Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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My daughter is 14 years old and a freshman in high school. At such a young age, she already knows several kids who “cut”. Being a teen of the 80’s, “cutting” was not a thing, as I recall. Call me old, but I had to do a little research to learn what the hell this cutting thing is all about and why are so many kids jumping on the “slice and dice” bandwagon.
The Mayo Clinic offered this definition: CUTTING/SELF MUTILATION — Self-injury, also called self-harm, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It’s typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
Is their more emotional pain, anger and frustration in 2014 than there was in 1984? If so, what has changed? School? Status? Parents? Social media?
I remember feeling awkward a lot in high school and the burning desire to be a stellar athlete or a beautiful cheerleader and “fit in”. Plenty of nights burning the midnight oil, studying my ass off, to get an A on Mrs. Parkers Honors English tests. I was never a partier and the worst thing any of my friends did was smoke some pot or drink occasionally. I only participated in the latter—too afraid of drugs, I guess. I realize that my daughter and her friends are not me. They live in a different “teenage” world than I did and I need to be up to speed on what’s happening in their world. Open, empathetic and supportive!
Cutting — a trend or a real problem?
We’re swimming in self help books and Youtube videos and inspirational quotes and memes are flying out of our butts faster than we can blink and, yet, kids have decided that cutting themselves is the way to cope? There are actually parents who know about it and choose to ignore it. This is mind-blowing to me. Should this be considered a phase that they’ll grow out of? Do parents ignore it because they just don’t know what to do about it?
Is social media to blame?
Some kids spend more time on their phones than they do participating in real life. The emotion that is inserted into each text and the “conversations” that are had without anyone ever uttering a single word create more drama than efficient or effective communication. Ingenious innovation meant to revolutionize communication…indeed!
The saddest part is, cutting doesn’t fix anything! As Bob Newhart so famously said during the hilarious SNL “self help” skit: “Stop it!” There are healthier ways to cope and conquer the stresses of teendom.
We need some skills people! For our kids and ourselves. What are the best resources? How can we help these kids or our friends who cut? All suggestions welcome!
Stay sane, my friends.
(photo from istockphoto.com)
Recent article from US News http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/02/28/what-to-do-if-your-child-is-cutting
I became a cutter when I was 21 years old and suffering from severe depression. The idea came to mind out of no where. I was ashamed to have had the thought because I looked down at cutters. I could not understand why a person would purposely hurt themselves. The thought would not go away and several months later, I decided I would try cutting as a way to deal with my life. For me, cutting is a coping mechanism It allows me to feel in control of my life. It also helps me to put my mental pain into something I can understand. After several months of cutting, I thought about what I was doing and realized I should not deal with my problems that way. But by then, it was too late. Cutting is an addiction and unfortunately at 24 years old, I am still a cutter.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Are you doing anything else to ease your depression? Meds, therapy, etc? I, too, have suffered from depression and have found light at the end of the rainbow with Prozac, exercise, a coach and practicing self love every day. You?
I cut for a few years in high school and college. I still deal with depression and anxiety. And even though I don’t cut anymore, there’s other negative coping mechanisms I still fight like alcohol and emotional eating. I took meds for a short time in high school,(wellbutrin), and I saw a therapist for a while a year or two ago. And even though I quit going for various reasons, it was really beneficial and I would recommend it.
For me, I have to make a deliberate decision to deal with whatever I’m feeling and face it and not try to escape it. I’ve written poetry for a long time to deal with it and that’s my main go-to for dealing with stuff. So when I’m fighting stuff and feeling that want to drink or stuff my face, and if I don’t want to pick another way to cope like writing…I sometimes make myself just sit in it and feel whatever it is. Because it’ll go away eventually, it always does, but sometimes it just takes longer if I’m stubborn and don’t want to find a healthier way of dealing with it.
I don’t even know where I initially got it. I just tried it one day and liked it. I found other people online that did it after a while.