I have been, for the last several weeks, blogging about cutting. It is not easy, or pretty. But neither is cancer, and we deal with it everyday. Cutting is a nasty, horrific addiction. There is nothing quite like it, short of suicide. Though most cutters would claim they don’t want to kill themselves, they just like the sight of their blood, and the high it brings. Andi said she’s been cutting for a year and a half, even though she doesn’t remember why she started.
Hours locked in the bathroom at home, or on the floor of a dirty bathroom stall, the cutter carries her precious tools with her wherever she goes ready at any time to take matters into her own hands. To relieve the emotional pressure and pain she can’t describe, she resorts to slicing into her own skin. The dripping blood reminds her she’s still alive. No one to talk to, she settles for self-injury. The blade is her fake friend. The shame and the scars, her constant companions. Just trying to find her way through the rocky road of life, she can’t help but turn inward.
I don’t want to be anything but compassionate toward someone caught in the struggle of cutting. But there is a time when it’s necessary to call it what it is and expose the destructive consequences of cutting.
1) Paralyzing, Emotional Pain
No one cuts to end up paralyzed in her own emotional pain. But somewhere down the road, that’s where she finds herself. Someone wrote and told me that after the high of cutting wears off, you are left with even more pain. I quit the cutting because someone once told me the truth, that you only forget about your emotional pain for a moment. It’s like a drug you come down from it and you feel much worse than you did before because you have to deal with the emotional pain that comes from cutting on top of whatever emotional pain you were already feeling.
Dara said she cut for two years, but still carries the weight of the emotional pain with her. The couple minutes of relief are not worth the months of hiding and uncomfortable situations when people find out.
People who begin cutting are convinced their self-medication works. It is a shattering experience to find out later on, not only does it not work, but it is extremely emotionally destructive.
2) A Body Full of Ugly Scars
One has to wonder how many countless hours and schemes cutters use to hide their physical scars…permanent reminders of their tragic mistakes. Eddie started cutting when he was twelve. I thought it was for me to take all my anger and frustrations out on myself, but I noticed the scars it leaves will always remind me of my mistakes.
Sidney is 14 and has been cutting since she was nine. Those scars are there forever and every time I see them I’m going to be so sad about why I [cut].
Not only are you left with scars for the rest of your life, it’s also very possible to get infections from cutting with something that is dirty or not sterile. It is also extremely possible to misjudge the depth of a cut, actually requiring stitches or even hospitalization. You can pass out or even bleed to death. You don’t want to die, I’m sure of that. Let’s face it, cutting is an ugly scar-giving enemy, who will constantly remind you of a dark past no one would want to repeat, or remember.
3) A Sick Web of Addiction
Most cutters never intend to become addicted to it. Liz said, for her, cutting was worse than drugs because she wanted to do it all the time. You don’t care where you are…it’s almost like you can’t go on without it.
Cutting can easily become a compulsive behavior, meaning the more you do it, the more you feel the need to do it. Your brain starts to connect the false sense of relief with cutting. The next time you feel the pressure building, your brain craves this relief. The urge to cut can seem too hard to resist. Your attempt to feel a sense of control over your life has ended up controlling you.
JS commented about how all through high school she would try to stop, but then would go back to it shortly after. Then I would feel horrible when I finished cutting. The highs weren’t lasting as long and the crash was even worse. So I began cutting more, deeper, and more frequently. Being very interested in psychology I knew the chemical reasons, but I was already hooked and couldn’t stop.
You know I care about you very much…enough to tell you the truth. But let’s get down to it. If you are a cutter, it’s time for you step back and take a good look at what you’re doing to yourself. It’s time to tell yourself the truth. It’s also time to figure out how to resist your urge to cut.
Are you addicted to cutting?
- Does the cutting actually help you deal with the emotional pain you’re going through, or does it just cover it up?
- Do you feel more worthless and stupid the more scars you see on your body?
- Are your friends worried about your cutting?
- Do you spend large amounts of time trying to hide your cutting?
- Have you told yourself you want to quit, but can’t?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you or someone you know, needs to read, How to Quit Cutting for Good. It could be a life-changer.