As featured on PuckerMob.
Yesterday I wrote about how it feels when someone close to you is struggling with depression: the suffocating, dragging sort of pain that comes when you see them cry or when their smile fades.
Over the last 24 hours, I had a flood of people comment, email, message, and text me, saying how much my words meant to them, had relevance in their lives, were their thoughts articulated, hit home for them, helped them understand. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing that I could touch others—relate to someone outside my bubble, help them know they aren’t alone.
The most powerful and meaningful messages were those that expressed the side I hadn’t written about: those struggling with depression, negativity, and self-harm. This one is for you.
So, you’ve cut your wrists before? SO WHAT.
No, I don’t mean that in a rude way. I mean it exactly how it sounds. So what.
You are not defined by the scars on your wrists.
You were a person before your self-harm. You are a person now. No matter how many times you have failed, have brought that sharp point to your body, couldn’t talk yourself down from the fist-clenching anger or mind-numbing sadness, you are still a valuable, smart, wonderful, and brave person.
Your life is not defined by the marks on your body. They show where you have come from. They show your past. They show that you have struggled, like thousands and thousands of people. They show that you are not, and never will be, alone.
Listen, we have all struggled with pain. We have all faced times when we had to close our eyes to block out the world. We have sat in the grass, looked up at the stars, and wondered who the hell we are. We’ve screamed into our pillows. We’ve ripped hair out of our heads. We’ve wondered, What is the point? We’ve cried until the tears dried salty and hard on our cheeks. We’ve ripped up pages of our best artwork. We’ve banged our heads into walls. We’ve pushed away the friends closest to us, even when we know they have our best interests at heart. We’ve jumped up and down like maniacs. We’ve acted crazy. We’ve had screaming fits. We’ve tried to numb the pain. We’ve yelled words we haven’t meant. We’ve given up. We’ve cried, oh we’ve cried.
You are not alone.
Those scars on your wrists. Those burns. Those marks. That pain. It does not define your life. They do not represent the person you are. The person you will become.
The way you have dealt with negativity and anger in the past—that is not the ‘always.’ Not the way you are destined to always overcome pain. You are stronger now, braver. You are powerful enough to change, to deal with pain in a healthier way. To look your past and the people that question you boldly in the face and say, ‘So what?’
You are not defined by your self-harm. Never have and never will be.
These marks on your body? They are not forever. Sure, they may be scars, but they can be hidden, can be covered, can be seen by only you and those who love you as a reminder of all you have overcome. Of the amazing person you are now.
So, you have self-harmed? So what. You are more than those marks, more than the pain you have felt in the past. You are beautiful. You are bold. You are flawed, just like everyone else. You are a human being. You are an astounding human being. You are courageous.
And you are not alone.