Self-harm, EDs, suicide are a part of young people's lives now [teenager's perspective]


Young people make mistakes and, contrary to parent's and teacher's beliefs, we actually do have a particularly hard time growing up.

Disclaimer: I labeled this "Girl's behaviour" but suicidal thoughts, self harm and eating disorders affect guys too!

My story

Most of us are aware of the damaging effects of social media, but even before cyber bullying kids were cruel.

I was, like many teens, bullied in middle school and turned to bulimia and anorexia as a way of regaining control, got help and recovered. This was before social media was big in my area, although I was very involved in the eating disorder community online. Then, in high school, I started realising all of the things that had actually happened in middle school and started cutting myself, again involving myself in the self-harming community, especially on Instagram, before there were any filters or people being blocked at all. I've been clean for almost a year now and it is hard, especially since people typically act differently after finding out.

My cutting started small and grew into a large problem over the past four years. I experienced many setbacks in 2019 and am so ready to leave this year behind me. It was so hard not to cut that the pressure almost destroyed me, and yet people still have the audacity to tell me that I have no right to be stressed.


I have never had a boyfriend because I do not want to talk about my self destructive behaviour unless I initiate the conversation. My body is covered in scars, which is something my parents have found hard to accept, and I am considering undergoing surgery in later years to restore my formerly beautiful skin.

Wearing a tshirt to school led to a teacher writing an email to my parents explaining them that I have "fresh cuts" on my arms, despite my being clean for five months at the time. My past decisions do not have to overshadow my current nor my future relationships, but I feel like for most people, not knowing is the only way they CAN treat me like a normal person.

Scars on my arms after healing for five months
Scars on my arms after healing for five months

Moving on

While most assume that I am very confident and happy with life, getting out of bed every day is a challenge. And it doesn't just magically get easier from attending therapy, I have been in therapy for almost 10 years now and all of my problems started at 11.

I pay for my mistakes every day unless I wear longsleeved clothing at all times.

My scars look better now but still make me feel uncomfortable, the skin is damaged beyond healing perfectly and I have decided that I do not want to have children for this reason. There are fewer people than one may assume who are able to handle someone that has hurt themselves in multiple ways in the past. I used to be very suicidal, but since I've dealt with these feelings for around seven years now, I treat people who are open about being suicidal very differently.

During the past year, a teacher fell for me and kicked me, a straight A student, out of his class in my final year. He was the only one who knew about my self harm and I didn't want to risk him exposing me to other teachers, so I accepted my sealed fate. Still, I am sick of being treated like someone who is worth LESS.

And I will not back down for not being able to cope with issues beyond my life experience and capacities, especially since I am now dealing with them.

What is your take on adolescent issues in modern times? Have they become more or less prominent than when you were a teenager?

Would you date someone who has self harmed in the past?

Self-harm, EDs, suicide are a part of young people's lives now [teenager's perspective]
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  • razelove

    I have dated people who self-harmed in the past and have friends who did as well. I found they all said the same thing on why they did it, they wanted to feel x, whatever x may have been, but they wanted to feel. All of them were fun, spontaneous, and really outgoing, I think because it's chronic depression, and it's just harder to get any feelings through. One of them attempted suicide several times. It changed my outlook on suicide as I had friends who did kill themselves. This was in dial-up, and then early DSL days. Most of them did drugs to an extreme level as well, always fun until they had that hopeless feeling, and as you said had to be dragged out of bed and just didn't want to do anything, or attempted suicide, and another month stay in the ward. Honestly I think it was all just to feel something besides grey and flat. The people I knew that killed themselves, it was like yoda said, they didn't try, they did. It hasn't changed or gotten worse, you're no new snowflake. You're also no freak or abberation. You need to realize there are lots of people old and young out there just like you. Avoid the drugs, if you take prescriptions try to avoid anti-depressants, because I've noticed they make things more grey, then boop, someone's taking the whole bottle.

    Don't be down on yourself about the scars. You're a tiger now, be a hunter, not a victim of yourself. The more you lay down, the more you have to take, the more you chase, the less that can catch you, and the more you get. You're not ruined... hmm, do you view tattoos as ruining an individual? because they're on the same level, you just went deeper.

    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing your opinion on this, especially with your experience.
      I have attempted suicide before but I didn’t want it to work and was very aware of that. Only through overdosing on painkillers so nothing serious, nobody knew about it either and I knew I wouldn’t die.
      However, I disagree with you on the trying to feel part, things probably due to my Asperger‘s, but I didn't want to feel for a while because it was so overwhelming.
      I am still in situations in which I get so frustrated, angry and sad that I think back to a psychiatrist who wanted to give me Aripiprazole, which I would have agreed to without doing any research but my parents convinced me to think about it. They then sat me down, I was 14, and told me that they were always against medicating me because it would only turn me into a different person and ruin my life in the sense that I wouldn’t feel enough. And I think that they were right, we never visited that doctor/psychiatrist again.
      Personally, I hate tattoos, but that has something to do with my religious beliefs. I do think they can ruin people, I prefer pure, clean bodies and I don’t have that anymore, but I do think that my scars will he’s even better, on the pic I included they still looked bad in colour, but now they’re much better. I cut too deep on my thighs on two separate occasions, which motivated me to stop, because I knew it would only get deeper and deeper.
      I have found out after writing this myTake that a girl I always thought was extremely confident is cutting herself under the influence of drugs because she doesn’t have enough followers on Instagram. As ridiculous as that may sound, she at least has a reason. I don’t have one that’s short and sounds good and that still worries me.

    • razelove

      Well, if you're not cutting to feel, maybe it's to focus on the blade and the feeling of the skin parting to the exclusion of everything else. I cut myself once to see why some of my girlfriends did it, but I never understood it. I asked them when they would talk about it and tried to understand, thighs, ankles, inside the elbows were popular places to cut, and your reason for cutting is to escape. You don't need a big reason or you'll wind up cutting again or beating yourself up for not having a reason. Just try hard to realize it's the past, but you're going to carry it with you. That's ok, we learn from the past and try to adapt. What are your religious beliefs if you don't mind my asking? For some reason Utah is coming to mind. Beautiful place, friendly people, not much to do.

    • Anonymous

      Im from Central Europe, mormon

    • Show All

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • goaded

    I know two people who have self-harmed, and another with an ED. It bothers me that there are communities for these things, I don't know if it's a good idea - do they help people to stop, or do they normalise it?

    Of the two, one is in a relationship, and the other hasn't cut herself for a few years.

    Like 1 Person
    • Anonymous

      I guess it depends. Some of them enhance the problems and make them worse. Most of them don't help people to stop - it's more or less black and white, normalising self harm is important in my opinion for people who did it like me. I don't want to feel like an outcast - seeing that others did it too helps me, it makes me feel less alone.

  • LogicBomber

    As much as the youth of today want to believe they have it hard, they don't.
    Yes they have "hardships" because life is hard and we all have hardships.
    The issue is that the young (post '95, mainly white females) don't know how to handle basic negatives in life. Any western child who believes they have it tough should be sent to a third world where they have to either forage for food or constantly try and survive in a war torn area... then they will see that their life isn't so tough.

    You are born in the most advanced part of the planet, as part of the most privileged group of humans to ever exist on earth. If being called names is worst thing you have to deal with, consider yourself lucky.

    I get that kids are heartless, mean, assholes... I was bullied (as were many other children throughout the ages)... But self destruction is the most backwards way of dealing with negative. It's like a lock being built to simply open when met with any force.

    Seeing scars on a female generally shows that she is weak minded and unable to handle basic life... therefore it wouldn't make her a good person to date. At any sign of difficulty in the relationship you would have to worry about how foolish she would become. It isn't worth the annoyance.

    LikeDisagree 2 People
    • Anonymous

      I agree with you to a wide extent.

      I used to have the exact same mindset where I would see people cutting and just shaking my head at them, thinking that they are weak. What I have realised through my immense struggles with self worth, self esteem, accepting my wrongdoings, accepting my privilege and stopping self damaging behaviour though is that I am stronger than I was before.
      I used to be full of anger and disgust because I felt like nobody understood me, until I started to ocnvert that anger into sadness. This is what overwhelmed me eventually and I have been unable to feel anger for more than one minute ever since, which is a huge change for me. It is my own fault that I feel too much sadness now, if my emotions were more balanced it would be EASIER. Not better but easier to handle.

      Now, about the privilege part, I do think that I share your opinion but I have always felt awful for my very lucky circumstances as I have always been very aware of my privilege, we traveled a lot and I did see extreme poverty often enough to know I have it very very good.
      However, just because I used to cut and still KNOW that it would help me so much in dealing with my current stress levels and difficult situation at school, I am not weak minded.
      I am able to handle basic life, I have had a very successful school career so far. However, this does not come easy to me. My autism means that I cannot handle emotions as well and I have NEVER used this as an excuse.
      It is easy for you to say that young people/adults like me are weak and that we don't deserve relationships, but I honestly do not think that you have met enough people with these "First world issues" to know that "WE" would overreact and act foolishly whenever there is a difficulty around the corner.
      If you want to have a deeper discussion on this, you are welcome.

    • Being a female (and more so if you are white), you have privilege as much as your disability may have felt like a challenge, society does help you along more than they do any other group.

    • I find it odd that you said scars (rather than cuts) on a woman are a sign of mental weakness. Do you not believe that a weak minded individual could turn their outlook on life around? Scars can last forever, mindsets can be changed. As for the privilege that white women have in this society, it seems you're exaggerating it a bit. Yes, it's a thing, but when you look into the complexities of the different groups we have, they all have their advantages and disadvantages, some industrious, others dealing with socializing, welfare, etc. But to say that having this privilege means that you shouldn't be dealing with mental illness is illogical

    • Show All
  • DOGMA1954

    You bring back memories to places I have been with your own pain before. As a child, I had no fatter in the picture and my mother was very unstable. I grew up alone and the kids I went to school with never excepted me at all. At that time, if you had no father, a single mother and low income, you might as well be on the moon alone. I wanted to fit in and be part of things, but nothing seemed to work for me. I was 6 when this started. I hated myself and was not sure why. I had no one to talk to about what was going on with me. I never cut myself, but would punch myself in the face for punishment. Punishing myself that way made me feel better somehow, but was always short term and would have to be repeated over and over again. I became a risk taker on all kinds of dangerous things hopping to end my pain or kill me. No one ever knew what I was going through. I was very quite in school and kept to myself. I was never a problem child to my mother when she was around. As I got older, the abuse from my mother and some of her boyfriends became a new way of life for me. I seem to punish myself more for just being alive. I always had the question, "why me". I became a emotional eater and would gain weight. I felt like people were looking at my weight gain, so I would force myself to vomit as not to gain anything. No one ever asked me how I was doing. No one ever said come set with them or be part of something. I stopped abusing myself at 38. It took me that long to see that I was not the real problem, but was different from other people and that sometimes people just dont like different. I carry both physical and emotional scars. I took a leap of faith one day and found help to understand my life. It did help and I am in my sixties. Life has not been a bed of roses for me, but I am happy to a point. I have not changed who I am, but changed how I few people and things in the world. Never judge someone who is like myself. The pain is very real and sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes a person that ask if your ok can make a world of difference. Just one small act of kindness can change a persons day or week that otherwise doesn't have much to look forward to other than pain.

    Like 1 Person
  • GabiAd

    Life is a vicious cycle of pain and happinesses. If surgery is an option for you I'd suggest taking it. People always judge the covers of books willingly or not.
    I'd date a self harmer but not sure if that would end well for ether of us.

    Like 2 People
    • GabiAd

      Sowing yourself to be different makes people point the finger at you and laugh look at the guy how different. I think they do it to fit in...
      I used to cut my arm but the scaring was minimal.
      I contemplate sucid every other day but a felling of complite and other dredd keeps me going and has done so for at least 4 years.
      I've learned that in life we all have a roll to play and a darkness noming at the back of your head. Sowing your true self leads to nothing but pity and rejection. Or maybe it's just me.
      I know this has no answers, but it fells good to unwind from time to time.

    • Anonymous

      I recently saw a similar question on here which inspired me to write this myTake, it was on whether or not you should/could date someon with self inflicted scars. The opinions were hard to take for someone who has these type of scars but i agree with you that it may not end well.

  • MissDawn7961

    everybody gets teased in society for different things ! if this has not happened to you yet then I hope it does not ! however someone will do it to you , even if they have to lie about you to do this ! if they don't bully you about your looks , then they will make up something about you and spread it around like it is the truth when they know it is a lie ! your best bet is to stay away from others who lie about you for they are toxic and not worth your being around unless you have to be ! thanks

  • DeeDeeDeVour

    Self-harm, EDs & suicide have become dramatically more prominent than when I was a teenager. I hope & pray these decrease.

    Like 1 Person
  • GloriaMc

    I was also bullied at school back when I was a teens but my parents thought me how to fights not by force but by Sharp words but first they explain to me what I need to endure and you know what they trained me well😆

    • Anonymous

      But do you think fighting bullying with bullying really is the correct approach? I don’t really understand what you mean when you express it like this.

    • GloriaMc

      I said I was been trained on how to deal with bullies

    • GloriaMc

      But first all love yourself

  • engel23

    If they only knew that there are people with cancer that not even morphine can ease the pain. People in many parts of the world with out food for days. And others running away with nothing and afraid of what can happen to them because the war in their country. They would appreciate what they have and would not self-harm or suicide.

    • Anonymous

      They“ know. For me, this divide between poor and rich was one of the reasons why I hurt myself, because I genuinely felt bad about my privilege. Don’t assume stuff about people who self harm, that’s not exactly wise.

    • engel23

      I am not assuming. I remember seen my sister-in law trying to survive a cancer with so much pain in her body that I was easier to die than going through all that pain But she fought because of her son until she could no more. But there is people whom does go through bad experiences and look for the easiest way out. Or self-harming is not a solution for any problem. Find the root of the problem

  • Nevada_rose

    i had a pretty rough home life growing up, and I was bullied in school constantly in elementary, i actual got pulled out and homeschooled for a year cause i couldn't take it anymore. This caused me to enter into junior high where people were even crueler. The bullying mixed with a stupid amount of family problems i ended up self-harming getting into a huge problem with depression and basically not attending school 8th and 9th-grade year. I feel like life has gotten more challenging for teenagers because of all the standards we are held to. High school makes everything worse, and i know tons of kids who feel the same way i do.

    • Anonymous

      I'm sorry to hear that. Do you think we create these standards ourselves or are they created by others?

    • both tbh i think the media influences it but we make it a priority to us cause of how we are exposed to it

  • Thatsamazing

    "Now?" They always have been. There's nothing new under the sun.

  • nikolicmaoo

    I'm 3 months clean, last suicide try over 3 years ago. It hasn't been easy but it gets better. My whole body is in scars but im trying to accept them.

    • I'm still bulimic afer 5+ years but im trying my best to get better

    • Anonymous

      I'm sorry to hear that, I get the part where it's hard to accept. And I remember being clean for three months and hating myself so much for no reason since this was often the point at which I couldn't take it anymore and relapsed.
      So I'm sending out strength to you, you can do this. Also hope you can recover from Bulimia.

  • KaraAyna

    Good take

  • Anonymous

    Let me tell you about my childhood.

    My mom got sick when I was about 5 and no one knew what she had. She spent months in a hospital without a clear diagnosis. Shortly after she was dismissed I had to say goodbye to my dad and childhood home because my mom moved away and my parents lived on two freaking different continents when I was 7. After that my mom became clinically depressed. I remember most of my afternoons during elementary school involved drinking tea and checking up on my mom's breathing because she was taking pills and sleeping all day long. My mother also suffered from severe anxiety and would not let me do anything besides going to school. My mother would often blame me for her depression and anxiety. She always told me I wasn't a good child and she was suffering because of me and my bad behavior. At least once a month, she would pack her stuff and threaten to leave at night because she couldn't take us anymore. My brother and I were about 9-10 years old and we would beg her not to leave and cry. We were scared that she would go and we would be all alone without a mother and a father.
    I grew up alone without any friends. I suppose nothing was very stable in my life at that time so I never wanted to get close to anyone in fear of getting hurt.
    I was a chubby kid and I turned into an overweight teenager. You can imagine the degree of bullying I got from classmates and honestly even teachers. I only had my books and I also became severely depressed and developed anxiety and an extremely low self esteem. I isolated myself. I barely talked to anyone. I remember once I needed to buy clothes and instead of talking to the retail assistant who was making suggestions, I would address my mom and answer her questions to my mom as if she wouldn't be there. I refused to wear any other color than black because I wanted to remain invisible.
    I thought my life was extremely unfair. I got handed bad cards. When all the other children were taking swimming and painting classes in fifth grade, I was reading Anna Karenina in my dimly lit room, eating sweets and trying not to feel too worthless and neglected! My weight fluctuated throughout the years but I could never fully recover.
    At 25, I wasn't much different from the time I was 15. I was alone, depressed and most of the times I felt disgusting and loathed myself. After I finally graduated from university I realized how behind I had fallen in comparison to people my age.
    Eventually I had to face reality. It took me years to finally get some help. The last straw was when I started crying when a customer called me stupid at my part time job in front of everyone. I realized I needed therapy and nothing else could get me out of my pathetic situation.
    I haveb working on myself for a while now but I think 30 years can't be undone within a few months. I feel better but I still have bad days when I don't wanna leave my bed. I am not as confident as I would like to be but I think all these events in my life have made me much stronger than most people around me.
    Why would you need to cut yourself and add to the already existing pain when life has already handed you so much? This isn't very logical.
    Go get the help you need. Everyone deserves to not be depressed.

    • Anonymous

      Your story is truly touching, thank you for sharing. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been for you. I have a very stable enviroment which I am immensely grateful for. I should have probably added that I started self harming because I was unable to deal with the amount of feelings I was feeling after having left the school where I got bullied. I was bullied before too, in Elementary school, it just wasn't as bad.
      I didn't have much pain growing up afar from always feeling like a failure too, I have mild Asperger's. That's also why I started cutting, because I wasn't able to deal with emotions in general, it was too much and cutting helped me to evolve in a sense, I can now deal with life much better.
      I've been in therapy for eight years, I am receiving the help I need.

  • Anonymous

    being bullied in middle school is bad, and living in oblivion in High School is worse
    i think that feeling is common to almost all teens, me being at the worst extreme end

    • Anonymous

      I agree, but do you think that it will control your life once you're in your twenties or will you be able to leave middle and high school behind? Do you have professional help?

    • anon841

      "but do you think that it will control your life once you're in your twenties "

      It surely does! Happened with me. I never self harmed, tho.