Why, hello there, beautiful reader!
My name is Whitney, and I’ll be your blogger today … and any day someone chooses to come and venture upon my blog posts (and this is my very first, ever, by the way)! Before we get right down to business, I just want to thank you for taking the time to read up on the issues we discuss here. I hope to be both informative and as real as possible with you. Now, everyone is different, but in my posts I hope to cover the facts first, and THEN elaborate on my thoughts and suggestions on prevention and things of that nature.
Alrighty! So here is the system that I may or may not keep up. We will be covering six different W’s. We already tackled one in the opening, and that is Whitney! You know … Me! The rest are as follows, Who, What, Where, When, and Why. In this installment, we will also discuss How. It doesn’t start with a W, but it ends with one, so it counts, right?
Now that you get the basic idea of what I want to accomplish in this post, I want to be more specific and delve right into our topic- self harm (more specifically, cutting).
1. Who does it?
Cutting is the most popular form of self injury. This is a more common practice among teen girls, but guys do it as well, and they usually start out young. Without tackling the problem, this can continue into their adult years. The estimation is that 1 out of 200 girls between the ages 13-19 cut themselves on a regular basis. Cutters make up about 70% of teen girls who participate in self harm. Due to the secrecy involved, we don’t know all the facts about just how many of us are doing this. But it’s spreading, and it’s a problem.
2. What is cutting?
Cutting is exactly what it sounds like. It’s scratching or cutting your body with something sharp and doing it hard enough to break your skin, resulting in bleeding.
3. Where is this done?
The big thing with cutting is how very secret it all is. It’s not performed in the open, and it isn’t done in places that cannot be covered. The cuts are usually placed on the wrists, legs, or stomach area so the scars that will be left over time will be hidden. The easiest way to hide the marks is by wearing lots of layers and/or long sleeves to keep them out of sight.
4. When do teens cut?
This answer also goes along with the last W we will cover, being “Why?” Cutting comes into times where you are feeling pressured and you are in pain. Emotional trauma and difficult situations in life will sometimes cause you to feel there is no hope. Things can become desperate, and so can you. No one is infallible to such things, and you can come to a point where you just don’t know any other way to get relief.
5. Why do such a harmful thing to yourself?
This provides distraction from your pain and your problems. But I have to say, this is creating yet another problem. Self harm also becomes an addiction, because, like drugs, it provides a temporary relief from reality. Don’t punish yourself for what others are doing, like if you’re being bullied, or you have a rough home life, or whatever the case may be. You CAN rise above this. Cutting may make you feel like you’re in control, but things can go severely wrong. You could cut yourself too deep, you could get serious infections, all kinds of things. There are other ways to deal with things that are unbearable.
And lastly …
6. How can you overcome this?
Get help! Teens of America provides this kind of assistance.
Talk to your parents or another authority figure that will help you through your problems.
Distract yourself in OTHER ways by keeping busy, especially with things you enjoy, like possibly music… Play an instrument, listen to music, or draw, or read, or watch TV, whatever! Just DON’T put yourself into danger!
I am sure you have been tempted to think at some point or another that no one cares. Well, that’s not true. There are a lot of people reaching out to teens like you that only want to help. Don’t believe me? Why do you think I’m here typing like a mad woman? And I’m only one part of a whole organization dedicated to you, and we want nothing more than to see you through your problems and get you the help you need.
You need to find a good way to express your feelings. I, personally, take to writing. (Surprise, surprise, right?) Writing songs, writing poems, or just writing my thoughts down in some form. I even write stories. It’s a good way for me to get things out in a more private way, and seeing things written out, also helps me to not only process them, but make more sense of them. You can find other ways to do this! Find a way that suits you to properly sort out your feelings withOUT hurting yourself. Self Harm just masks the pain … It doesn’t solve anything.
If you struggle with self injury, know this:
There are people that care, like me, and that your life is a wonderful gift. There is NO other you, and there never will be. Don’t rob others of the blessing that is you by putting yourself in harm’s way. You deserve to be happy and healthy. You are not alone.
If you have a friend who struggles with self harm, share this message with them! Don’t get upset with them, or turn them away, or lecture them, or even beg them to stop. Just be there for them, and help them out!
Parents, you can apply the above paragraph as well. I know that if you’re here because of your child or maybe someone else’s child, you can’t help but have an inner (possibly outer) freak-out over such a serious thing. That is o-kay. But I need you to stay focused on the task at hand. We can get you the help you need. All any of you, parents, friends, those struggling with cutting themselves, need to do, is ask. We’re reaching out to you, just take our hand. You can get through this, I promise.
Before I go, here are some final bits of info and more thoughts and suggestions for you.
Cutting isn’t the only form of Self-injury. Self harm can include picking scabs or interfering with a wound’s healing process, burning yourself, punching/hitting yourself or other things, “head-banging”, carving, branding, or marking your skin, bruising yourself, biting, infecting yourself, inserting things into body openings, bruising and breaking your own bones, and types of skin and hair pulling can also be categorized as self injury.
Hurting yourself is not the right way to comfort yourself, to deal with anger towards yourself, to feel alive, to say what you can’t, or try to get help. It’s NEVER the solution. I cannot stress that enough.
You need to talk to someone about this. I understand that sometimes you don’t know how to say something, or you can’t find the strength to say it. There are people like me who are empowering you right here and right now to speak up for yourself. You also need to figure out what is causing you to take such extreme actions. Last, but certainly not least, don’t you ever give up on yourself. You are not a lost cause. If you’re reading this, you are alive, and not everybody is that lucky. Sometimes you may feel like death would be the better option, but it’s not. There are so many good things about life to experience, so many positive things to feel, so many beautiful things to see and to do and to say. The good outweighs the bad.
When you find yourself wanting to cut, here’s what to do:
Call somebody and talk about something TOTALLY different to take your mind away from it.
Take a RAZOR-FREE shower.
Take a hike! … No, really, take a walk or a run, whichever you prefer. Or some kind of exercise activity. Whatever kind you enjoy. I like taking calm walks to clear my head.
Play with a pet if you have one! Or, heck, go pet your neighbor’s dog! Animals are a great way to make you smile.
Watch happy TV! Don’t watch anything that will upset you or that consists of cutting or anything like it. Watch something that will make you laugh!
Drink some water. That is a good way to cool down (no ice water puns intended).
Make sure you have a hotline number on hand. I will list ours at the end of this post. Not to be bossy, but write. it. down. That way you will have someone to talk you through the urge and help you out to a higher degree.
Keep AWAY from anything that can be used to fuel your self harm. So if you cut, stay OUT of the kitchen, and remove any thing that can be used to cut.
Like I said earlier, find a good way to express your emotions. Write a poem, sing a song, talk to somebody, paint a picture, however you can say how you feel with or without words, that does NOT involve you getting hurt.
Distract yourself. Even if it’s something small and silly, like playing with your hair or looking up pictures of your celebrity crush! Just do NOT turn to injuring yourself. Doing creative things is a great way to distract yourself. Even cleaning can be therapeutic!
Another thing to do is let it out. Grab a fuzzy blanket and bawl your eyes out if you need to!!! Throw a giant bowl of ice cream into the mix if you want!
Start a journal or a diary! This kind of thing always works for me. It’s a really nice way to get out your feelings privately.
Go ahead and spill the beans! Get someone you trust (if you feel comfortable enough) and tell them what you’re feeling.
Keep in mind, you need to be ready and willing to take the risk of being open to others who want to help you! Go ahead and contact us at teensofamerica.net or find the Teens of America page on Facebook, you can also give us a call at 877-333-8200 (this is the number thou shalt pen)! I’ll be there, ready and waiting with others as well.
Don’t just take my word for it that there are people who want to see you out of harm’s way! Check it out for yourself! Thank you for being here and reading my first blog post. I hope this has proved to you that you are worth the time and the effort and that you deserve it.
If you want to join Teens of America in our fight against bad choices, go sign our S.T.A.N.D. Pledge and find out how you can get involved, because the time to S.T.A.N.D. is now. For more about us, peruse our website and while you’re there, sign that pledge! I hope you come and join our team.
Also, if, for some reason, you want to get to know me or our other S.T.A.N.D. Core members a little bit better, go to the S.T.A.N.D. Solution page. ( http://www.teensofamerica.net/stand-solution.html ) My name, picture, and a small bio is at the very bottom!
Finally, you. Yes, you, staring at these letters that form words, and words that form sentences, and sentences that sort of make some sense out of my zany mind … You are a lovely human being, and I want you to stay strong. I may not know you and/or your life story, but I know that you are here for a purpose, and that you’re amazing. I’m sure of it. See you around!