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6 Things I Want My Friends to Know When I Self-Harm

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

This post reflects my own personal thoughts and feelings. Everyone experiences things differently.

For me, self-harm is a cry for help.

I believe it happens when there are no words to describe your pain, no way to let others know just how desperately you need them. It may also be a way for those who are numb to feel like they can “feel again.” But it can also be a warning sign to those around us.

Not all who self-harm are suicidal. I haven’t been seriously thinking about suicide at all. Yet last night, I cut myself. For the first time in months.

Self-harm can come in many different forms. Some may be intentional, others accidental. It can come in the form of cutting, scratching, drinking, doing drugs — whatever else that is not helpful to us.

I had finally gone a month without using my three biggest self-harm methods. I didn’t drink, I didn’t scratch, and I didn’t cut myself. Until last night.

Here are some of the things I wish my friends knew when I self-harm. This speaks from my own personal experience, but it may be helpful to others.

1. I am doing this because I need help.

For me, the biggest thing to know is I’m doing this so someone can finally step up and help me; there is now a physical thing to show you my depression is real. I can’t ask you for help. Offer it. Please.

2. I regret it.

As I am doing it, I’ve already begun to regret it. Having to explain to people what my scars are, having to feel the pain as I shower the next day — it’s going to hurt long after I want it to. It was my last hope at feeling relief, my most desperate attempt at showing you how seriously I need you.

3. I am not always suicidal.

Sometimes when I self-harm, I have no desire to die. I just want to feel alive. A lot of the time I’m numb; I can’t feel anything. Sometimes, I’m just sad and want to feel something other than sadness.

4. It can be addictive.

I’m addicted to getting tattoos because, for me, it feels the same as self-harm. It just has a positive outcome. But when I do self-harm, the next week is spent fighting the urge to do it again. Suddenly, my scars look beautiful. They look tempting. My brain remembers the pain and how good it felt.

5. The day after is the hardest.

I’m fine today. I took my medication, and I’m not feeling emotionally unstable. I’m pretty decent for today. However, I crave so badly to hurt myself again. My mind has convinced me yesterday was not satisfactory. It did not hurt enough; it did not scar badly enough. I need to do it again to do right by my pain.

6. Again, I need you.

I need you to check in on me. At the very least, ask me how I’m doing. Someone you care about may be sitting alone in misery purposefully hurting themselves because they believe themselves to be worthless, hated, alone and not even worth a thought. Please don’t let us struggle alone any longer. Come to us, call us, take away our knives, make us cut our nails, force us to eat something. Do something that shows you care. I literally want to yell this at all my friends, “Please, do something!” I cannot do this alone any longer at this point. I need more than “I’m sorry.” I need your help.

I hope this helps someone. I hope someone’s friend might see this and take action to help their friend. When we self-harm, we are often in a bad place. We may need help getting back out of it. Please, please help us.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: November 16, 2016
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