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Not Just Cutting

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“Cutting” is a very stereotyped, very misunderstood practice generally performed by confused or depressed teenagers. Usually it is used as an escape, punishment, or a release. It does not always indicate suicidal thoughts. In fact, I believe rarely.
Most people I know think of people who do that as “emo” kids wearing black and writing poems while taking a razor blade to their wrists. And it’s always the razor blade. Or a knife. But cutting is only one form of the practice known as self-mutilation, or self-injury. Self-mutilation is the deliberate injury or disfigurement of oneself. ONE example of which being cutting. Cutting is not the most common form of self-mutilation, just the most publicized. The most common forms are bruising, burning, hair pulling, banging one’s head against a wall until unconcious, and many other things, AS WELL as cutting. Even if the knives and lighters are taken away, if addicted, the self-mutilater WILL find a way.
Many people don’t consider those other one’s “as bad”. Why? Personally, I don’t know why. It is just as serious as the more publicized razor against the wrist. And just as much an indication of a serious problem. I have been a self-mutilator for three years, and I have recieved many self-righteous “that’s stupid, just stop it” speeches, disdainful looks, even outright mocking. “Hey emo-girl, why aren’t you crying a corner, writing a poem?” Just fyi, it’s not a good idea to mock the kid that’s already depressed and/or confused. But once I stopped cutting, even though I had scars, there were no new ones, so it all stopped.
Just because I stopped cutting, though, does not me I had quit hurting myself. I have friends who have gotten sick of confrontational parents and mocking peers, and simply switched to another method.
My point is not to tell self-injurers how to hide it (you will get found out. there’s always that one person who sees and actually tries to help), this is for those who DON’T self-mutilate. I have actually had a friend, who thought I stopped hurting myself. When I showed him my bruises and told him I walked barefoot just to find rocks and broken glass to walk on to walk on, he said that was “ok”. He wasn’t at all concerned, because, quote “That doesn’t leave scars. So it doesn’t count”. Endquote. I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. He didn’t understand. The method was different, but not the reasons. Not the feelings inside of me.
I just read an article on this site about cutters. Only cutters. That is a very narrow view of self-mutilation. I want people to understand that intentionally hurting oneself IS bad, does signify a problem, and with or without the scars and blood, it does need to stop. Usually, though the self-injury is used as a temporary fix-it, and the person doesn’t know how to admit he or she needs help.
People need to know that it is easy to start, but damn near impossible to start without help. And that the hyped-up, stereotyped view of the only type of self-mutilation being box cutters and knives is wrong. And could cost someone you know a lot of pain, or if it goes ignored long enough, his or her life.

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  1. Nice article’ Lene. This gives us older members some insight on the current self harm craze.

  2. I wasn’t aware of this practice going on and I hope that your article will help people who have this problem. It is definately a cry for help and I pray that anyone who knows someone doing these things to themselves will see that they get the help they need.

  3. Very interesting. Very informative.

    This is a practice that has never made any sense to me. But the feelings and motivations behind it are universal.

    I know I used my own methods to deal with my inner pain. I could just as well have done self-mutilation.

    George, this is not some new craze. I don’t know your age, but I’m 39 and I remember seeing this kind of behavior as a teen.

    I guess the point of it all is that everyone has their inner pain. The people who don’t feel they have a healthy support system in their parents, peers, etc. will deal with that pain in many different ways.

    As Lene pointed out, “… it’s not a good idea to mock the kid that’s already depressed and/or confused.” This is so true. Unfortunately, kids are the cruelest creatures on the face of the earth. So, the depressed and confused really need to search for someone they can trust and confide in. That is not always easy. But getting help is imperative and one needs to keep looking until they find what they need.

  4. Yes, it is indicitive of a self hate or self-loathing based usually upon not being able to have a spititual, creative and positive energies to draw upon to get help. I used to drink and drug myself into stupors because I couldn’t release my inner turmoil, whether it be from bad childhood experiences or just no other emotional outlet to understand. I’ve found through my vast experience in life to have some type of positive role modeling or just a genuine friendly ear that won’t blow smoke up your ass to embrace this type of behavior. If you ever need a friend who will listen and not judge, I’m always here. I won’t play armchair psychiatrist, but I may be able to relate and just be a warm and friendly ear. Take care!

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