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The Horrendous Act of Cutting or Self Injury

“I lower the blade to the pale skin on the inside of my arm, and using a sharp corner of the blade, I quickly make a two-inch slash. I know not to go too deep. And when I’m in control, like now, I can do it just right. And just like that, I’m done. I hardly feel the pain of the cut at all. It’s like it doesn’t even hurt.”

“I watch with familiar fascination as the blood oozes out in a clean, straight line. There is something reassuring about seeing my bright-red blood exposed like this. It’s like this sign that I’m still alive and, weird as it sounds, that someday everything will be okay.”

Though this is the story of a fictional character, Ruth Wallace (teen novel written by Melody Carlson: Blade Silver), this dangerous act of self injury is on a rise in USA as well as other countries.

Technically, cutting means the intentional use of sharp objects like razor, knife, pins, broken glass etc by teenagers (especially girls) to create cuts on their arms, legs, or other body parts as an outlet for emotional pain or to interrupt strong emotions and pressures which seem impossible to tolerate. It is a type of self injury which usually starts in teen age and if it becomes an addiction it might continue into adulthood also.

Negative emotions like rage, sorrow, rejection, desperation, longing, or emptiness can all lead to this horrendous act because this gives a false signal to the teenager that this might help them cope with pain of troubled relationships or unbearable pressures or strong emotions. Teenagers who think that they are an unfit for the society or that no one understands them often become easy targets of this act. Cutting might also be the outcome of loss of someone close or an escape from emptiness or due to subjection to sexual abuse.

The danger doesn’t end here. Self injury is sometimes associated with depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive thinking, or compulsive behaviors. People who take on to it might be victims of other mental health problems which force them to take such drastic steps. Cutters might also get involved in other self-destructive behaviors like drug or alcohol abuse.

Dangers can go beyond physical and mental damage because it’s not always possible to judge the depth of the cut. If the cut becomes deep it might lead to stitches or hospitalization. If non sterile instruments are used it might lead to infections also. Moreover, it can become a compulsive behavior (habit forming). The more a person engages in it, the more he or she feels the need to do it.

Let’s try and control this epidemic which is spreading at a rapid pace because this action might give a temporary high but its scares are permanent and will haunt you and your child forever.

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