In a brave post shared to Instagram in honor of Self-Injury Awareness Day on March 1, Deyjah Harris, daughter of rapper T.I., bared the scars of her own experiences with self-harm. She did so to share an encouraging message with her young followers and to be of support to those who can relate.

“Perhaps I had to experience this in order to be able to help someone else that is or will deal with this…I mean we hurt so that we can help others heal from that same pain, right?” she wrote. “I don’t need any sympathy, I don’t need any of you to try and guess why I did this to myself, I don’t need you to tell me things like “oh you shouldn’t do that to yourself, you’re too pretty for that” etc. because that will change nothing. All I need for you to do is simply speak and live in your truth like i always encourage you to do. I need you to see that if i can be brave enough to share this part of myself/my journey with the world, then you can too.” 

Harris has used her page to be a safe space for the Gen Z community to open up about their mental health. In her message, she told them to not be afraid to share their own stories if and when they find themselves wanting to for fear of ridicule.

“A lot of people don’t talk about the fact that there are multiple forms of self-harm, so for those of you that can’t relate to cutting but you can relate to other forms, I see you too and you’re not alone, TRUST me when I say that.. but let me tell you this, don’t you dare spend the rest of your life hiding who you are/what you’ve been through,” she said. “I don’t care if you think people will judge you, if you think people will think you’re not right in the head, if you think it’ll make people love or like you less, or if you think people will say you’re doing it for attention, you deserve to share your story… when or if YOU’RE ready. your story can + will save so many lives and you don’t even know it yet.”

Harris was able to share her own story because of the support of her parents, T.I., her mom Niko, and her bonus mom, Tameka “Tiny” Harris. In a separate post, she praised them for getting her into therapy and standing by her when they didn’t understand why she was cutting herself.

“I just want to quickly thank my parents for always being so patient with me… even when y’all didn’t really understand,” she said. “Anytime I might’ve returned back to square one, y’all were always working together to figure out what it is that y’all can do to make life worth living for me… and I genuinely appreciate everything you both have done for me.”

She added, “I hope you two never feel as though what I go through/feel has anything to do with you. As I always say, anytime my thoughts convince me that I shouldn’t be here, all I have to do is think of you @ms_niko_ or you @troubleman31 and i’ll always stay. I love you both … and also, I love you too @majorgirl. Thank you for being you. You three deserve all the happiness and peace money can buy + so much more. Thank you again for being so patient and I love you forever.”

Self-harm, a sign of emotional distress, can be connected to a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse or eating disorders. And while people of all ages self-harm, it’s much less common in adults, and most prevalent in teens and college students. The average age that people begin self-harm is 13.

Whatever the reason behind one’s decision to inflict injury to themselves, Harris has a message for you.

“I love you/you are loved, you are seen, you MATTER, and you deserve everything good in the world,” she says. “Don’t you ever forget or doubt that.”

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