This piece mentions the topic of self-injury. Please use your discretion.
It’s OK to not be OK.
I’ve been hearing and reading those words a lot lately. Working as a communications manager, I write those words for others. I write and send tips to employees about working from home—some of which are about mental and physical well-being. I ask others through my words to reach out for professional help if they need it. I worry about the mental well-being of those around me especially considering everything that’s happened this year. I’ve been going full speed ahead, spending most of my waking hours either working or thinking about work. Never slowing down to worry about my own mental and physical well-being. I would guess that there are a lot of us out there who are worrying more about others than ourselves.
I don’t know how or what I’m feeling on a regular basis because more often than not, I keep myself so busy that there’s never any room for silence or solitude. There are never any moments for my feelings to truly surface. When the world stopped, I didn’t. I was thrown into crisis mode for work. But eventually, the long hours and wild sleep schedule waned. And in their absence, every emotion rushed in. The old fears and worries and anxieties mixed with new pandemic worries and anxieties.
It’s taken months of writing and saying “It’s OK to not be OK” to convince myself that it’s OK for me to not be OK too. And I’m not really OK sometimes. A few years have passed since I’ve spoken to a mental health professional or used medicine to treat my anxiety and depression. 10 years have passed since I last self-injured. A decade has passed since I hurt myself so badly that it scared me into stopping. A decade has passed since I last had to come up with a lie about what happened to my arm. Yet, even with those milestones under my belt, these past six months have been so stressful that for a few minutes I wondered what it would be like to self-injure again, I wondered what I would use to do it. For just a few minutes, I wondered how my old friend was doing. For a few minutes, I missed it.
That feeling of hurting so badly internally that you need and want to see pain instead of feeling it was overwhelming. I haven’t wanted to injure in almost a decade. But due to the pandemic and the restrictions, so many of the other coping mechanisms I’ve learned to use haven’t been available. Normally, when the pain gets to be too much or the anxiety gets too high, I get a new piercing or a tattoo. Neither was an option. The yoga studio within walking distance of my apartment–closed. Traveling–on hold.
I’m happy and grateful to sit here and recount this experience because I did not harm myself when that urge arose. My self-injury recovery anniversary remains the same. But that doesn’t mean I’m OK. Very few of my friends, family, or coworkers know about my past and my mental health. But I’ve been slowly opening up, allowing myself to be vulnerable and invite people in. I’m recognizing how unhealthy my work-life balance is. I’m realizing what I need and learning how to be comfortable asking for it. I am beginning to believe that it is OK for me to not be OK too.
It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to break down and cry. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to take a day off to be alone or spend time in nature. It’s OK to take care of yourself and to tell someone when you need them. It’s OK to be hurting. It is OK to not be OK.
You are worthy of love and grace, from others and yourself. You are enough, here and now. If you’re dealing with self-injury or self-harm, we encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at [email protected].
Thank you. This is my current struggle. I gave in to the temptation during the pandemic and being isolated. Now I’m fighting every day to not do it again.
I wish my story was the same as yours, but I did give in. That old friend came back with a vengeance. I self harm routinely now. My arms are a canvas of scars. Theirs no one to ask what happened and the one person who knows says its my decision so I have at it. I have no guilt or remorse. I actually like it because its so much better than the mental pain. That is rough. So much time in lockdown to think, think about things long repressed, buried deep deep down in the darkest pits of my subconscious. But without distractions and coping mechanisms they worked their way free to haunt me anew. So the only distraction and way to cope is to turn the mental pain to physical pain
We are truly sorry to hear that you are dealing with self-injury. Please know you are not alone and that you are stronger than the burgers you are experiencing. The pandemic has caused so many emotions to arise and this is not your fault. But there is hope and help is available and we would be honored to connect with you. Would you email our team at [email protected] so we can learn more about you and offer you some encouragement and resources?
Thank you for sharing! I needed to hear this today.
This was so beautiful and inspiring, thank you so much for sharing your story. <3
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can relate and needed this reminder.
this entry was so moving to me i am 13 and i am struggling with self harm and suicidal thoughts and you gave me the reassurance that i am not alone and that it is okay not to be okay…thanks so much for writing this 🙂
Wow. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear that today until I did. This past week I did slip twice and self injury and I have been feeling very frustrated and overwhelmed by that and feeling the pressure to “just be okay” so this was what I needed to hear today so thank you.
It is OK to have these moments. We are proud of you for reaching out and for being honest about these challenges. Please know that you are alone, and that the progress you have made has not been negated. Keep going.
I’m 13 and I struggle with stuff like that I feel like it even talk to anyone about that not when I can see their face it’s scary to know that there are people that go through the same things I do because I know how hard it is but when I see someone who has gone through it and I see them it a great place it reminds me that I can do it and that I have so many things in my life to look forward to I am thanking you for sharing your story it really has helped me in 15 minutes I took to read it. thank you so much!
We’re so glad you found Lisa’s words and were able to connect with them. Please know that you can always reach out to our team at [email protected] when you are in need of a safe space to share or are looking for encouragement and help.
I’m new to Arizona looking for a therapist in sun city area I’m 67yrs old retired female with Medicare and Medicaid. I’m feeling very out of control, overwhelmed and suicidal. Need help I’m very very depressed and scared I will hurt myself.
We’re so sorry to hear that you’re struggling but we are also so glad you reached out. Would you email our team at [email protected] so we can offer you some resources? You can also locate local and affordable options using our FIND HELP Tool at twloha.com/find-help. And you can text TWLOHA to 741741 to get in contact with a trained crisis counselor through Crisis Text Line. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. You are not alone, Lyn. There is still hope.
Thank you for this text. I struggle heavily with mental health perimenstrually and unfortunately usually give in to the self-hatred and despair I feel, every month. The shame and guilt I feel for still not having managed my current living situation, course of life, family business quite too, as well as my really loud inner critic that I become those rough days around my period including intrusive selfharm pictures and thoughts. It is a hormonal, chemical mess. The suicidal ideation I tend to feel for about 2 or 3 days each month due to hormone changes I won’t give in to, never have, never will. But the shame that I carry around because I’ve been seen with ‘new’ scars however tiny … that is something I am struggling with a lot. Guilt that I am not better yet and that the many coping methods I can choose from not always help enough.
Please know that “better” is not a destination but a journey that requires kindness and grace and growth. We hope you can extend all of those things to yourself. It’s easy to encourage you to release shame and guilt but we acknowledge how difficult it actually is to let those things go. At the end of the day, however, you are capable of amazing things and we believe in you.
Let’s remove our mental health stigma❤️Anyone with a brain needs to take care of themselves and each other.
♥️ My 10 year anniversary was November 5th. This hit home on so many levels.
Keep going. We’ve got this!
I too quit self harming about a decade ago. I relapsed around 3yrs ago. But was able to stop once more. I’ve been getting the urge more often especially since I left an abusive marriage. Just keep taking it one day at a time and hope I keep finding the strength to fight.
Thank you for sharing part of your story. This is incredibly encouraging for me. Self-injury has been part of my life for over 30 years. The urge ebbs and flows as different things have happened in my life. About two years ago, I found a counselor who I am able to share my self harm struggles with. I am proud to say that two nights ago, I reached out to a friend BEFORE hurting myself. (And I never followed through on the urge to self harm.) It was the first time I’ve ever reached out before hurting myself. The next day, I asked my counselor for help managing my flashbacks.
At this moment, even though I hate it, I can admit that I need other people. It it feels wonderful to be able to say that. It’s even more wonderful to know that at least one person will be there to support me.
Thank you for your story. I haven’t self injured in 2 years. I wonder if that is why I like getting tattoos so much, yea they are cool but I wanted to cover my scars.
Thank you for sharing. I just recently started struggling with self harm and have found it very difficult to resist the urge. Every time I self harm I am overwhelmed with guilt and shame, which pushes me in a downward spiral. I feel so much pressure to “just get better” and “be okay”. This was so needed, thank you again.