A comic about my self-harm.
Find a doctor.
That probably sounds glib; it’s really, really not meant to.
I have never self harmed to the extant that you have,, but speaking as someone who – when off my medications – could also describe themselves as psychotic in their thinking: this will almost certainly not get better on its own. I have no idea how you will respond to treatment, but I will tell you that the odds are significantly more in your favor if you seek it.
This is a really amazing comic and made me choke up a bit.
That image on the seventh page is exactly how I felt when I used to self-harm and the only thing I’ve found that comes close to that same feeling of peace is meditation, which helps a lot but takes a lot more work.
“so many of us everywhere, and everyone constantly feeling all this stuff all the time!” this is important to remember, i think. we’re all feeling something and what we feel is valid. we should be able to talk about it without feeling judged or stigmatized.
ESME this was incredible <3 <3
this is so totally relentlessly lucid and brilliant and well done. i’m not even 2/3 done reading it and … yeah. ESME.
This is amazing, this courage is inspiring.
Thanks Esme for somehow putting everything I’ve evert felt into pictures and words. I’ve never known how to say any of this.
I can’t believe people can be so insensitive sometimes, surely they know shaming does nothing but intensify the internal conflict. I feel like this comic says so much so well and people will really be able to connect.
thank you for making this Esme, wow wow wow <3
I am speechless. So much bravery. Just woah.
You’re not alone. I struggled with self harm until I was 22. You might not like to hear this, but I felt exactly the way you did.
I got help. And I stopped. It’s been over 3 and a half years since I did it.
What worked for me was treating it like an addiction, because for me, that’s what it was.
I really hope you find what works for you. I know you might not really be ready to stop. But know that you can. You won’t be able to “just stop” through sheer force of will, if you are anything like me. And it’s ridiculous that people expect us to be able to do that. You will need help, but help is available.
You might need to look for help extra hard because self harm isn’t well understood even by many professionals. But “help” can look like a lot of things. Medication helped me. Getting an emotional support animal helped me. Getting institutionalized for a few days helped me too, in the long run, as much as it sucked. Working a program of recovery involving meetings and 12 steps helped me more than anything else.
But that’s just my formula. Yours almost certainly looks different. But it exists. And I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying your path to recovery is there. It is possible for you, or for anyone, who struggles with self-harm. We can all stop– forever.
Yes, I agree so much with you! I feel like, among a lot of people with mental illness, it’s cool to blow off professionals’ genuine efforts to help as those of misguided idiots who don’t really understand you. Wait: Esme, I realize this sounds like I think you’re like that, but I definitely don’t. It’s just that I was like that for a while, and my first encounter with a psychiatrist just solidified my conviction that no one could help me. But then I found new psychiatrists and psychologists, and realized that professionals are just like other people — some are jerks, some are not, some are intelligent and compassionate, some are not, some are actually worth their salt, etc.
Also, when you have a big, horrible secret that you’ve carried with you for years, it can feel like everyone will just be horrified when you tell them. In reality, this is not always true. I was sexually abused by my father for three years, and I thought telling someone would kill me, but when I told my shrink, she was so compassionate and warm and supportive, and just the moment after I told her, I felt as light as a cloud.
…so yeah, all the best! <3<3<3
This made me cry. This is so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Esme.
Esme! Thank you for this. So vivid, candid, and beautiful <3<3
I’m crying because this is exactly how it feels.. thank you for putting this into a visual but describing it the way you did. This is really beautiful.
this is incredible. it was very difficult for me to read, but also starts a very necessary conversation. thank you for being so brave, esme!!! all the love in the world
this is so beautiful. last page made me cry. my scars are pretty bad most people notice but then you have those moments where you see other peoples and you just know and make eye contact and it’s like this weird little secret shared. the last page says it more perfectly than anything i’ve ever seen.
My scars aren’t bad but they’re there. They’re always there. My shoulders, my legs and my arms, the back of my mind, they’re there. I want to get help but I don’t feel worthy of a diagnosis. I’m supposed to be better now, right?
I loved this comic because it explains me so well. Media always shows cutting as something you do every day. It takes an extreme feeling for me to cut. I can go weeks without doing anything to myself and then suddenly I do it. I’m afraid if I go for help, the weeks I’m doing ok they will say I’m ‘cured’. I don’t want to hurt my family.
Rookie is no longer publishing new content, but we hope you'll continue to enjoy the archives, or books, and the community you've helped to create. Thank you for seven very special years! ✴
Rookie is an online magazine and book series for teenagers. Each month, a different editorial theme drives the writing, photography, and artwork that we publish. Learn more about us here, and find out how to submit your work here!