When I first self-harmed, it was out of grief. A family member had died and I wanted my sadness to go somewhere and feel concrete and real.
I did it in an obvious place, some friends at school noticed and I felt a deep sense of shame and regret. After that, I always self-harmed in the same place, rarely visible to anyone else.
The injuries were minor, but over six years since I stopped I still have faint scars that haven't completely faded.
I honestly didn't see the problem at the time. In my mind, I wasn't hurting anybody but myself, I wasn't causing serious damage and I had an outlet for my worst feelings.
I knew logically that what I was doing wasn't okay, but I couldn't translate that when it came to my actual experiences. I liked feeling physical rather than emotionally wounded.
I'd carry pain around with me all day like a trophy.
It took me a long time to see my self-harm for what it really was -- thousands of tiny acts of hatred and violence against my own body.
I thought I was letting things out and releasing them, but really I was setting the dogs on myself. I was one of the lucky ones -- I stopped on my own, and things never got really serious.
Even on my worst days now, it's not an option for a number of reasons. It's not like that for everyone.
My story feels like a pretty mild one -- but any degree of self-harm is a problem.
If you're struggling with it I know that it's incredibly hard to form the words to speak up, but there are people who want to hear them -- friends, parents, guardians, counselors,
It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
You deserve to reach a place where you feel you can be kind to yourself, and you deserve help along the way.
I try to find little ways to love myself now, and I hope you can too.
Whatever age I am,
I always want to scoop up my past self at her worst moments and wipe her tears and feed her chips and tell her everything's going to be okay -- so why is it often so hard to give my present
self that same love? I think I'm getting along better with myself now, even if some days it takes work. Sometimes you need to hold your own hand. Not literally. But maybe literally, if it helps.
I love you