relief. Maybe it’s the relief that’s the hardest part to process, maybe it’s the fear that you’re right back where you started, and maybe it’s the feeling that you’ll never be free of it. I have been you. I will probably be you again; and I am promising you that this is not the end of anything.

I know it’s bad right now but it will be good again.

I know right now you’re struggling, I know it may seem like you’ve reset your recovery, but you haven’t. We don’t lose the progress we’ve made; recovery isn’t perfect or linear and there are bumps along the way. This is just a bump in the road, a road you’ve worked so hard to be on. A road you will continue to travel after this has passed.

I know how hard you’ve worked to be here, and how painful it is to feel like you have failed, but this is your recovery and you can’t fail at it. There is no one way to recover, no perfect way to recover. We will all have moments of darkness and we will all make missteps, but it doesn’t drown out the light or take us out of hope’s reach.

I see you, and this is not the end.

Photo by Lucian Andrei on Unsplash

Originally published: January 27, 2019
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