Dear World,

I realized something wasn’t right around 1999 when I started university.


And for 10 years, I bounced around doctors, medications, therapies. I was numb, days came and went but nothing made me see a future, I only saw darkness and despair.

First, a little background.

I am Sikh. I grew up in a traditional family with religious parents, which brought its challenges but is also the reason for my survival and strength. I was born in Dubai, grew up in London and moved to Toronto at 13. While I don’t remember much about those early years, there are some vivid memories. I’m fond of those memories, and the innocence of those times.


In the dark days, the only relief was to cut myself. I started with the sharp point of a compass. By the time I was seasoned, razor blades were my choice.  The pain and despair? It never left my side. They were my companions.

After the first cut, the darkness melted away.

Cutting was like a drug and the high like all highs, temporary.

I fought myself, “I’m not gonna cut myself today.”

I always lost.


Things changed when I started to surround myself with people and routines that supported me. It’s been seven hard years of working on myself and not giving up. I’ve tapped into a rigor I never knew I had, but now rely on. Meditation. Mindfulness. Yoga. People who support me.


I had to do it for myself.

Finally? I let go of the fear that people would reject me.

I started with myself. I used to think I was a freak, damaged and unlovable. Not anymore. Have I completely forgiven myself? No, but every day I believe in my routine. I wear my scars, proudly.


My son, he’s eight now, and I will never forget this one time when he was about five. He looked at my scars, traced them with his tiny fingers and said, did someone hurt you?

Stunned, I said, “Mama, went through a hard time, and I’ll tell you about it when you are older.” When he looks at me, he sees just me.

The conversation I’m going to have with him will be hard. I’m scared to have it. To tell him that I’m ok, but I wasn’t for a long time.

That I’m going to be here for him.

No matter what.


I am not ashamed of them. I’m not afraid of them.



Meetu Sandhu is a Senior Manager & HR Business Partner at KPMG International


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