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To My Mother, Who Couldn't Understand My Self-Harm

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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.

Dear Mom,

Growing up with mental illness is tough. Even more so when the ones who are supposed to support you don’t or can’t understand. When I told you I was cutting you cried, and I thought things would get better. I thought you would try to understand what I was going through. I came to you with honest intentions trying to get help. But you treated me like my bipolar disorder was a personal shortcoming and not a disorder.

Maybe you thought you were trying to be helpful, but it cut me deeper than anything I did to myself. You locked up everything sharp in the house saying it was to “keep me safe,” but your lack of trust only made me feel like I was a failure in your eyes. I came to you for help and you treated me like a criminal, with no closed doors and daily body checks. I lost all privacy and lost respect for you. It’s the reason I moved away. I couldn’t stand how alone living in your house made me feel.

Looking back on it now, I have to wonder if you truly thought you were helping me. Sometimes I wonder how different it could have been. If I could have just talked with you about it. If it wasn’t such a taboo topic in that house. I thought because you had a chronic condition you would understand some of what I was facing, but I now see how the pain you were in made you blind to mine. You couldn’t possibly see how pain was a release to me when all you wished for was to be free from it.

It made us too different, like there was a whole ocean between us and the places we were.

I’d like to think over the years you have come to understand a little what I go through, but since we don’t really talk about anything other than niceties, I guess we’ll never know. Just know I don’t hold the way you treated me against you anymore. I have gotten over it, but I wish things could have been different.

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Getty image via stsmhn

Originally published: June 14, 2018
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