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A letter to myself when I was self-harming

3 min read
07 May 2020

Dear younger me,

I know you want to self-harm. No matter what anyone says or what you know you should do, the urge feels too strong to resist. But it始s not helping you; what feels like temporary relief is just fuelling an addiction. The numbness, the thoughts and the feelings you take out on yourself will just get worse, more frequent and nothing is solved. Life is full of ups and downs; don始t fuel the hatred and anger you have inside. There are much better ways to feel alive, places to go, experiences to be had that will make those worst moments feel not so big anymore.

There are much better ways to feel alive, places to go, experiences to be had that will make those worst moments feel not so big anymore.

Your mental illness is not who you are. I know you始re scared to get better, to leave the comfort and familiarity of sadness, but life is out there and you始re missing it.

If you feel the urge to self-harm, distract yourself: read a book, be with family, put yourself in a situation where there is no option to self-harm. Stop for a minute, look outside and see the trees still breathing, the sky始s ever-changing colour. The world is what you make of it; when you始re feeling low you始ll see the worst - you filter out all the good.

If you feel the urge to self-harm, distract yourself: read a book, be with family, put yourself in a situation where there is no option to self-harm.

Write a poem, get the scrambled white noise in your mind on paper, it doesn始t have to make sense. You can始t have happy without sad, can始t have love without hate. Whatever low you始re experiencing right now, there is an equal high waiting for you. Experiencing deep sadness can give you the capacity to experience deeper happiness.

Who you are doesn始t have to be certain - people are complex!

Stop worrying about the meaning of life and not knowing who you are. Who you are doesn始t have to be certain - people are complex! Just live moment by moment, enjoying what is there for you to enjoy. You only live once, so if you need help to improve your life and move on from this stage, then get it. No one knows why we are all here; that始s the beauty of it, we have the freedom to find our own meaning. You have the freedom to do whatever you want to do. You始re here, you鈥檙e alive, so why not live?

Love from,
You

More information and advice

Where to get help

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but聽if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that鈥檚 troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Childline

    If you鈥檙e under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their聽free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you聽can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
    9am - midnight, 365 days a year

Thanks for sharing your story Jessica, 16

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