About Cutting ... An Ex-Cutter Speaks Out

By Megan, age 15, New Jersey

Cutting ... is it a fad ... or should it be looked at as one of the worst and most popular addictions for young teens today? I should know. I have cut since 6th grade. I am now (proudly) an ex-cutter. I know firsthand the ups and downs of cutting. If you cut or are thinking about cutting, hopefully reading this article will change your mind.

To start off, let me explain the painful dangers and negative affects of cutting:

- If you cut too deeply, you could hit a main artery and really have no control over the blood pouring out. If this happens to you seek immediate help. Call a hospital.

- Cutting can lead to other problems - eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.

- You can get an infection from using a rusty, old, or dirty sharp instrument which you used to harm yourself. Even if it appears clean, it is usually not clean.

- Cutting leaves scars. These are not fun to explain to other people, like if you forget that you cut your legs and wear a skirt the next day.

- There is pain afterwards. If you cut yourself where your clothes will rub up against it, especially with jeans, you won't be able to walk without feeling pain. After a while the pain will get very annoying and unbearable.

- Last but not least, you could die from cutting. This one should be the most obvious, but people often don't think about it.

Some people think of cutting as a "disgusting" or "horrible" habit, but cutters often feel the opposite. It is an outlet for them to vent off the stresses of everyday life. No one's life is perfect, and even the girl with straight A's and every boy's attention could be a cutter. Anyone can be. It could be your best friend, a religious person, a bully, a shy person, your neighbor ... anyone! What I'm saying is not to just automatically think a person is not a cutter or has no self-esteem issues just because you think their life is perfect. Sometimes a person's life that seems perfect may be the worst.

Some reasons people may cut:

- They want attention
- They feel uncared for or alone
- They may have just gone through a really bad breakup and can't handle it
- A recent death in the family or loss of a friend
- Their friends may do it (a.k.a. "peer pressure")
- Stress from school, work, family, or just about anything
- They feel their lowest and think negatively of themselves

If you have a friend you think is cutting, look out for these warning signs:

- They keep sharp objects on hand
- They spend a great deal of time alone
- They wear long sleeves or long pants even in hot weather
- They claim to have frequent accidents or mishaps
- They often talk negatively about themselves
- They say they hate their life, or life sucks, even if they say it in a joking way
- You see scars or many cuts that do not look like they are from an animal, a fence, or a fall
- You see scratches or cuts almost weekly, maybe even daily, around the same area
- They seemed depressed
- They cry a lot
- They joke about cutting
- They snap at you if you ask why they have a cut here or there

Cutting could be a one-time thing for some, but for many, once you start, you can't easily stop. I like to think of cutting just like smoking. If you are truly addicted to it, and you try to stop, you will get very cranky and become almost impossible to handle. If this is true for you, getting over it takes time and a lot of effort. You can do it by yourself. Better, you can get help, which is what I did. I went for professional help, but the best kind of help that I got was from ex-cutters who have gotten over it. They know what you are going through because they have gone through it already. They can tell you how to handle the urge to cut.

If you ever think about or attempt suicide seek professional help immediately. As surprising as it may seem, most cutters don't want to commit suicide. Cutting is just a cry for attention or a means to relieve stress. If you do cut, try to seek other outlets instead of cutting.

For example:
- Listen to music
- Sing
- Dance
- Work out
- Play an instrument
- Cook
- Talk to your friends (the ones you trust)
- Watch TV or one of your favorite movies
- Take up a new hobby or one you already enjoy

If you are curious about how to stop cutting or you're seeking help, try to talk to someone you know personally first rather than someone you talk to online or on a web site. That person cares about you and may be able to help you in more ways than a person online can.

Online resources can be helpful, however. Here are some links I suggest if you want to look further into it:

[Good links, Megan, and may I add these from my work on "Kerrie's Story" - Steph]

Note: Photos used in this article were posed for dramatic purposes by Stephanie Lynn for a feature I worked on called "Kerrie's Story".

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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