“I made 106 cuts yesterday. Some were deep, some little ones. I know I need to stop doing this to myself, but I don’t know how.” – 16-year-old
Self-Injury, or “cutting” refers to any sort of self-harm which involves inflicting injuries or pain on one’s own body. Once seen and treated as a suicide attempt, trained mental health professionals now define the act of cutting as an unhealthy coping mechanism designed to immediately alleviate tension, anxiety, stress and depression. In other words, when reality feels overwhelming, some turn to cutting themselves, several times a day, with sharp objects in order to relieve their inner pain.
Warning signs of someone who is self injuring include:
Increased layering of jewelry, clothing, or drawings over particular surfaces of the body
What are the dangers of self-injury?
How can someone get help if they are cutting?
If you are the person who is cutting, find out what triggers make you want to cut, then find new ways to deal with them. Talking with a therapist or counselor about new ways to cope can help. It can be hard to stop but many teens have gotten help and never cut again. Next time you feel the urge to hurt yourself, try one of the methods below:
Regardless of someone’s background, the common link in all self-injurers is the need for consistent, relationship-oriented support, nurturance, and guidance. In addition to the constant struggle with the desire to cut one’s own body, eating disorders, hair pulling, piercing, skin picking, and skin burning are other conditions that may co-exist with cutting.
Helping a Friend
If you or someone you know is inflicting pain upon their body, the following resources and services are available to help.