What Is Cutting?
Cutting is a form of self-injury that involves making small cuts in the skin. These cuts are painful but not deep enough to be considered an attempt at suicide. In fact, many cutters are trying to avoid just such a thing.
Cutting usually occurs on parts of the body that are not seen by others. This way, a teen can keep on cutting without being found out. It is not uncommon to find cuts on the abdomen, upper thighs, upper arms and chest. Cutters are usually girls but there are boys who have engaged in this act of self-injury.
Those who cut will use anything sharp to do the job when they are in distress. Many may carry their own tool – a razor blade. But anything sharp will do: cut bottle, shard of glass, even a lit cigarette.
What Causes Cutting?
As a teen, you are trying to find ways to deal with the many emotions that are going through your body. Some of them are related to hormones, but others are caused by outside factors. Cutting is often a way to deal with painful memories or experiences. When it is hard to put into words what you feel or to get help in other ways, this self-mutilation provides some relief.
Most cutting cases trace back to a painful event. The problem can be one that the teen is dealing with constantly: family issues, abuse, and lack of acceptance at school. There are many scenarios that can be possible but in all cases, something is wrong.
Teens who have talked about their condition have expressed that cutting diverts their attention to another form of pain, allowing them to forget their problems for a little while. Unfortunately, the relief isn’t permanent and they begin to cut again to experience the same relief.
Cutting also provides a way to control their pain. When they can’t seem to do anything else about the problem, doing something, anything, puts them in control of the situation in a way. For deep problems, cutting can become a sort of addiction.
Self-injury is dangerous. You can misjudge a cut on an arm or leg and end up bleeding to death. Deep cuts can get infected and lead to pain, septicemia and worse if not treated.
If you are a teen and suspect a friend is cutting, or if you are doing it, the best thing to do is to get help. Choose a friend or adult that you can trust. Trusting them will likely mean talking to a counselor or doctor. It can be scary, but they can help. Don’t give up hope, but keep trying until you get your problems heard and resolved.