Last week I answered a question on education.com as a JustAsk expert that really hurt my heart. The question was posted by a teenager who has been cutting themselves as a way to cope with their bad memories. I’ve shortened the question a little (you can read the whole question here), but have included enough of it for you to get the gist of the seriousness of the issue.
I wanted to include it here also in case any of you needed more information on how to get help for cutting, for yourself or someone you know. Unfortunately cutting is on the rise with 1 in every 200 teen girl having cut themselves. But cutters aren’t only teens, sometimes younger children or adults cut to relieve their emotional pain. If you or someone you know has problems with cutting, follow up with the resources below or reach out to a psychologist in your area for help.
The Question: I need somebody to talk to. My brain is reeling and the only way I can cope with the thoughts of those bad memories, all of them, that’s all I think about, is by letting them out of my arm. That is the reason for the cuts, for the scars, for everything. All the pain has caused me to cut myself over and over, leaving the oh so infamous scars. I’m afraid. My cutting is getting worse. If I told them my teachers and my “friends” would try to help, but I know there is no going back after that. They would bring me to more counseling. I couldn’t take anymore, they would see the scars. I’m on the verge of suicide, and I have no one to talk to. Please help me.
My Answer: Let me start by saying that you have taken the first and hardest step in getting better, asking for help. You are so brave to have reached out to the online community. And you have so much insight already about your feelings. There are so many people that care about you, both people you know and people you don’t even know like me! And you’re right, talking with someone about what’s going on in your life is the perfect place to start.
Even though it may seem hard, it’s so important that you talk to a trusted adult in your life about your cutting. Some examples include your parents, a teacher, the school counselor or nurse, a doctor, or a grown up that you feel comfortable sharing with. Let them know that you have been cutting and want to get help. If the first person that you tell doesn’t take you seriously or doesn’t help, then try talking to someone else. Just don’t give up!
Once you tell an adult, they should help you get to a psychologist or a counselor. Even though you said you had tried that before, it’s worth it to try again. Maybe you didn’t get along with your first counselor or the two of you just weren’t a good fit. If that’s the case, you can find a different therapist so that you can start fresh and get the help you need to feel better now. There is help for you to feel better and to learn to resist cutting. A trained therapist can teach you the skills you need and be available for you so that you can talk about your feelings.
In addition to telling an adult and seeing a therapist, there are also telephone hotlines available that you can call 24 hours a day to talk to someone about what you’re feeling. If you’re thinking of hurting yourself, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are being abused or are in danger from being hurt by someone else you can call Child Help 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Even kids or teenagers can call these numbers! No matter what though, if you are ever in danger of being hurt (either by yourself or someone else), you need to get help. If it is an emergency, call 911.
I am attaching some links for more information about how to help your cutting and about the hotlines you can call. Keep up the good work of reaching out to education.com and now reach out to an adult in your life who can get you the help you need to get better. You are so very worth it! Thank you so much for writing to education.com and for sharing your feelings with us. I for one am cheering you on (along with the whole education.com community)!