I've received two comments on this blog post which I would like to share:
As with anorexia, what it comes down to is control. This time, I control the pain. Not others who have hurt me, not a depressing job or bad news. I get to dish it out on my terms. There can be an incredible amount of relief derived from this when one lacks other safety nets.
June 25, 2008 10:45 PM"
There is a really helpful group out there that revolves around helping cutters. To Write Love On Her Arms is the name of it. www.twloha.com They have a myspace and a facebook page.. and many people post on the message board there at all hours of the day to help support each other in the efforts to stop cutting.
Now.... Medusa... some might wonder why you have taken this particular topic up... but I understand why. Post kimkins triggered me into wanting to do this again. (I struggled with this when I was a teen). I appreciate you for taking the time to make people aware of it, and to all of those people out there who are struggling with it.. I know they appreciate the "education" about it too. So many people judge the cutting habit as just something to label people with and don't ever stop to realize that there is emotional scars deep inside that drive it.
It becomes an addiction in the same way that eating, drugs, drinking, anorexia... etc... does.
There is a chemical released in the brain that actually overrides the part of your brain that says "hey this might be dangerous". It is a problem that cannot be ignored and forgotten.
If you are currently cutting, or even thinking about cutting... please go to twloha.com and look for where to get help. You are NOT alone... and there is help out there.
June 27, 2008 10:52 AM"
Here is the link Deni mentions in her comment:
It is seldom talked about, but cutting has reached epidemic proportions and has become especially prevalent in people suffering from eating disorders, particularly anorexia and bulimia.
Cutting is a form of self injury (SI) or self harm (SH) where razor blades, utility knives, tacks, scissors, needles, shards of glass, pins, knives, etc. are used to cut one's skin, usually the arms, legs, abdomen, or inner thighs.
For cutters, cutting relieves stress and overwhelming feelings of longing, pain, rage, rejection, sorrow, and emptiness. Because of their inability to express what they are feeling on the inside, self injury becomes the physical manifestation of these overwhelming feelings. Cutting and other forms of self injury often go hand in hand with mental illness, a history of trauma and abuse, eating disorders, perfectionism, and low self-esteem.
For those who cut, cutting quickly becomes an addiction as it releases endorphins causing the cutter to experience feelings of euphoria and peacefulness. Endorphins are natural painkillers that kick in during stress and trauma and numb the pain from the cutting.
This endorphin rush results in the “cutting high," driving the cutter to once again experience that "high" which, in turn, triggers more cutting...and the addiction. However, as episodes of cutting increase, the numbing effects of the endorphin rushes lessen and the cutter begins to experience pain. It is with the onset of pain that many cutters come face to face with their cutting addiction.
The majority of those who cut do not have suicidal intentions and are not seeking attention. In fact, most feel very self-conscious and guilty, and make every attempt to keep their scars and wounds covered with clothing.
Both males and females cut, although current data indicates that four times more women cut than men.
An excerpt from a post last week by a young cutter:
"About a year ago... i started seeing a councelor. At first, i thought i would hate it, but she ended up being awesome... i could never manage to really tell her about my cutting. I mentioned that i had done it in the past, but to me, that was all it was.
At the end of my freshmen year, i started again, more and more often, and couldn't exactly control it. For me, its not something that i hate, i hate it when other people who dont understand question my means of doing it, its not like i want to do it forever, but at the time, it was the only thing keeping me going. It was what i was surviving off of. I was dealing with my parents split up in what some people would say a horrible and disturbing way, but to me, it was natural, and its what my body wanted.
The summer after freshmen year was when i started to get bad. I started hiding everything from people, keeping my cuts on my legs, and making sure that i'd wear basketball shorts or that i'd swim in a bikini top and board shorts. No one thought anything of it, it was cute, it was my style. i kept it that way until i had to start volleyball at the beginning of the year. Wearing spandex makes it hard to hide scars, much less cuts, so i stopped all together... for a while. I managed to go for quite a while without turning back to, what at that time had escalated to a razor.
Finally, things started seeming impossible, and i had no way to deal with it. I hadn't seen my councelor for a few months, and even though i'd tried to get ahold of her, she would rarely return my calls, being insanely busy as she was.
Thats when i started on my shoulders, i found out that i could still wear t-shirts and volleyball jersey's, and no one would have any clue. Plus, i could fit at least a hundred cuts there, no matter how disturbing that seems. I managed to fully cover every spot i could reach, and it didn't seem like enough. I started moving down my arm slowly, and by the last game of the season, i was just at the point that my jersey covered all of them... barely. Finally, the end of the season came, and i had no reason not to do it, so i got worse. I ended up with more on my shoulders, going over the other ones when they had healed enough not to catch on the blade.
I remember one night, i had a breakdown, i dont even remember what it was over. I locked myself in my bathroom, and i remember sitting there in the warm water, with nothing but candle light, for over 3 hours. I attacked myself. I think i ended up with over 200 new cuts that one night. it was the worst i had ever gotten, and it scared me. I couldn't move, and i started to get cold, even though i was in hot water. My arms started feeling numb, and it was then that i decided that i could never let it escalate that bad ever again. This was only a few months ago, and since then, i've managed to almost fully stop myself except for the occasional here and there.
The only ones i've had in the past few months are a star that i carved into my ankle, now nothing but a red scar, though it'll probably last forever, and a few little ones on my arms, nothing big. The most recent was a few nights ago, i had a horrible day, and ended up with 15 on my stomach, but then realized that i needed to stop. they're not big, or deep, and should heal soon, but i still dont need them there.
I hope that i'm stopping, but i dont really think i have that much say in what happens, i think whatever path my life takes me on will determine whether or not i need to cut."
The Secret Cut:
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