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Why do people cut themselves?

What is self cutting?

Experts estimate that almost 1% of the American population intentionally cuts, injures or hurts themselves regularly or habitually. In fact, cutting yourself can be a form of addiction, especially when the action is impulsive, deliberate and repetitive. The medical terms for this type of action include: self injury, self mutilation, self harm or self abuse. The most common ways that people injure themselves include:

  • breaking bones
  • burning the skin
  • cutting the skin
  • embedding objects under the skin
  • infecting oneself
  • inserting objects in body openings
  • intentional bruising
  • picking scabs or interfering with wound healing
  • pulling hair
  • punching self or objects
  • scratching skin

Why do people cut themselves?

Mainly, people cut themselves as a coping mechanism to events and situations in life. In this way, cutting is much like alcohol or drug abuse – it is a means to “turn off” reality and plug into another way of thinking and feeling to either avoid or cope with life. Although self cutting is one way to cope with or relieve painful or intense feelings, psychological and emotional relief is only temporary. Just like waking up with a hangover, and then starting to drink again, self cutting can grow into a more serious self-destructive cycle without proper treatment.

To summarize, people cut themselves for a number of different reasons. These include:

Boredom – Some people cut themselves because the are under stimulated.

Coping mechanism – Some people cut themselves because cutting brings a sense of relief from intense feelings or helps a person cope with a problem. This is especially true for the nearly 50% of self injurers who report physical and/or sexual abuse during childhood.

Emotional pain – Some people use cutting to stop feeling lonely, angry, or hopeless.

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Excitement – Cutting can provide relief and calm for a person feeling over stimulated.

Fear – some people who cut themselves are fearful of intimate relationships and adult responsibilities and cut their skin as a protest to either.

Feeling empty – People also cut themselves because they report feeling empty inside and want to feel something – so they choose pain over nothing at all. This is because holding back strong emotions can cause a person to begin feeling numb. So cutting can be a way to deal with the numbness because it causes you to feel something.

Low self esteem – Some people who cut may feel unloved or not understood by their family or friends and cut themselves as a result of low self-esteem.

Other medical conditions – Many people who cut themselves may also be diagnosed with eating disorders (50-66%), alcohol or substance abuse problems. As a result, cutting becomes an outlet for these other treatable medical conditions.

Peer pressure – Some people may hurt themselves because they want to fit in and be accepted by others who are already cutting.

Relief – Cuting can stimulate feelings of pain that provide a sense of relief from intense feelings. Cutting can also relieve the tension from repressed sadness or anxiety.

Repressed feelings – People who hurt themselves often keep their feelings “bottled up” inside and have a hard time letting their feelings show. Or self-injurers commonly report they feel unable to express their feelings. In fact, up to 90% of self-injurers report that they were discouraged from expressing emotions as children, especially anger and sadness.

Treatment for cutting

If you know someone who is showing signs and symptoms of self-injury and is ready for help, you can consult a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist with self-injury expertise. S/He can complete an evaluation or assessment and then recommend a course of treatment to prevent the self-destructive cycle from continuing. But just know that help for self cutting is available. Check out this listing of mental health services to find a therapist for self injury now.

Reference sources: What is Self-Harm?
Girls Health [dot] gov

Photo credit: stephanie in love

Leave a Reply

70 Responses to “Why do people cut themselves?
Elmer
11:39 am September 13th, 2011

Hi. I’m a 15 year old guy who has an `emo` girlfriend. She has recently revealed to me that she has VERY abusive parents. She has shown me cut marks that she made. She also has a very special friend who she gives sexual favors to because it makes her feel good. I would like some help understanding this. I would like help if you could explain anything like to this about me. Thank you.

devin
1:44 am September 16th, 2011

hi elmer, im a 14-17 year old girl i wont give my exact age,who is “emo” i think i can help. i seem to have alot in common with your girl friend. i cut myself because i cant deal with emotional pain, so i deal with it by causing physical pain instead. i myself have a friend who i “sleep’ with, i feel alittle bit better after pleasing him and i dont feel so lonely anymore. if you want me to go more in depth leave another comment i would be willing to talk with you more

Josie
1:17 am September 26th, 2011

I need advice on understanding how cutting your body makes you feel better? I mean it would hurt me and I was so upset I was trying to bring myself to do it once, but I thought how irrational it is! Why would I make the outside of me hurt as well as my inside to make me feel double pain?

My friend Lisa cuts her wrist every so often. I notice it every so often as she wears a wrist sweat band to cover it till heals a bit. Her parents beat her when angry and are both alcoholics, her mum pressures her to get A*’s and if she gets lower she gets fined of money. Problem is she refuses to tell anyone as she sees it as normal so even if I did try to help she wouldn’t accept it as ‘help’.

can anyone help me to understand what she is thinking and feeling?

4:54 am September 26th, 2011

Hi Josie. It sounds like your friend Lisa has been through some real trauma. She is not just angry, she is really hurting inside. And the outside pain of cutting may be actually a relief for the intensity of feelings that she has on the inside.

It is a very delicate situation that you are in. Lisa probably has a happy face for the rest of the world and does not want other people to know what is happening at home. But you may feel that she can benefit from outsides help. It sounds like she needs to talk to someone she can trust who can offer her suggestions. Someone older with more experience, maybe even someone who has gone through what she is going through.

My suggestion is to first tell her about this website or other website which explain cutting. If she is willing to read the info here, maybe she could open up more to her inside pain. And if she is ready for help and you are ready to accompany her…maybe you can both go to see a teacher or someone in school who can tell you about free support Lisa can get.

It’s so good that you are a concerned friend and are treating her cutting seriously. Even if you cannot understand why Lisa cuts herself, it shows that you care by trying to learn more. Good luck and please let us know if we can help.

Josie
1:47 pm September 26th, 2011

Thank you for such a quick response, and I found it a great help, I have one more question though, is there any way that she can talk to someone where they won’t need to know anything about her, where she can just let out her feelings? cause I know she mentioned having someone as a cyber friend from miles away who she talks to about things like this, as she feels telling people close only causes disruption in her life.

I was hoping that if you could inform me of anyway she could talk to someone who doesn’t know her as such like a hotline or something… Thank you so much for your help.

ann
12:37 am September 27th, 2011

hey josie i red this article a few weeks ago, i think this might help your friend, when my psychiciatrist found out that i had been cutting myself she put a rubber band on my wrist and when ever i felt something that would make me want to cut again i snap the band against my wrist instead. its actually helping me so i hope it will help your friend as well. best of luck.

12:56 pm September 27th, 2011

If Lisa is ready to ask for anonymous help, you can find local crisis hotline numbers in the front of your local phone book. Lisa can also call a few national hotlines and talk to highly trained crisis counselors. Most of these numbers offer help referrals to local programs that help people with self-injury issues and can provide information on treatment options.

SELF-HARM HOTLINES

SAFE (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives Program 1-800-366-8288
The Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

MENTAL HEALTH INFO

Help Finding a Therapist 1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274)
Mental Health InfoSource 1-800-447-4474
National Mental Health Association 1-800-969-6642

ABUSE AND TRAUMA HOTLINES

Child Help USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-25-ABUSE
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
Victims of Crime Help Line 1-800-FYI-CALL

me
5:26 am October 28th, 2011

i dont know why but ive pretty much liked pain since i was a kid, fairly angry strict father,copped floggings…i have cut/smilied……it releases endorphins and it works… very unhealthy..i dont go outta my way anymore but i dont mind a bit of pain…i bought a kayak so i can row the fuck out of it , n sometimes i listen to metal music so loud it cant be good…my point is find good ways of getting endorphins, everything in life to do…let it out another way

sam
4:01 pm November 4th, 2011

Ok people who call them self “emo” and cutting are doing it to fit it with what emo is supposed be.. but I believe people who are truly depressed and are hurt don’t go around showing it off that is for attion they want to seem cool, emo is a sterio type. True people who are hurting don’t go around saying they are emo. They keep to them self

elmo
12:37 am November 8th, 2011

I know that cutting yourself is bad. I used to cut myself back in 8th grade. I then stopped because A friend helped me out. And then I cut myself again my senior year because i had surgery and I was trying to put the pain elsewhere. It worked and the next day my boyfriend found it and asked me not to do it again and that he wouldn’t say anything unless he seen it again, as in other marks on my body. I tried to hide it but it didn’t work. I didn’t do it until just tonight while I was in the bathroom soaking in the tub. I am going though a very very rough time in my life and I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t want to talk to a person face to face because I don’t want them to know who I am. I don’t “cut” myself deep to where it would leave a scar, well, at least I try not to. This time I did it on my sides down by my hips with tweezers.

I was doing so good, but I rather did what I did instead of just crying and crying and crying. I didn’t feel any pain with what I did tonight, but I know that no one will see it. So I fell safe. I also know that other people can read this, but what are the odds that my boyfriend will see this? So I feel safe talking about it on here.

I don’t want it to happen again or to even relapse, but I can’t help it.

ann
11:33 pm November 9th, 2011

elmo, i think the rubber bandtrick i wrote about earlier might help you, it will slowly wean you off the cutting to the point you wont need it anymore and will eventually stop with the rubber band as well seeing as they would no longer be a point in using it. i think that will stop the relapse for you.
hope it helps because its helping me as well.
be proud your trying to stop though and if you need some one to talk to id be willing to help because ive done that before

hippo
2:42 am November 13th, 2011

….how do i get help from cuttting? without letting anyone know that i do it…

12:26 pm November 13th, 2011

Hi hippo. Thanks for your message and we appreciate the fact that you would like to remain anonymous about cutting. Self-injury is still not understood and is stigmatized among many people. But professionals psychologists who have been trained to treat the mental element of cutting should respond more kindly and sensitively.

I would encourage you to seek help from a licensed clinical social worker, certified psychologist/counselor or a psychiatrist in your area. There are online support groups like To write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)…but these are informal, non professional peer groups who have not studied the many factors that contribute to self-injury.

We did find this link, which may help you. There are phone numbers to national hotlines that you can call…and contact info for treatment centers. http://www.twloha.com/find-help/

Please let us know if this helps!

paige
5:08 am November 17th, 2011

i am not emo, but i have thought about trying it. my life is so confusing, and my mom is pushing me for all a’s but i think if she were to let me be i wouldnt be so stressed and probably do better in school. i have grown up to alchohol on my mothers breath and it doesnt disturb me much anymore, but it does disturb my friends. my mom goes out every wednesday to her boyfriends house, and i am pretty sure i know wat she is doing. for some reason my mom’s life is stresssing me out, and all my family tells me not to worry about her, but they dont understand! i know this isnt mostly bout me being emo but i have found myself looking up what it feels like and ect. my dad has been offering me a home but i dont want to hurt my moms feelings… ughhhhh :/

devin
10:41 pm November 17th, 2011

paige dont try it the only thing youll get from it is scars pain depression a secret youll have to hind the rest of your life.
trust me its not the answer. i did that once i messed my life up.
and when it comes down to extream stress or possibly hurting your mom take the chance of hurting your mom, that way its only a possibility of hurting her and she should be willing to either comply with you and work something out or let you live with your dad if not then she would be very selfish and youd need to leave if that happens
i hope this helps and i wish you the best of luck

Celine
5:52 am November 20th, 2011

I cut myself for two reasons: I am way too stressed, and I pretty much hate myself. I am a senior in high school and people expect me to be class valedictorian. I am applying to really competitive Colleges, and I have absolutely no free time. All of this just piles up and my mind is always going. I have a hard time sleeping at night, and that definitely doesn’t help. Cutting makes me focus on what I am doing right then and there rather than worrying about everything else.

I hate myself because I can be a total bitch sometimes. I feel like I have no filter and then I end up saying incredibly mean or stupid things. For this reason, cutting is a form of self punishment. Cutting feels like the only way for me to to just stop and let everything go. It makes me feel better for a little bit after I do it and everytime I look at the bandage and see blood. Other than for that short little bit of relief, I mostly just feel even more hatred for myself for being weak.

I just started cutting a few months ago. It has already become somewhat of an addiction. Even though I recognize this, I am not yet ready to stop. If I had someone to talk to, I am sure that would be a much better way to cope with all of the stress and self hatred I have. But, all I have is the moments where I feel nothing but physical pain, and that is enough for now.

derek
7:00 am November 25th, 2011

im have recently met an incredible person whom i feel very close to. she has reveiled to me she cuts her self. i understand somewhat why she does it. that it distracts her from her emotional pain and feelings of loneliness. i also understand that cutting is similar to an addiction in some cases. having gone through rehab for suubstance abuse i can understand how difficult it is to overcome such hardships.’ im curious to know how i would go about supporting her in her fight against self injury.’ and “ann” thank you for the rubber band idea, i will let her know about it as soon as i see her.

CC
3:24 pm November 27th, 2011

Hi, I’m a 22 year old cutter, i’ve been doing it since I was 13 years old, people see it as being selfish and straight up stupid, while it is stupid, non cutters can’t imagine the pain inside. I’ve been abused most of my life, and am battling a meth addiction, cuting is the only was i know how to cope, but its getting so bad that i’m cutting too deep and am having to go to the Emergancy room. Of course I lie my ass off so they won’t lock my up in a psych ward, but as long as I have been cutting I still don’t understand it. I’m in so much pain today and can’t take my pain meds because of my other addiction.

My family are very upset and mad at me, won’t even stay in the same house of me but i cant help it, i crave it so bad so i do it.

Myriah
10:41 pm December 3rd, 2011

I’m 14 now, I have just started cutting myself, as i was too scared to do it earlier in my life. Its so much easier to focus on physical pain then the emotional pain i live with everyday. I’m too weak to commit suicide, to rid others of their burden of me, so i just cut my own disgusting skin to focus on that. I’ve tried so hard to be a happy person. I can’t try anymore. i’m not a strong person. I’ve only told one person, and i know it hurts him that i do this. I cant help what i am, a disgusting monster. I hurt people by being around them, and now i can hurt myself for hurting them. Its what i deserve, and i crave the pain of it so bad. The way it stings is like my cure for insomnia.

12:03 pm December 5th, 2011

Hi Myriah. It sounds like you are going through a lot. But you are not alone. Many people can relate to the same kind of emotional pain that you feel. In fact, you’re not that special to think that no one has ever felt what you have. In all of humanity, there is suffering. It is the one constant in our world. But you must know that you’re not a monster either. You just need help. If you’re ready to get it, please email us and we can locate some local resources for you. Otherwise, call the National Suicide Hotline the next time you think about cutting. 1-800-273-TALK.

Myriah
10:20 pm December 8th, 2011

Dear CC, I understand exactly what your saying. My friends dont understand it at all, and they try not to judge me for it, and im highly greatful for their earnest attempts at that. I tried taking an herbal depressant. Didnt work for me, but it might help for others out there.
And, id be more than happy to be someone to rant to through this blog ^^
To the “Addicton Blog” im not “attempting suicide” though, cutting can lead to that i understand. Im not cutting deeply, enough, or anywhere near my veins. Please, i know im not the only one dealing with depression. Hence theres BLOGS of people with their problems. I have it pretty good compared to others.

~friend of a friend,
Mya~

elizabeth
3:51 am December 16th, 2011

I have a 13 year old that just recently told me about SI and I just could not believe it. we have a good relationship but I need some help on finding help for her. My insurance will not pay for the counseling and she is currently just seeing school counseling.
I have to say that since she came to me and told me it has been almost 3 months that she has not cut herself, but recently at school the Principal found a note that she had written almost 2 months ago about feeling so depressed that she said on the note it was not worth living any more…
The reason for this note was her BF at school and a kid that she really liked kind of betrayed her and they became boyfriend and girlfriend and her BF knew the feelings that she had for this kid.
I would really apreciate any help I live in Chicago.
and ann thank you for the advice on the rubber band I will try this with my girl tonight.

11:00 am December 16th, 2011

Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing about your love for your daughter. I can sense that you are close with her and really want to help. Try Mental Health America of Illinois. They are a non-profit, non-governmental, statewide organization in Illinois concerned with the entire spectrum of mental and emotional disorders. Their website is: mhai [dot] org. And if you need other referral services, feel free to post again or send us an email.

ann
1:35 am December 19th, 2011

elizabeth, no problem im just glad that her telling you didnt damage your relationship, your daughter trust you enough to tell you, your her biggest allie right now and she needs you. stay with her and keep her emotions in mind during this whole thing

JB
8:15 pm December 19th, 2011

I have a question about eating disorders and self mutilation. I have a person in my family that has an eaing disorder and cuts themself. I was told it comes from sexual abuse from the father of this person. I am affraid to have my kids around the father, but i have some doubt about the story. Can this be just an excuse this person is making up to justify their problem, or is it common for sexual abuse victims to have eating disorders and cut themselves?

Rachel
5:43 am December 20th, 2011

hi I’m 14 years old and I’ve been cutting myself for almost 3 years now. I feel like my level of cutting is not detrimental, because frankly i dont see how else I will deal with things. however, recently I’ve started abusing alcohol and cigarettes for the same reasons that I cut. I don’t know how I’m going to stop because I don’t care enough about myself to care about long term effects. I know perfectly well the effects of nicotine, tar, alcohol, and whatever cutting does, but it’s how I get through each week and i would die without these escapes. usually I seem controlled and normal but sometimes this part of me
comes out. I don’t deserve to feel this way though, and I don’t really understand the reasons for these feelings, because I am a very lucky person who was born into a good life. because I know that, I hate myself for feeling this way.

7:16 pm December 21st, 2011

Hi Rachel. Thanks for writing to us.

I hr your ambivalence about cutting in your message. On the one hand, cutting, drinking and smoking works for short term stress relief. On the other hand, you sense the wrong.

Have you ever thought about seeking help from a counselor or even a spiritual, religious or meditation guide? It seems like you are describing a discontent with life that is very human and real. I can relate to your coming from a good family, but still feeling a bit different. Maybe the symptoms (cutting, drinking, smoking, etc.) are acutally calling you to look deeping into the human condition?

7:23 pm December 21st, 2011

Hi JB. Thanks for your question.

Yes, self mutilation and eating disorders can be triggered by sexual abuse. So can other self injury behaviors like drinking and drugging. Has the person that you are thinking of received psychological or psychiatric help? Victims of any kind of abuse can move beyond the trauma and live healthy lives. Please let us know if we can refer local resources.

blindsided
5:03 am December 22nd, 2011

I just found out (3hrs. ago) that my 13 year old little sister has been cutting for a year and was ready to commit suicide (but thankfully was intercepted). I don’t understand the concept at all and I’m trying to desperatley. I need to talk to her but I don’t want to say the wrong thing because I really don’t understand how it comes to this. She makes good grades, my parents bend over backwards for her, she has friends that she spends time with, everytime I see her she seems happy, but NOT “overly happy” like it’s fake. I mean I’ve been through some very hard times (having a child that passed away, etc) and this has never been an option for me… Someone please help me because I need to know how to help her but I don’t want to say the wrong thing and make it worse.

addictions
4:10 pm December 22nd, 2011

I already made an app for my daughter to see an outside help.
Thank you very much for the help and just wanted to up date you that ever since my daughter came to me and told me about what she feels and does she has stopped I don’t know if this might work for the rest of the young people out there to try and talk to their parents.
No matter what a parent is going to always be there for their kids…at least I will always be there for my kids…

Charlotte
12:17 pm December 27th, 2011

I’m 13. I cut myself to the point when yes it does leave a scar. I do it because. I deserve it. I don’t live in America and I was wondering if there was any chance of u guys finding a social worker type thing so my parents don’t find out. I live in New Zealand south island where there has been earthquakes lately. I cut. I tried purging but I dont think i have a gag reflex. I miss mum.

2:00 am December 28th, 2011

Hi Charlotte. Yes. First try this website to find local social workers in your area that you can talk to and then let us know if you need more information. http://www.familyservices.govt.nz/directory/

rachel response
6:02 pm December 29th, 2011

hi Rachel I have a 13 year old that cuts herself and she tells me sometimes that she feels that she is ugly and she feels that she has a problem dealing with things, what she does is she has a journal where she writes her feelings and she draws as well, she listens to music and when ever she feels the way you feel all those things that she does it helps her deal to what she feels.
Hopefully this helps for you and if you don’t want to tell your parents about your problem then talk to your counselor from school.

ashley
7:01 am December 31st, 2011

hi, im 14 years old and i cut myself. i have told some people and those people have told many people, now my entire middle schhool knows and they are judging me for it which makes me do it even more, i have been sexually abused and i havent told anyone. and i cut because of that, that thougt brings bad horrible thoughts into my head and its getting so bad that i am leavvingg horrible scars. and my paarents know about me cutting, i just want other cutters ideas oon how to stop cutting myself. any help would be apppreciated.. :/

ann
3:11 am January 4th, 2012

if ou read above i started using the rebber band trick ashley its really works
although since you were abused as well i recommend seeing a councelor as well not meaning that to offend you i recommened it because it helps you cope with the bad memories and learn to ignore them
i hope this helps

ashley
3:36 am January 5th, 2012

awhh, thankks ann. i will definetly try the things you reccomendeed.

its hard to ignore them, especially when your all alone and you just think of the bad things that has happendd.. but thabk youuu! :)

ana
12:28 am January 12th, 2012

Hi im 21 yrs old and have been cutting on and off since i was 13. i try to stop but i can never last more than 6 months! i also purge. 2 of my friends know i do both of these things and say i can talk to them when i feel like cutting or purging but i feel like im bothering them so i keep quiet which doesnt help me in the long run. i dont know what to do! i feel so alone.

Shel
2:44 am January 12th, 2012

How can I stop from cutting myself when in angry or upset because someone has hurt me any help ????

Shel
2:05 am January 13th, 2012

Can anyone help

6:55 pm January 13th, 2012

Hi Shel. Thanks for reaching out for help. I’d suggest that you call a self-help hotline when you feel like cutting (see the comment above from September 27th with a full list of hotline numbers). This can help during the immediate need to cut.

In order to process psychological or emotional pain of the past, people talk with trusted professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, or even religious or spiritual leaders. Do you have a preference or an idea of how you can start to resolve these underlying issues?

Shel
9:30 pm January 13th, 2012

I have no clue where to start I just get so angry and I don’t have anyone I cant trust people cause they get mad at me and talkin to family would make it worse

Shel
3:05 am January 15th, 2012

Sometimes to be honest I wanna just go to sleep and not wake up sand now I’m to the point im done with it all I need help I just need an answer or a place to begin and I don’t mean to constantly ask ?s im lost

1:43 pm January 16th, 2012

Hi Shel. Thanks for letting us know where you are.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day. You don’t need to be at the point of suicide to call. The hotline is open to all people thinking about self harm. I think that this might be a good first step. Qualified people on the hotline can assess what is happening and then refer you to other services. Especially given your last post, where you feel hopeless, I think that the lifeline can help.

Then when you are ready, you might want to try to find a psychologist who you can talk to (outside of your family) in your area. You can call the Therapist Hotline 1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274) to be referred to licensed therapists near you. I personally love psychology and therapy. I think it’s a healthy way to start to get to know yourself!

Shel
2:21 am January 17th, 2012

Thanks for the help an for giving me somewhere to start I will call and hopefully in the end feel better and have the answers and know how I can get through this

Jazzmine
6:49 pm January 21st, 2012

Hi, im in my older teens and I just recently cut, I have urges to do it again because I actually felt better but I haven’t told anyone because I feel like they will think I’m crazy psychopath, I’m not “emo” I’m actually kinda popular and in many sports/ clubs.. And it’s really hard to hide the scars ..the reason I want to cut is because of my family? I’m not really able to do anything.. Nor have a boyfriend/ go out w/ friends and i feel horrible ,I know I shouldn’t cut, but I really want to

7:16 pm January 22nd, 2012

Hi Jazzmine. It sounds like you are really in a lot of emotional pain. I feel for you. I think that the hotlines listed above could also really help you. Also, do you think that your family would ever go to see a family counselor? Often, addictive behaviors like self-injury are signs of a systemic family problem. And…you are not crazy. You’re just coping the best way you know how.

CJ
4:14 pm January 26th, 2012

I’m a 16, almost 17 year old guy, and I cut myself almost every other day, if not everyday. I have scars all over my arms, legs, ribs, chest, back, throat, hands, anywhere you could possibly think of. The reason I cut is to relieve stress, to feel relaxed, or to just get away frtom everything. I have a few vids on youtube of me cutting. Its my relief. Thats the only way I can feel comfortable with myself. If my cuts aren’t incredibly deep, I hate it, and cut more cause it pissed me off. I get so much crticism daily from the scars on me, but they’ll get over it.

3:54 pm January 27th, 2012

Hi CJ. If cutting is the only way that you feel comfortable with yourself, do you want to stop? Do you think that there are other ways that you can feel good in your own skin?

Robin
3:49 pm January 31st, 2012

Hi.

I am in my mid-20s. I used to cut myself/hurt myself, but not incredibly deep and always in places where the scars aren’t obvious. I stopped in college. However, I find I can and will relapse, especially in times of severe and constant stress that i have no control over and cant stop over a short period of time. Is there a way for me to deal with such things without ever needing to relapse like this?

3:57 pm February 3rd, 2012

Hi Robin. It sounds like you’ve come to some understanding of yourself in the past few years. Congratulations. I wonder if you can explore this issue further with a psychologist who treats self-injury? It seems like you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy or just talking it out with a professional and coming up with a plan for these times of constant and severe stress. How does this suggestion sit with you?

elizabeth
12:10 am February 5th, 2012

this message is for shel just wondering if you are getting help. I just want you to know that you are not alone and that there’s a lot of help out there. I have been taking my youngest daughter for outside counseling that I was provided from school. we have counseling once a week and I think is the best thing that you can acctually comunicate your thoughts to someone else and they can actually listen to you. I really would not want to see you in any kind of trouble so please, get help. you are not alone…

Robin
3:44 pm February 5th, 2012

@Addiction Blog Thank you. The stressor seems to occur at certain milestones whenever I feel as though my future (job, school, etc.) could be negatively affected. Financially I am not able to at this time, but I would like the contact information so I can reach out when I can.

Mariah
7:23 am February 6th, 2012

I sometimes cut when I feel depressed because I want someone to secretly find the scars one day and ask why? Then I’ll tell them I got bullied and raped and im alone. I’m clinically depressed and there’s always been that one guy that I can go to and tell him whn I do cut and he’ll stay with me and talk to me about it. My girl best friend knows I cut and she cries. I know it hurts her…but I can’t help it/: I cut along my rib cage so that when I dress out for cheer, no one sees the cuts. I’ve tried to stop but I always end up going back. And finding other “coping mechanisms” doesn’t work that well for me. Any suggestions or help would be much appreciated.

devin
11:01 am February 6th, 2012

Mariah, above iv’e talked uses the rubber band trick i think that might help so check it out. it worked for me i haven’t cut myself in almost 3 months now

Zoey
11:26 pm February 16th, 2012

I’m 12 and I cut myself. People Mainly cut themselves because they are REALLY DEPRESSED. I only have 2 friends. I used to have another but i realized that she was a backstaber

12:24 pm February 17th, 2012

Hi Zoey. I can relate with you. Making and keeping friends is one of the most difficult things in life. I am 36 and I have one friend from the 7th grade who I would call a real friend.

Do you have someone to talk to about depression?

Ellie
6:42 am February 18th, 2012

Im 12 years old and i cut. I do it to take emotional pain away and put it on physical pain because its more easy to deal with. My mom and dad know. they told me they would get me someone to talk to and still havent its been over a month and they think i have stopped but i do it more often then i was before … i know i need help , i just dont know where to find it. The cuts arent super deep. But i get bullied a lot and things at home are rough. and those are some reasons why i cut. my parents seem like they dont care. i dont know what to do. i only have few good friends and i cant even explain to them what im feeling. i need help.

3:29 pm February 21st, 2012

Hi Ellie. I am so proud of you for asking for help. I can sense that you really want to talk with someone and start to take responsibility for yourself. That is a very honorable thing to do.

I feel for you. School and home life should be supportive. When they become war zones, life is difficult and painful.

If you can send me your zip code, I can send you a list of treatment options nearby. But until then, check out the HOTLINE numbers that I have listed above. The most important ones are:

SAFE (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives Program 1-800-366-8288
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

And when you feel like cutting the next time, call them instead.

cy
5:29 am February 26th, 2012

Umm..okay..I’ve been abused most of mi childhood by mi own uncles nd mi dad went to jail wen I was only seven..(oh yeah I’m only 13) nd he’s gunna be in jail untill I’m like 40 idk…but I started cutting my self because I thought I had no one there for me…nd would always be by my sellf..nd then it got worse becuz mi mom turned into an alcholic….so now I’m in a diffrent state then her…nd mi bro. He’s like mi twinn he looks juss like me nd every thing…but he’s mental…like he did something rellie stupid nd now he lives about 5 hours away…so now I rellie hav no one nd I dnt have anything else to do but to cut…but I try to stop…I think about it every day tht if I get taken away from mi grandmom ill be juss like the rest of mi family….but there mi family I shuld be like them…or shuld I not?…..

11:35 am February 28th, 2012

Hello cy. Thanks for reaching out for help. You are only alone when you block yourself off from help.

Is your grandmom supportive and loving? If so, maybe you can talk to her about your feelings. If not, maybe it is better to talk to someone outside of your family.

Child Help USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-25-ABUSE
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
Victims of Crime Help Line 1-800-FYI-CALL

There are lots of hotlines and numbers you can call. Here are the ones about child abuse. I’d suggest that you start there, right away. Your situation is very sensitive and it seems like you are at a point in your life when you are asking questions about which path to follow…the same path as your family? or a new path? I think that talking to someone can help you choose a positive path and to start helping yourself heal from the pain of abuse and a messed up family.

You are worth it!

liz
4:17 pm March 3rd, 2012

i don’t know why i cut i just do.. i have the world on my shoulders with a divorce my grandma dead 3 sister 2 brothers and i have to be low matence or i get yelled at for wanting to much i have to make good grades but i make bad ones my 2 older sisters are never home the one closest to my age is a jerk my little brother (8) (i think he may have problems but no one listens) so i can’t talk to him i hate my other brother and he hates me back i mean what am i soupossed to do i mean i’m in middle school to so drama homework all this responsibilty i dont want to talk to anyone because of rumors how can i heal myself without anyone learning about my 3 year problem?? (p.s i’m 13)

7:10 pm March 3rd, 2012

Hi Liz. Wow. It does sound like are balancing a lot. I applaud your responsibility and seeing a need to get help. Good for you. Also I agree with the need for privacy. Middle school friends are difficult to trust and if you really want help and want to stay away from the drama, it’s best to go right to the source: a counselor, psychologist, or other mental health professional.

I would suggest that you call one of the hotlines listed above. Tell them that you are a cutter and want to stop. That you want anonymous help and don’t know where to start. Maybe there are mental health specialists that you can see through school. Or maybe there is a free clinic near you. Call a hotline and see what they suggest…and then let us know how it went.

You are not alone!

Lee (Female, 36 years old)

liz
8:58 pm March 3rd, 2012

well i signed up for weekly counseling sessions with the counselor at school due to the hotline…. no one is going to be finding out about my problem besides the counselor any tips to help me not relaspe? because talking about gives me the urge….

5:30 am March 5th, 2012

Hi Liz. That is wonderful news. Please let me know how it goes with the counselor.

Check out some of the free worksheets at SMART Recovery. Their program is a self-help program for addicts of all kinds. And I think that cutting and self-harm can be an addiction like any.

The basic idea is that you write out on the worksheets the costs and benefits of cutting ABCs and then you learn what kinds of beliefs compel you to cut. Once you understand how your mind is working, you start to change the thoughts that get you to start cutting in the first place.

Let me know if you need help finding the worksheets.

md girl
9:42 pm March 13th, 2012

I don’t understand what is wrong with me. I recently started cutting and today my homeroom teacher noticed. she sent me to the health room to get it cleaned because she was worried. we had a huge test and i just got overworked during it. my friends r really worried and they seem to be backing off of me a little bit and i think it is because they are scare but now i feel so alone….i have a therapist but i havent seen her recently i just urggggg i dont even know where i am in my life anymore.

1:13 pm March 14th, 2012

Hi md girl.

I can sense real unhappiness and confusion in your message.

It sounds like you like your therapist enough to talk to her about what is going on. Can you set up regular appointments with her…like maybe once or twice a week?

Tj
9:06 am April 3rd, 2012

Hi I cut myself but not because I am sad or depressed or bored….. I seem to only do it when ppl frusterate me, but I feel like I should cut my wrist because I don’t want to hurt anyone else. I am pretty big pot head and try to love and get along with most ppl but when they do something terrible to me, I have thr erge to fight or hurt them but I just walk away and harm my self.I don’t blame myself I just need to my anger out.is there a reason I feel like this?

2:50 pm April 3rd, 2012

Hi Tj. Thanks for your question.

Feelings are a normal part of the human experience. And anger and frustration can set off many responses. It seems that you have adapted self-harm as a way to prevent yourself from hurting others. I wonder if you might be able to channel your actions into another choice? Have you ever tried to substitute a punching bag or even hitting the crap out of a pillow instead of cutting?

Faith
4:53 pm April 9th, 2012

Hi, i have been reading this and i do cut myself because of emptieness how do i take out my anger in other ways

1:36 pm April 11th, 2012

Hi Faith. Emptiness can come from disappointment and a loss of optimism in life. Taking out your anger seems to be a very human response to this.

It might help you to identify what is causing the emptiness and to learn how to connect with a sense of purpose for your life. You can do this by talking to either someone that you trust or someone who exhibits some of the qualities that you’d like in your life. You can always pay someone (like a psychologist or counselor) who specializes in therapy, but you cannot really know if they are on your vibe until you see them a few times.

Does this make sense?

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