Don't Hurt Yourself - Help Yourself

By Abbie, age 13, Louisiana

Self-injury is behavior in which people deliberately harm their own bodies in some way to cope with overwhelming emotions. It may be hard to believe to some people, but there are in fact people who suffer from this problem. To some kids it's a joke. They pretend to be 'emo' and pantomime slitting their wrists while laughing along. But this issue is no joke. It is for real and affects many teenagers out there. I wrote this article to help you learn the symptoms of a self-injurer, or if you are someone who suffers from this, to help you to find other outlets to vent your emotions.

Cutting is not the only way people can injure themselves. They can scratch themselves, burn themselves, abuse drugs, starve themselves, break their own bones, pierce themselves, beat their head against walls, pull out their hair, pull off scabs to make previous wounds bleed, or bite or pinch themselves. So be aware that for someone to be hurting themselves, they don't need to have scars on their wrists or arms.

Some symptoms you may recognize are scars or burn marks. They can be anywhere on the body, and usually in more than one spot. The person can also have cuts on their skin that look deep. Usually they will be in denial and say it was an accident and that they are clumsy. If they have bruises on their skin or have painfully broken bones many times a year, this can also be a sign of abuse, so be careful.

They might also carry around sharp things, such as scissors, tacks, staples, and safety pins. If they wear long sleeves and long pants, even in the summer, this might also be a sign. If they wear long clothing they will most likely flinch or make some kind of reaction if you touch their arms. Like I said before, if they claim to have had many accidents or mishaps, but never seem to have trouble getting around school without tripping or hurting themselves, it's most likely a cover-up. If you recognize someone with many of these symptoms, try and talk to the person. It may be all they need. But if the problem persists, and the person still appears to be harming him/herself, talk to a trusted adult such as a teacher, principal, school counselor, parent, etc.

If you are the one who is harming yourself, whenever you feel the urge to cut, burn, or whatever you do, find something else to do. Avert your thoughts to something happy or anything else. There are many ways you can help yourself. You just need to take the first step. It's always the scariest, but it will pay off in the end. If you feel like you need to hurt yourself, lay down and blare music, read, talk to your friends, or even watch TV. If the urge overpowers you find some way to release your emotions. Scream in an abandoned place or into a pillow, snap a rubber band repeatedly, or run laps around your neighborhood. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you are helping yourself and not cutting.

My best friend was a cutter, and she was scared to tell me because she thought I would think of her as a freak. I didn't, and I helped her. Now she's doing great! So always try to look on the bright side. You can pull through!

Remember to always love yourself and others!

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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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