You might be shocked to learn that as many as one in five people suffer from cutting or “non-suicidal self-injury.” The issue often goes unnoticed because it’s easy to hide beneath clothing, so even loved ones might not realize it’s happening.
Cutting is defined as the intentional, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue. Cutters are not trying to kill themselves, instead, the pain of their wounds helps them to feel alive because pain actually releases endorphins.
While the end goal is not to kill one’s self, many things can go wrong in the process. Cutting can put you in the hospital. You could accidentally severe a main vein or artery, and there’s also the risk of infection.
It’s a risky vice that can leave permanent scars on the body.
One girl’s therapist had a great idea to help her stop cutting. Instead of cutting, the therapist suggested drawing on her skin. The artsy coping mechanism worked so well for her, that she took to the Internet to share her skin doodles.
“My therapist told me instead of hurting myself I should draw something pretty were [sic] I want to cut,” a-better-m-e wrote.
“This is the result. And it works, honestly. If you’re struggling with self harm I really recommend this.”
She warns not to use a pen because that can hurt you, instead use a marker.
Since posting her newfound coping mechanism, she has enjoyed 92 days without cutting.
“Sure, I had some slip ups at the beginning but I’m 92 days clean now,” she shared.
Being open and honest about her struggles on social media helped her as well. “All of the love I got from y’all certainly helped too!”
In addition, she hopes that her personal struggles and story of recovery helps other people who are struggling with self-destructive habits.
Others have chimed in with helpful advice of their own, such as how to draw the pattern method known as Zentanlge, which is said to be particularly helpful for people who struggle with cutting.
Zentangle is a form of non-representational and unplanned art that allows the drawer to “focus on each stroke and not worry about the result. There is no up or down to Zentangle art. If fact, you can most easily create Zentangle art by rotating your tile as you tangle — always keeping your hand in a relaxed position,” according to Zentangle.com.
“You just need to know the steps. The result is a delightful surprise.”
You can see examples of Zentangle below…
Many people who have experienced self-harm have come out in praise of this method.
Self-harm affects a much wider portion of the population than often assumed. Men and women of all ages struggle with self-harm.
Cutting most commonly begins when one is a tween or teenager, between the ages of twelve and fourteen. In the US, 7 percent of teenagers say they have cut, burned, or deliberately injured themselves in some way in the last year.
Cutting isn’t the only form of self-harm. Banging one’s head against the wall, hair pulling, burning, and carving words or symbols into the skin all count as different types of self-harm.
There are four main reasons that people fall prey to self-harm:
1. Physical pain helps dull emotional pain
Emotional pain can be much harder to deal with than anything physical. Cutters often call the act of cutting a release or escape from pressure.
This produces an association in the brain, in which an individual will associate the act of cutting with feeling better, and this creates a powerful craving to cut that can be hard to deny. Like any craving or addiction, one needs an alternative action to help resist the temptation and redirect their energy.
2. Those who self-injure are generally harder on themselves and undergo a lot of self-criticism.
A 2012 study found that self-criticism was more likely to cause self-injury as opposed to other more indirect forms of self-harm such as drinking, drug abuse or eating disorders.
3. It offers a way to feel something other than numbness.
Many people feel numb, especially after experiencing trauma.
4. It offers a way to experience negative emotions, which might seem like something you’d want to avoid, but that’s not always the case.
For instance, if a child is raised in a home where sadness or disappointment is not permitted, cutting offers an “acceptable” way to feel pain. Since they can’t express their emotional pain, they let it out physically.
h/t: Bored Panda