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Why Can't I Stop Cutting Myself

Published: October 31, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

Why can’t I stop cutting myself? I’ve cut myself every night for a few weeks now. The first time I cut myself I was 16 and terrified, I’m 19 now and cutting is the only relief I can find. I don’t cut to kill myself, I’m mindful of veins, and they’re never deep enough to seriously hurt me. Typically I cut on my leg, but a few weeks ago I cut my arm and for some reason it felt so much better than cutting my leg. People at work found out, they’re beyond concerned, but they have been pretty supportive. I can’t stop destroying my arm. Cutting has never been this big of an issue for me, it was always something I did once or twice every few months and that was it. I can’t stop though. I’ve tried, I hate the cuts. I hate having to wear long sleeves to work, I hate it so much. I’ve noticed my mood has been crazy lately. I’ll have terrible days where my head feels so heavy and I have no motivation for anything, I feel like a huge failure, and often times I’ll cry for no reason. Then the very next day I might be extremely happy, motivated, and bouncing off the walls with energy. It is exhausting and I don’t know how much longer I can handle it.


Dear Why Can't I Stop Cutting Myself,

 

Many people resort to "cutting" as a way of relieving tension or expressing anger. Initially it may seem like it provides some relief, it can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. Pressure builds up in a person life, they cut themselves to relieve the tension, which is soon replaced by guilt, remorse or shame. They tell themselves they will not do it again but when the depression deepens or stress builds up the cycle returns. As the cycle becomes more compulsive it becomes very hard to stop on your own. You also have to be very careful that these cuts do not get infected. A severe infection from a "cutting" can lead to serious medical problems.  

 

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 have to realize by now that you have no control over your cutting behavior and need to seek professional help. Like addiction, cutting can be a progressive pattern of behavior. Look at your statement, “Cutting has never been this big of an issue for me, it was always something I did once or twice every few months and that was it. I can’t stop….” 

 

Cutting does nothing to address the emotional turmoil you have been experiencing. In reality, it makes it worse. There are many coping strategies that can provide healthy long-term relief of these symptoms and a therapist trained in this area would be able to teach them to you. It would also be an opportunity to help you identify any underlying issues and address them. This is not something you can do on your own. How would you feel if someone you really cared about was hurting and they shut you out? Let your family and friends in, it will make you and them feel better. 

 

If you get to the point that you are considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 9-1-1 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 Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people resort to "cutting" as a way of relieving tension or expressing anger. Initially it may seem like it provides some relief, it can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. Pressure builds up in a person life, they cut themselves to relieve the tension, which is soon replaced by guilt, remorse or shame. They tell themselves they will not do it again but when the depression deepens or stress builds up the cycle returns. As the cycle becomes more compulsive it becomes very hard to stop on your own. You also have to be very careful that these cuts do not get infected. A severe infection from a "cutting" can lead to serious medical problems.

 

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 have to realize by now that you have no control over your cutting behavior and need to seek professional help. Like addiction, cutting can be a progressive pattern of behavior. Look at your statement, “Cutting has never been this big of an issue for me, it was always something I did once or twice every few months and that was it. I can’t stop….”

 

Cutting does nothing to address the emotional turmoil you have been experiencing. In reality, it makes it worse. There are many coping strategies that can provide healthy long-term relief of these symptoms and a therapist trained in this area would be able to teach them to you. It would also be an opportunity to help you identify any underlying issues and address them. This is not something you can do on your own. How would you feel if someone you really cared about was hurting and they shut you out? Let your family and friends in, it will make you and them feel better.

 

If you get to the point that you are considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 9-1-1 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 Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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