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The Kinds of Self-Harm We Don't Talk About

This piece was written by Leighton Sullivana Thought Catalog contributor.

I always wondered why I was so sad, why it seemed like my whole world was a constant shade of broken and bruised, why a smile felt so foreign on my own lips. It’s taken some time, but I understand now it wasn’t some flawed piece of my brain that kept telling me, “Hey, nobody cares.” All these years have passed, and I’ve finally learned that it was myself that made me this way — so inexplicably sad.

Maybe self-harm isn’t just hurting yourself physically. Maybe self-harm is the way your thoughts eat you alive at 3 in the morning because it feels like you are the only person in the entire world who is capable of loving you. Maybe self-harm is loving a pretty boy or girl who never intended to love you. Or maybe self-harm is the way we examine ourselves in the mirror and wonder how much a tummy tuck or a nose job would cost.

Maybe self-harm is the way you talk to yourself negatively when you don’t look like the girl you passed on the street on the way to work. Maybe it’s the way you guilt yourself into not eating that extra snack before bed, because you just can’t afford the calories. Or maybe it’s the way you let him (or her) treat you like you’re disposable, like you’re nothing special.

People may ask, “How could you? How could you let yourself live like that? How could you make yourself so sad over things that won’t be important five years down the road? How could you let anyone treat you like you’re not amazing and unique and important?”

I know how.

You may be like me and struggle with believing you deserve better. You’ve lived your life this way for so long, that living any other way would just be weird.

Let me tell you some things you need to know. That the extra skin around your waist is not ugly. A boy (or girl) who can’t make the commitment to love you is not worth a single tear. It’s OK to eat an extra snack. Anyone who has ever treated you like you are not the moon and the sun and the ocean and the skies does not deserve your love.

Not taking care of yourself is self-harm, even if society doesn’t recognize it to be.

Please seek help if you need it.

This story was brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

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Unsplash photo via Motoki Tonn

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