Cutting and self harm : The reality of it all…

I sincerely apologize for my lack of posts in the past month, I was sometimes sick and sometimes just out of areas with net access, and had a bit of an accident. But what I’m talking about here is serious. I recently read a lot of books about depression, self harm and this is what I would like to say today.

Cutting. It’s a practice that is foreign, frightening, to people who don’t know what it really stands for. It is not a suicide attempt, though it may look and seem that way. Cutting is a form of self-injury – the person is literally making small cuts on his or her body, usually the arms and legs. It’s difficult for many people to understand. Psychologists say, cutting helps people control their emotional pain.

Contrary to popular belief and public opinion, cutting is not typically an attempt at suicide or long-term self-harm. One of the most common misconceptions is that self-injury is the same thing as suicide. Suicide is the intentional act of killing one’s self. Suicide is a purposeful end to one’s life, while self-injury is most typically performed as an act of self-preservation, an act to sustain life. In basic terms, self-injury is a method of coping.Rather, it is an immediate reaction to stress that provides release for the person who cuts. It can be a way to gain control of our feelings and emotions when they can’t seem to reel them in. They are able to determine the type and amount of pain they feel, instead of letting it emotionally take advantage of them.


Self-injury generally provides temporary relief to intense emotional pain. Suicide is obviously a permanent solution to emotional and/or physical suffering. The damage done from self-injurious behaviors typically does not require medical intervention and is rarely lethal. Most of the people who intentionally hurt themselves never seek medical treatment and keep their injuries hidden. Those who attempt suicide often need medical intervention and the results of the suicide attempt are intended to be lethal.

It is scary and it is serious, so just how common is it? Much more common than it used to be. Studies from the 1990’s suggested rates of 3% or lower. But more recent studies suggest that as many as one in five girls between 10 and 18 years of age are now cutting themselves with razor blades or burning themselves with matches, etc. For example, researchers at Yale University recently reported(link is external) that 56% of the 10- to 14-year-old girls they interviewed reported engaging in self harm at some point in their lifetime, including 36% in the past year.
Lets just make some facts clear :
Why Do People Cut Themselves?
Most people cut themselves to try to cope with an even deeper emotional pain.

There is so much confusion around the horrific addiction of cutting. It’s hard for some people to understand why you, or someone you know, would repeatedly cut on purpose. With this blog, I want to break through the confusion”and help those who practice cutting as a way of life. I’ve heard a lot of people say, Why would anyone do such a thing as purposely cause pain to their bodies?

A popular blogger says: I used to cut because I felt like it was the only way to feel something other than the hurt and confusion and self-hate that was driving me insane. I would cut because I hated myself so much that I wanted to tear myself to pieces.


As I have talked with hundreds of cutters, one major reason emerges over and over again: If you or anybody you know is cutting, please understand cutting is just a cruel symptom of something much deeper and painful going on inside.



A cutter said she’s been doing it for 7 years. I was sexually abused by someone very close to me. I started cutting because I always thought that what happened was my fault. I have never gotten over it so I used to cope with any problem I had by cutting. Taking it out on myself was so much easier than figuring out what to do emotionally.

Most cutter’s ability to cope with life is overwhelmed by powerful emotions or extreme pressure that seem too intense to bear.

When these emotions aren’t dealt with, tension builds up. Cutting can feel like a release of this tension. Another cutter says, cutting is a way for her to deal with her pain: It’s an escape from reality.No matter how temporary it is it’s a relief to escape all the pain.

Most cutters have never had any healthy emotional relationships, which leaves them without the ability to be able to express their pain to others. Without the words or outlet to express their emotional pain, they give in to a short cut”a destructive physical expression toward herself.

A popular author said cutting is her first reaction when she feels disappointment or difficulty. When I fail a test, when I get in a fight, when I am called a mean name, or when anything bad happens the first thought is to cut. It is horrible and I always fall back on it.

By harming yourself you never really are able to confront your deepest feelings.

The physical pain has a calming effect on her more agonizing emotional pain. Cutting is the treating of one pain with another. A cutter’s life is one of choices between one kind of pain or a much greater one. Popular cutter opinion is: It feels good when you have physical pain to take away from your emotional pain.
Mayo Clinic Describes reasons for self harm and reasons for cutting as :

Through self-injury, the person may be trying to:

  • Manage or reduce severe distress or anxiety and provide a sense of relief
  • Provide a distraction from painful emotions through physical pain
  • Feel a sense of control over his or her body, feelings or life situations
  • Feel something — anything — even if it’s physical pain, when feeling emotionally empty
  • Express internal feelings in an external way
  • Communicate depression or distressful feelings to the outside world
  • Be punished for perceived faults

The problem with cutting, as with any addiction, is that by harming yourself you never really are able to confront your deepest feelings. Perhaps that is you. You are using cutting to try to cope with an even deeper emotional pain. It is hard to say no to something that feels so good. But in the end, cutting will fail you every time.
SO go out, talk it out. Be with people who understand, if not understand, listen at least. For the friends and relatives of people who cut, you need to be absolutely accepting of the facts that your friend is a cutter and then head towards dealing with the why. If you start antagonizing, or blaming and accusing cutters of why they do what they do, they will distance yourself from you, and that’s the worst thing to do, because you’re not thinking about what they need but what you want and subsequently lessening the people he/she can talk to. If they opened up to you, its a big deal. Deal with it accordingly, don’t make them feel worse.

Songs to get you through : 

  • Greenday : 21 Guns
  • Mumford and Sons : Ghosts that we knew
  • The Beatles : Hey Jude/Dear Prudence (my personal favourites)
  • The Fray : Look After You
  • Guns and Roses : November Rain
  • Opeth : In my Time of Need

Source References:



Published by darshitajain

artist | poet | journalist | human

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: