I am a seventeen year old girl. I recently relapsed into my cutting addiction after being clean for several months. When I first started cutting (several years ago), I was in emotional turmoil and went through lots of "I feel like shit. Let's cut. I feel worse." cycles. I've tried to recover and relapsed several times now. Since I first began cutting, it has gradually become something that, while I hide it, I am not ashamed of and I don't feel guilty for mutilating my body anymore. Like there are functional alcoholics, I think I'm something of a functional cutter. I function normally. Cutting, I guess, is like something extra I do for myself that is almost relaxing (like masturbation or marijuana, perhaps). I know that I will probably commit suicide somewhere in the next few years. Obviously there is something mentally wrong with me, but I don't want help. I just want to know what my defect is.
Like a “functioning alcoholic” your coping mechanism has perhaps not yet interfered with any major areas of your life. However, it doesn’t mean you are functioning in a healthy way – because the fact is that like an alcoholic you are resorting to a very unhealthy method of coping that causes harm to your body.
TeenHeealthFX understands that there is a part of you that doesn’t want help. However, the fact that you wrote into us and that you seem interested in understanding what the underlying issues are that lead you to cut makes us wonder if there is another part of you that is interested in help. FX does not think that you have a “defect,” however, we do think that you must have had certain experiences in your life and feelings within you that have lead you to cut. Often people who self-cut have had experiences of not feeling heard by the people closest to them. In addition, people who self-cut often are dealing with anger issues about certain important experiences and/or relationships in their lives. FX cannot know for sure what lies beneath your drive to cut – but we do think it is very possible for you to figure out. If you are interested in finding this out, FX recommends that you meet with a reputable mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, who can help you to better understand what the underlying issues are that give you the urge to self-harm. A therapist can also help you to work through these issues and develop healthier coping mechanisms to deal with the pain you feel and to get you to a point where you no longer want to self-cut or think of killing yourself.
FX can appreciate that there is a part of you that has your reasons for not wanting help. But please know that life does not have to feel this way – with constant urges to cut or a sense that one day it should just be over. There are people out there who can be helpful to you – who can help you to better understand what’s going on, help you to better understand the part of you that doesn’t want help, and perhaps even influence the part of you that does want help into addressing the underlying issues that have caused you anger and pain.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
You can also contact the Self-Injury Hotline (information only, not a crisis line) at 1-800-DON’T-CUT, 1-800-366-8288.
If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), available 24 hours a day, or the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.
70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition 6
33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse. 18
Nearly two in five 12th graders report using some kind of vaping device in the past year. 7
1 in 4 teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every year. 11
In 2017, persons aged 15–24 years represented 62.6% of all chlamydia cases. 10
More than 130 Americans die everyday from an opioid overdose. 9
In the next 24 hours, 1,439 teens will attempt suicide. 14
In the next 24 hours, 2,795 teenage girls will become pregnant 12
Only 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment in the last year. 8
90% of daily tobacco users begin by age 18 13
Many teens reported feeling overwhelmed (31%) and depressed or sad (30%) as a result of stress. 16
37.3 percent of 12th graders reported vaping in the past 12 months 15
Two-thirds of those who developed alcohol or substance use disorders have had a mental health disorder. 17
In 2016, 56 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers 22
21% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. are among people aged 13-24 years old, most of those being 20-24. 19
59% of all students in grades 9 to 12 indicated that they had not yet had sex. 21
1 in 3 young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship 23
50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide 24
There was a 78% increase in e-cigarette use between 2017 and 2018. 2
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. 1
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 12-18. 3
Young people aged 15–24 years acquire half of all new STDs 4
In 2017, 5455 teenagers died from an overdose 5
44.88% of teens feel stressed “all the time.” 25
59% of U.S. teens have personally experienced at least one type of abusive online behaviors. 26
In 2017 2,734 teenagers (ages 13-19) died in the United States from crash injuries. 27
Roughly 40% of teenagers will try drugs at least once, which means 60% will not. 28
The average 12th grader spends approximately 2 hours per day texting. 29