To tortured souls who self-harm…

“You didn’t put the knife down because you weren’t ready to. You still have a need to hold on to the certainty of the pain that drives you to that point, rather than face the daunting possibility of hope by letting go and trying to believe again. Don’t see it as a weakness. It’s just a choice. A painful choice, but nonetheless, a choice. But until you’re ready to take the brave step of moving beyond what got you to this point, you’ll never be ready to put the knife down. Know that you’re not alone, and realise that you’re not weak. The final choice will always be yours to make. No one else’s. But sometimes, making those choices require us to give up on something or someone that we’re not ready to give up on. So that’s what you need to decide. That’s what you need to realise. That’s what you, and only you, can do for yourself. The rest of us can only support you, empathise with you, or avoid you if what you’re doing reminds us too much about our own weaknesses that we’re not ready to face. But ultimately, the choice can only be yours.”

This was in response to someone that was deriding herself about not being able to resist the temptation to cut again…my heart goes out to her and others like her that see self-harm as the only way to release the pain and anguish that they feel in their lives. I wish people would pay more attention to those around them. I wish people would be more sensitive about what they say or do, no matter how much they would like to believe they don’t have the power to hurt others. 

I believe that vindictive and cruel people are only that way because they have a twisted need to feel powerful, because they lack the self-worth and wisdom to realise that being kind is infinitely more courageous than being cruel. If you’ve had a bad day, don’t take it out on your kids, or your significant others. They may love you too much, or be too afraid to respond or retaliate, but the impact of your words will often leave scars on them, and not just in their hearts.

Zaid Ismail

Author, life coach, and mental health activist. We need to change the narrative from disorders, illnesses, and survival to accountability, understanding, and thriving.

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