My Cutting Story
By Gia, age 17, Florida
I've had a cutting problem since the beginning of my 7th grade school year. I saw it on Degrassi: The Next Generation, but never thought of it as something I would do. One night, however, I did. I used all the typical excuses when people saw my cuts - "My sister and I were fighting" or "My aunt got a new cat." People believed me.
I really thought it would go away because for a few months I would be absolutely fine. Then something would happen and it would come back. I tortured myself with it every day. I had one former friend who was so worried about me living with sharp objects. Now mind you, I wasn't telling my parents what was going on. I was way too scared because I barely knew what was going on with myself, let alone having the words to explain it to them!
I started off being fine during my 8th grade year until my boyfriend broke up with me. Then it just got so horrible. I remember starting to hear voices in my head telling me what a bad person I was and how the world would be better off without me. I had a group of friends who also had this problem and we talked about it almost every day. I started writing in a journal, thinking it would help. When I got a very steady boyfriend during my freshman year of high school, I almost overdosed twice on pills because I was being checked daily by my boyfriend and two best friends for cuts. I can't think of how many times they saved me. I started smoking both cigarettes and marijuana because it was just another good "high". I became a person my boyfriend, friends, and even I didn't know.
I started therapy after telling my parents. I worked through my problems and found safer ways to express how I felt. I signed a safety contract, which said I wouldn't hurt myself, but rather call a friend or an emergency hotline.
My lowest point was when I went off to camp. I was to be away from my home, friends, iPod, computer, cell phone and everything I knew for 4 weeks! I wanted to let go of my problem because my therapists thought I grew up so much. Two of the girls in my cabin became my saving graces. One was struggling with the same problem and has since started recovery. The other has become a great friend. She never gave up on me and is still there for me to this day. Long story short, I ended up at the psychiatric ward of the nearby hospital. This was my lowest point. I came home and isolated myself so I could gather my thoughts. Now, almost 3 years later, I'm cut-free.
Now, I don't know everyone's individual story. For me, I relied on some of my closest friends, my aunt and cousin, a journal, and a ton of music. I also used rubber bands instead of cutting. You don't get that "high" like with cutting, but it's better than actually taking a blade to your skin. I also found a switchboard hotline to call. They have therapists who are trained to help you and keep you safe. Also helpful for me was my safety contract. You can write something like:
"I, (Your Name), promise not to physically hurt myself. Rather I will call (put names and phone numbers of close friends and maybe your switchboard hotline)."
I can't think how many times I've wanted to cut myself, but when I'd see my safety contract I'd think twice. If you don't have many close friends, find a therapist. They are amazing listeners! The whole reason I got into writing was because they knew it would help me. I journal every feeling, good or bad. Make playlists of upbeat songs. I used my spirituality and religion to get me through it also. Teenagers are notorious for not believing in anything. God, angels (or whoever they are) is listening!
It's a battle to get over this "disease". I have good days and then I have terrible days. Don't rush your recovery. My inspiration to stay cut-free is one of those girls from camp who is in recovery. Every time I talk to her she tells me how much she loves me, and I realize that not only am I doing this for myself, but also for her.
www.twloha.com (To Write Love on Her Arms) is a nonprofit movement that wants to find help for people with depression, self-injury, and suicide. I wear one of their shirts to show my support.
My parents were scared, but only wanted the best for me. They got me help ASAP. I thank them always for their help.
Don't be scared; rather, ask for help. People are out there to make things better. I realized this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We all believe in one another, whether we actually know each other or not.
Editor's Note: One of several hotlines for cutters is 1-800-DONTCUT (366-8288). You can find additional help for this and other teen issues on Google.