Campbell Middle School
21 March 2006
People who cut themselves
Have you ever been so mad you would hurt yourself? Unfortunately, there are people out there who do that. The people who cut themselves don’t intend to do serious harm. This dangerous activity has become popular in the past years with young people, but those teens may not realize the consequences, or true danger.
“Self-injury is not new.” (Cutting. Self-Harmony) People within the ages of 13-30 (Cutters. 1) are the ones you see who cut themselves. 1.9 million Americans do these things, and do them repeatedly, some for years at a time, according to one conservative estimate. Another source says 750 of every 100,000 people in the U.S. self-injure. (Cutters. 1)
These people are not crazy. These people are not suicidal, although a third of them expect to be dead within five years. They suffer from what is called by some "Deliberate Self Harm Syndrome," by others "complex post-traumatic stress disorder" (PTSD), "Repetitive Self-Harm Syndrome" or "multiple personality/dissociate identity disorders" (MPD/DID). Many of these people simply call themselves "cutters," and some simply call what they do SI, or self-injury, and use SI as a verb, as in "I SI once a month". Cutting is by far the most common, in part because it is easy to conceal. (Cutting. Self-Harmony) People who cut often attempt to hide their scars by wearing long-sleeved shirts and baggy pants - even in the summer. And if someone does see their cut-marks, they usually invent excuses.
Cutting also known, as slicing or slashing is the most common way people hurt themselves. It is typically done with a knife, razor blade, piece of glass, or any other sharp object. Most of the cuts are done on the arms, legs, wrists, and chest; but other people cut on other parts of the body such as the stomach, face, neck, breasts, and genitals. But cutting on the arms and wrist is the most common because excuses can be made more easily (for example people can say that they had an accident while cooking).
One reason why people have been cutting themselves is to relieve intense emotions or anger. Some people would say cutting reminds them they are real to the world. They might feel lonely and need some one to talk to. Yet, they don’t attempt to go to anyone about their problems, so they just take it out on themselves because it would make them feel better. They try to forget their problems for that time they would cut themselves. “Things would just build up over the week, and finally I couldn’t take it any more and instead of crying, I would cut myself.” (Gazette, 1)
Sometimes people cut themselves because they feel “numb” and want to cut in order to experience some kind of feeling. An example of this can be when someone is feeling apathetic. They feel as though nothing matters, and they don't care about anything. Sometimes cutting is a way to bring them back to reality. Other times it is because they have too many emotions, but they don't know how to cope with them. For example, someone who was taught at a young age not to cry because it shows weakness. If something makes this person depressed to the point where they want to cry, instead of crying they might cut themselves.
Another reason people have been cutting themselves is to get rid of emotional pain. For people who cut themselves, their emotional pain is much more intense than for other people who don’t cut themselves. It is an intensity of pain that many of us have never felt. Some people would say they don’t fit in or that no one understands them. “One of their sources of this emotion’s pain, then, is simply feeling trapped; not having options.” (Cutting. Self-Injury)
The last reason why people cut themselves is because they heard about it from a friend or just want to watch the blood. “Copy cat, being like their friend, seeing what the new fad is about.” (Turner,) Some people have heard about this from some person or another and assume that cutting themselves will bring them attention. It does bring you attention, but it just makes you feel bad about what you have done. People who cut would sometimes want to escape from the world or get away from all the people. Cutting is not a cope, it’s a bad habit. It also makes marks on your body that you can’t get rid of.
One way you can get help is telling someone about your problem. This would be one of the biggest steps you would take. It would be hard to talk to someone about what you do, but it would be for the best. Yet, if you don’t feel like telling someone in person, you can always write a note, so that at least you get it out to someone. But they also say that after they open up about it, they often feel a great sense of relief. (Cutting. Teenshealth)
People who are depressed shouldn't wait and hope it will go away on its own because depression can be effectively treated. Friends or others need to step in if someone seems severely depressed and isn't getting help. Many teens find that opening up to parents or to other adults they trust can help. Simply saying, I've been feeling really down lately, and I think I'm depressed, can be a good way to open the discussion. Ask your parent to arrange an appointment with a counselor.
People who are extremely depressed and who may be thinking about hurting themselves or about suicide need help as soon as possible. When depression is this severe, it is a very real medical emergency, and an adult must be notified. “Most communities have suicide hotlines where people can get guidance and support in an emergency. [Cutters. 5]
Although it's important to be supportive, trying to cheer up a friend or reasoning with him or her probably won't work to help depression or suicidal feelings go away. “Depression can be so strong that it outweighs a person's ability to respond to reason. Even if your friend has asked you to promise not to tell, this is a situation where telling can save a life. The most important thing a depressed person can do is to get the right treatment”. [Cutters. 4]
There are positive things being done about people who cut themselves. Such as, therapy, group meetings, counseling, and school meetings. There isn’t enough helping being done with these people who do what they do. People who cut themselves need more attention then most people. Cuttings seems to be an increase through out the teenage population because of emotional pain or because of feelings these people happen to have. Teens still may not realize how many people cut themselves. There have been more and more people who cut themselves, who hear it from a friend or a family member or just want to do it for fun. They could hurt themselves really seriously. This dangerous activity has become popular in the past years with young people, but those teens may not realize the consequences, or true danger.
Cutting - Self-Injury From the teen's perspective. EQI.ORG 19 February 2006 <http://eqi.org/cutting1.htm#Background>
Cutting. SelfHarmony.co.uk 19 February 2006
Cutting. Teenshealth. KidsHealth.com 15 February, 2006 <http://www.Kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/cutting.html>
Newsome, Brian. Cutting to cope. 22 January, 2006: The Gazette. 24 January, 2006
Razor. Cutters. 21 February 2006. <http://www.vinland.org/scamp/institute/dsh.html>
Turner, Victor. Personal interview. 10 January 2006.