I was perusing the Internet to see what hip new resources are out there for “kids” who cut. There were a lot of superficial one-pagers on health sites offering “advice” for questions that kids who cut ask like, how do I stop cutting? Why do I cut? Where do I get help? and so on.
As a recovering cutter (we’re always recovering–it’s a long-life battle), I was a bit dismayed. There wasn’t a lot of great info out there for those who desperately need to know there’s hope–that, yes, you don’t have to use the razor tonight, feel ashamed when you wake up tomorrow, and feel that familiar sting as you clean the dried blood off your arms with antiseptic. Maybe you thought this was the time you cut so deep you wouldn’t wake up (or hoped you wouldn’t) or you wonder if a staph infection will set in and kill you outright. If you’re a cutter, recovering or active, know that there is hope tonight.
You can be His, bought with His blood, healed because of His wounds, and loved because He Is Love. He desperately wants to show you how beautiful you are, to care for you, and to heal you from this habit that’s taken over your life. All you have to do is ask. Let Him takes these crimson ashes of shame and trade them for a crown of beauty.
That being said, there are also a lot of mean people out there who think that cutting is some sort of hilarious joke. I’m 28 and started this deplorable practice when I was 14. I spent half my life battling this demon that wants to tell me I’m not good enough, pretty enough, worthy enough–that I’m just not enough. There’s nothing amusing or “emo” about it, at least not for me.
True, cutting is sort of “trendy” these days, but back when I was in high school; it didn’t even have a name and no one knew how to treat it. Being one of the most difficult disorders to treat because cutting is the symptom of a deeper, darker issue, it’s a practice I wish teens would give up entirely. Don’t do it because your friends do it or to be emo or to write bloody poetry. When you turn 28, you’ll look at your scars with shame, wishing you could be that 14 year-old kid again–this time I’d throw the pink Lady Bic into the trash, and go on my merry way. But I realized that four years too late, and have wrestled with it since. I suppose if people want to mock, they can mock. I just hoped to enlighten their ignorance.
Another “trendy” thing for cutters to do is ban together and support one another by posting pictures and being “proud” of their cutting. In fact, I found one site that has a “cutting challenge” each week. You can post pictures. I moved right along to another sad, slightly sadder, where people would announce that they cut, the extent of the injuries, and that they were sad. Others would offer *hugs* and what not. Then a few days later, the same person would post the same comment and it would happen over and over and over again. A cycle of cutting, gratification, and cutting.
I have a book here on my desk called Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut by Marv Penner. It’s due out next month and I’m supposed to write a review for Backseat Writer. I hope Penner won’t let me down and I’ll have a great resource I can recommend others that will offer good insight, real advice, and not the usual cookie cutter answers. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, dears, please know that I don’t know who you are, why you cut, or how you wandered upon this post, but I am praying for you right now. I am praying that you fight the urge, find the strength, and maybe change the course of your life. Hope is just around the corner and love is right here waiting for you in a God who loves you and wants to heal ALL your wounds, not just the ones on the outside.
If you want to know God personally, here’s a link to help you get started. Or please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. Vulgar e-mails/comments will be ignored and deleted. I’ve also written a bit on this topic, including resources for parents and youth workers. Please e-mail me if you’re interested in any of these materials.