'No one around me [really] knew I was struggling when I was.'

By Maggie O'Neill
August 27, 2020

Madison Beer is celebrating a huge mental health milestone: On Instagram Wednesday, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter revealed that she's "one year clean of self-harm."

The pop star shared a series of Instagram Stories to highlight her accomplishment. The first was a screenshot of a calendar app from August 26, with a memo that reads "one year" with a heart. Her caption, which includes a "trigger warning," reads: "As of today…I am officially one year clean of self harm. I never thought I’d be able to say this & I am so proud of myself…it has been an uphill battle, so whether you might [be] one day, one week, one month, or one year clean I’m so proud of you.”

In the following posts, Beer also posted a photo of flowers gifted to her by a friend in celebration of her achievement, as well as a post that personally spoke to her fans regarding her mental health struggles. "I’d also like to add… no one around me [really] knew i was struggling when I was," she wrote. "I hid not only my self harm, but my pain from the world.”

She went on to encourage people currently struggling with self-harm or those who know someone who is currently struggling, too: "Please please do not ignore the signs if you think someone you know might be struggling," she wrote. "Reach out to your friends. [You] truly never know what goes on behind closed doors."

Beer recently opened up to New Musical Express, a music site, that her new album Life Support, was influenced by her mental health struggles. Beer, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2019, told NME, "I was going through a really tough time when we were making this album. I had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I was in and out of dark mental states and in therapy three times a week." 

While Beer didn't go into specifics about her self-harming in the NME interview, she noted that her new album makes her "abundantly proud," referencing her one-year anniversary. "I just feel super proud of where I’m at and where I’ve landed," she said. "And I try to take each day with a grain of salt and focus on the good that might come, and not dwell on the bad."

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, occurs “when a person hurts his or her own body on purpose,” according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus resource. “The injuries may be minor, but sometimes they can be severe. They may leave permanent scars or cause serious health problems,” per MedlinePlus, which includes the following as examples of self-harm: cutting yourself with a knife or razor blade; punching yourself or things (such as a wall); pulling out your hair; burning yourself with matches, candles, or cigarettes; breaking your bones; bruising yourself; and “poking objects through body openings.”

According to MedlinePlus, self-harm is not classified as a mental illness. Instead, it an unhealthy coping mechanism. That said, some people who struggle with self-harm also have a mental disorder, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. MedlinePlus reports. Usually, people who practice self-harm behaviors aren’t trying to take their own life, MedlinePlus says. Instead, they might be trying to inflict punishment on their self, block upsetting memories, communicate their need for help, accomplish a sense of being in control, release strong feelings, or “make themselves feel something when they feel empty or numb inside.”

Beer left her followers with a note of encouragement for those struggling with issues similar to hers. "If you are struggling at all, please please know it does get better," she wrote. "You are so valid and worthy of love and I believe in you."

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