March 01, 2007

According to ASHIC, today is National Self-Injury Awareness Day. Folks are supposed to wear orange bracelets to support the awareness of this terrible societal practice. This says about 1% of the population practice self-injury. The majority of these are teens or young adults.

My concern for this started back in 2002, when I was dating an ex-cutter. He told of how he used to use a pocketknife to cut his upper arms. I started to research the reasonings behind doing this and what I found was disturbing.
The internet articles I read said that people who cut themselves were trying to gain control over their pain. If they can focus on the physical pain, they can block out emotional or mental anguish. This made sense to me. Supposedly, if you can't verbally express your pain, you have use some other outlet.

One sign that someone is a self-injurer is that they will wear long sleeve shirts, even in the summer. What they hope for most and what they dread most is that someone will discover their hidden secret.

If you are a cutter or want to know more about this practice, there is a lot of great information. The TEEN HEALTH website has a good article click here.

There are some young adult novels that have been written about this.

  • Cut by Patricia McCormick

  • Drowning Anna by Sue Mayfield: This is the only one of the three I have read. It is the story of a girl who is tormented so much at school by a bully that she begins to cut herself. It does a good job getting the cutter's perspetive.

  • Blade Silver: Color me Scarred by Melody Carlson: This is written by a Christian author and also does a good job telling the victim's story with a non-judgmental attitude.

I will never forget what I learned from dating a cutter and hope that anyone who does this practice will stop and get help. It can become an addiction and even kill you.

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