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

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Article updated August 5, 2019.

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 habit/obsession of mine started a while ago, and while I never intended on anyone knowing, I now want to tell someone so they can help me. I know I need help. I know I need to let people in, but I haven’t because I’m scared of what others will think of me.

The person I’ve been planning on telling is my closest friend who has been with me while we both had our turn going through troubling times. She has stuck with me through everything, so why am I so scared of telling her and asking for help?

I tend to overthink a lot, it’s just who I am. It’s both a curse and a blessing from God, but in this situation it’s a curse. Not many people seem to understand self-harm; heck, I self-harm and I don’t even understand it sometimes. Although people may not understand it, they judge it. I’m scared that my friend will judge my cuts, scars and me. I’m scared that this issue I’ve been dealing with might drive her away. I don’t want all those years of laughs and tears to go down the drain just because of my scars.

Another reason why I haven’t told my friend yet is because I’m afraid she will label me as “crazy.” Even though people who struggle with self-harm are not “crazy,” they might be seen that way by others. Others could see my scars and they might never see me the same again. At least, that’s what I’m scared of. Despite my scars, I’m not a “cutter” — I’m still me. However, not everyone sees it that way. They could think I am damaged and should be treated more delicately. They could think belong in a hospital and taken out of society for being “crazy.” I don’t know how my friend will react, but I hope if I ever step up to the plate and talk about my self-harming habits she won’t react this way.

Another reason I might not tell her would be because I don’t know if I’m ready to answer all of her questions yet. When you find out your best friend self-harms, chances are you’re going to have some questions: Why? When did you start? Where? Can I see? Why haven’t you told me before?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll probably be pretty overwhelmed with telling her, so I won’t want to answer any of those questions.

The last reason I’m sharing this is because I’m scared of letting someone in. As a human being, I feel the need to cover up the “ugly” parts of me. But both the ugly and the pretty parts of us make us who we are. Without the ugly side, we wouldn’t have the pretty side. I’m not saying that scars are ugly. I’m calling it “ugly” because my self-harming tendencies are less desired and harmful. Having my closest friend see all of me, even the “ugly,” makes me feel insecure. I don’t want her to cringe or regret becoming my friend all those years ago. Letting someone in can also make you feel like you’re naked in front of them, as awkward or weird as that sounds. All my thoughts: exposed. All of me: exposed. Letting someone in is really scary, but it can also be fulfilling and helpful. I’m too scared to find out if letting my friend in will be a positive or negative thing.

Despite all these fears I have mentioned (plus the millions of others I haven’t) — telling someone you trust about self-harm is a good thing. You can’t keep everything pent up inside; I don’t think it’s healthy. I need to open up to someone I trust, just like many other people struggling with self-harm with no one to talk to yet. I know it’s hard and scary, but I, along with others, are capable of getting over our fears. We need to talk, but we also need to be understood and supported.

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.

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Thinkstock photo via lu-pics

Originally published: October 10, 2017
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