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What does it feel like to self-harm? – by Jess






What does it feel like to self-harm?
– by Jess

What does it feel like to self-harm?
Well, let’s go to the beach.
And walk into the water, blindfolded.
Just keep walking, you don’t know where you’re going.
You just know you’re going deeper and deeper out into the sea.
That’s what the build up to cutting feels like.

Depression has blinded you.
You don’t know where you’re going.
All you know is you’re going deeper.
Now, keep going until you begin to drown.
You want air.
You want relief.
You don’t want to be drowning anymore.

Now imagine the relief when someone pulls you out of the water.
Really stop and imagine that feeling.
That’s what cutting is.
Relief from all the pain you’ve been drowning in.
Relief from not feeling good enough.
Relief from your mind.
Relief from not being able to explain yourself.
Relief from your insecurities.
Relief from the breathless sensations in your chest.
Relief from the self-hate.

You might find cutting disgusting.
You might never understand it.
But when you’re drowning, you need saving.
So, what is cutting like?
It’s the gasp of air you take when someone pulls you up.
It’s a moment of relief.


Self harm affects many people for many different reasons. As many as 13% of 11-16 year olds may self-harm, so if this is something affecting your life, then you’re not alone. To hear Jess talk more about her experiences, check out her video ‘Things People Ask – Self Harm’

3 Responses so far.

  1. Jaqui says:

    So clearly and courageously written. I would do the same in those circumstances, I’m sure. Thanks so much for sharing this. Xxx

  2. Adel says:

    Amazing jess. I’m so proud of you. You are an inspiration… such a real account of what it’s like x

  3. John says:

    I am someone who works with poetry – sharing poems that help people who are in pain see that someone has been there before and has survived. Their poem is evidence of their survival. Thank you for what you offer here

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