Relapsed Into Cutting - What Is My Defect?

Published: January 27, 2014
Dear Relapsed Into Cutting - What Is My Defect?,

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.

Dear Relapsed Into Cutting - What Is My Defect?,

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.