Dear me six years ago (SH awareness day)

You feel beyond the realms of hellish. You are angry, sad, frustrated. You just don’t feel right and you just don’t know why…

But please don’t do what you’re about to do – you don’t know this now, but I do, you are about to start a six-year battle to stop what you just started. And trust me you are making the wrong decision. It might feel like a release, like it’ll make things better but in reality you can’t imagine the states it will get you in.

Once you start you just can’t stop and it’ll feel like it’s your friend and that’s it’s helping you. You say to yourself it’s not a problem and you are in control. It’s your little secret that “gets you through” the days. But deep down you will know these are days of misery and loneliness – you are keeping a horrible secret from those around you and it’s a weight on your shoulders.

Time goes on and now you know it’s a problem but you just can’t stop. You rely on it. You’ve stopped trying to find other ways to cope because this feels safe. But let me tell you it’s anything but safe – you are risking your health every time you do it. There is no safe way to do it.

You become so ashamed and socially isolated. You can’t sleepover because you won’t wear short sleeves, you wear jumpers in the summer and you are bloody sweating. That dress you love? You are too embarrassed to wear it in public. Swimming? That’s a no go too.

You end up spending money on harmful things and things to cover up the result. I guess you aren’t getting new lipstick.

It’s school photo day – time to take your blazer off and fix your tie. You escape out of a fire door and run through muddy fields to avoid it.

Now it just keeps getting worse – doesn’t it? And you can’t keep it secret forever. Your family see and they are worried. They shout. They cry. But you can’t stop – you’re addicted and you don’t know how to cope without it. It’s hurting everyone around you but it’s too late for you to care.

Soon they hospitalise you but you still fight to come back to it – you argue, lie and plead. You are desperate. This is not Emma anymore.

You give yourself scars that will never completely fade and for years you are so ashamed of them.

Six years later six years – you are still having to fight every day to keep a lid on what took a minute to begin.

Please put it down. I’m not angry – you are fragile and scared and that is ok. It is ok to feel whatever you are feeling but choose another path – talk to someone, draw, run, cry. In reality you may still feel low for years to come but you can make this one thing more bearable – treat yourself with care not harm. Be your own best friend and advocate not your own worst enemy.

The struggle I’m telling you about has shown me the love and strength of those around you – use them now. Don’t wait for things to get worse.

Today is self-harm awareness day. It’s six years too late to tell little me all of this. But it’s not for some people. And even if it’s too late for you to stop it beginning – it is never too late to stop. I have learned to replace self-harm with self-care and you can too. There is help out there – childline, Samaritans, your loved ones. You have the strength in you – please use it. You are not alone.


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