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What I Want You to Know as I Recover From 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.

1. It’s not easy.

Self-harm can be an addiction for some, just like smoking or dipping or partaking in any other drug. It’s hard to quit, especially cold turkey. If you’ve ever tried to quit a bad habit of any kind, it’s not easy.

2. Recovery is not linear.

What do I mean by “linear?” Recovery is not a straight line going up. It tends to get squiggly and goes up and down, and up and down again. Recovery is not easy and is different for everybody. Recovery is easier for some and more difficult for others.

3. I know it’s hard for you, too.

I know the people who love me don’t want me to self harm. They don’t want to see me hurt myself, and I don’t want to hurt them by doing it. I acknowledge that it this is hard for you, too. I know you are cheering me on from the sideline, but I know that it’s also difficult for you, too. I remember the day my parents found out and it broke their hearts. I know it’s hard when you see me relapse. I know it’s hard when you see me struggle. But please, keep cheering me on.

4. No, it’s not pleasurable.

Self-harm is not pleasurable. It’s painful. It hurts. Whatever form of self-harm one may choose, it’s still harmful. It still causes pain. I don’t enjoy doing it. It’s not something I look forward too. It’s not something I love to do. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s something I feel I have to do to control my emotions and my feelings. It’s how I express my pain.

5. I know it’s hard to understand.

I know it’s hard to understand why someone you love would intentionally want to cause themselves pain. Sometimes I don’t understand it. Sometimes I do it without thinking, mindlessly. It’s hard for me to understand some days, and I know it’s even harder for you to understand as someone who does not do this. Please be patient as I recover, and educate yourself before you are quick to judge me.

6. I am trying.

Like I said, recovery is not linear. It is not a straight line. I may relapse. I may give in to the urge to self harm. I know it’s hard for you to see me do that, but please know that it’s hard for me, too. I am trying to recover. I am trying to get better. I will not give up.

Getty image via Grandfailure.

Originally published: November 20, 2019
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