I don't get any pleasure out of cutting. It doesn't make me feel better. It doesn't stop me from feeling empty, it doesn't make me calm, or give me an emotional high, or any of those reasons people always give for cutting. I have no idea why I cut. It does nothing for me. My therapist suggested that maybe it's because cutting has become routine for me, that I'm just going through the motions. But that's not true. It's always been like this, from the first time I ever cut. When I cut it doesn't feel like a big deal. I do it with about as much thought or emotion as brushing my teeth in the morning. It's always been that way from the very beginning. I don't know why I started, and I don't know why I can't bring myself to stop. It makes no sense. It's like eating when you aren't hungry. The only thing I ever think about while doing it is to do it better this time. Bigger, deeper, more serious, more blood. I started out making tiny scratches with a piece of obsidian, but I escalated to the point where I now cut deep enough for the blood to drip down my arm. It's not enough though, because once I wash the blood away it just looks like a little scratch. I have a feeling that I won't be satisfied until I have raised scars covering my arms. Why am I cutting? Can you tell me about reasons someone might cut other than the usual reasons?
It is always hard to give reasons for a behavior when most of the explanations have already been rejected. Almost all actions have an overt or underlying purpose. Cutting can become a routine behavior, like a compulsive ritual or take the form of addiction. However, its original intent continues to be present, but it gets buried deeper the longer the behavior continues. Many addicts and alcoholics begin using as a response to a painful experience or to combat depression. They eventually spiral out of control, to the point where they have lost control of the behavior. Countless addicts will readily tell you that they no longer feel any effect from the drug but can’t stop using.
You take issue with your therapist saying, “maybe it's because cutting has become routine for me, that I'm just going through the motions.” but go on to make the same argument. It sounds that you feel that he/she is not viewing your cutting as a serious problem. Regardless of the semantics, TeenHealthFX agrees that this is a serious problem and is worried that you are not getting the proper help. Whatever the underlying reason that leads you to cutting, the behavior does nothing to deal with the problem. Obsidian, throughout history has been used as an highly effective cutting tool because of its glass properties and sharpness. It is only a matter of time before your cutting behavior could lead to a serious or life threatening injury.
You need to talk with your therapist and make it clear how much your cutting has progressed and that a much more focused approach is needed so that you can stop. If you don’t feel that your therapist is helping you make progress, then you should talk to your parents about finding a mental health professional, who is uniquely experienced in treating self-injurious behavior or adolescences.
For more information and a section on referrals, check out the SAFE Alternatives website.
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