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Self-Injury and Suicide


by Kevin Caruso

Cynthia is a 15-year-old high school student who is doing quite well. She is a very special person and I am very lucky to have her as a friend. (I love you Cynthia!)

But Cynthia was not doing very well a couple years ago.

Cynthia was 13, deeply depressed, suicidal, and engaging in a dangerous activity that many depressed teens engage in Ė self-mutilation.

Her parents divorced, she was having difficulties with her school work, and she had lost many friends because of her depression.

She felt lost, alone, confused, and extremely sad.

She did not know how to cope and she kept her feelings bottled up insideÖshe just wanted to die.

She was overwhelmed.

So she began cutting herself with a razor blade.

The self-mutilation continued day after day, and she hid her cuts and scars under her clothing.

She also cut her wrists, and wore sweatbands to hide those cuts.

Cynthia was in such great pain that she believed that the cutting was a good thing. Although it caused physical pain, she believed that it helped her escape.

She told me that it was similar to taking a drug.

Of course, the cutting was making things MUCH worse for her. Every time she cut herself, she was harming her body and deepening her depression.

Sadly, she did not reach out for treatment Ė and MANY teens do not reach out for treatment. I want to quote the EXACT words that Cynthia spoke to me about why she did not get treatment. She states what innumerable other teens who cut feel. This is what she said:

ďI didn't have any treatment because I didn't think that anyone would understand what I was talking about. And I felt that if I did get any help I would be a really weak person and be really ashmamed of myself.Ē

Please re-read that statement above several times. It speaks volumes about the feelings of someone who self-mutilates.

Before I continue, I want to talk directly to anyone who is self-mutilating and let you know that you are not alone. There IS help available for you. And you can get that help fast.

People WILL understand you.

And there is NOTHING to be ashamed of.

Reaching out for help is the first step of your recovery process.

Please do something for me right now if you need help -- Ask for help!

Do not be afraid. If you are in the United States, please call 1-800-DONTCUT.

Please do so right now. Go ahead. You can come back to this later. I will be here when you come back. Please make that call now.

If you are not in the United States, please ask someone you trust for help. If that person doesnít understand -- ask someone else for help.

KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU GET THE HELP THAT YOU NEED.

Please go ask for help now.

I love you and I care about you and I want you to get help. If you will not do it for yourself, please do it for me.

Thank you.

Please go for help NOW.

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Cynthia kept a diary during her period of self-mutilation. She has shared many of her entries with me, and has been gracious enough to allow me to share some of those entries with you.

Here are some of those entries, written when she was 13 years old, and when she was on the brink of suicide. (The entries are not in chronological order, and entries from separate days are separated by dotted lines. Please note that grammatical errors and misspellings were left intact):

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Everything hurts so much inside and my thoughts are so overwhelming yet so distant, whirling about and never leaving meÖ I argue with my rational self and the self thatís really hurting and doesnít want to carry on anymore. I do cut myself. I donít cut to die, I donít cut for attention, I cut because it makes me feel better for just a few minutes. Itís like a drug- instant relief. Everythingís okay for a while. The world stands still and my mind feels cleared. Itís difficult to explain. I want to cry so badly sometimes, and I canítÖand I literally ache inside; the feeling is unbearable and when I cut myself some of the pressure and hurt from inside is released. I know itís stupid; I know itís wrong, but sometimes itís the only thing that gets me through.

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Everything seems to be so crazy at the moment. Like, everythings spinning out of my control. I dont feel like I can do anything in my life anymrore, without it going wrong. Nobody really understands why I cut myself. Maybe I don't either. It's like, I'm punishing myself. And as I see the blood fall onto the floor its like, I've paid my price now. I've done my bit. I've like, equaled it all out.

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To be honest I think it's pretty funny. The fact that I can sit up in the bathroom cutting up my wrists, shove on my sweat band, clean up the blood and then just casually jst walk back down the stairs to my family and none of them noticing a thing. Crazy really. Stupidly crazy.

------------------------------------

So, it's me again. Nope, not dead yet. surprised? Hahaha. Yeah, me to. I dont know why I want to die really. It pretty crazy. Why would anyone want to leave this amazing life? Hahaha, who am I kidding? This life isn't great. It's all a game. One big messed up game. Nobody cares about anybody.

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I feel so alone. So stupidly scared. But what there to be scared of? Isn't death suposed to be the worst tjing in the world? Ha! Not to me. Can't wait. It's a gift. Who would to stay on this planet any longer than they need to?

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There's nothing left for me anymore. How can this be happening to me? After everything we've been through? How could he do this to me? I feel so useless. So betrayed. So hurt. Empty. Stupid. Dumb. Angry. But I'm mainly scared. Scared of being alone again. Scared of the fact that I've been hurt so much and I can still forgive. Scared of what the future brings. Scared of what people will say. I pretend so much that I dont care about what people think of me. But I do. All I want is to be accepted. Accepted for who I am. I am who I am, not what other people want me to be. Why doesn't anybody understand? I'm so alone. It's always going to be like this. I give someone all my trust and let me down. I'll just have to deal with it...my way.

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I was always looking for way out of life. Someway to end everything I had. Just to leave my soul. That was what I needed. And as those black tears fell onto my mangled up wrists, I called your name. I hated myself for doing this, but I couldnít stop. I only wanted to be a new person. Letting the blood drip from my wrist may not have been the best way do it.

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You say you wanna see into my soul. You say you wanna understand me. But how can you? When I donít understand myself. Why am I here on this planet? Whatís my purpose? No, don't be stupid. There isn't one

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Iíve built up this barrier around me. So I wonít get hurt. I cover my emotion. I block my feelings. If I tell you how I feel you could hurt me so bad. But now Iíve let you in and thereís no going back now. You could kill me so easily. You could damage me more than I could hurt myself. Youíre the first person Iíve let into my head. Donít let me down. Please. All i want is to be loved.

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So this is it? This is my life? This is my time thatís ending tonight? Iíve made my mistakes, I tried to live right. And tonight we celebrate the end, of this life. And we sing. So please donít cry yourself to sleep at night. Coz I will wait on the other side.

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So you come along, I push you away. Then kick and scream for you to stay. Coz I need someone to help me. Will you help me? Will you?

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You have wings of STEEL. No one's really sure why, but at this point in your life you've shut off emotion to the point of extreme apathy. You are cold and indifferent much of the time...or perhaps you're just a good pretender. Next to impossible to get close to, even those who do never see the real you. It's entirely possible that YOU don't even know the real you. You have a certain fascination or attraction to destruction on a massive scale - disasters, perhaps even death or the concept of the Apocalypse. Because you hold so much inside, one day you're simply going to snap. Then the mask will fall away, and your true wings will be revealed. Until then you will deal with whatever comes your way in icy bitter silence and acceptance. On the positive side, you are fearless and immeasurably strong Ė not much can crack through your defences. You intrigue people, who can't help but wonder why you're the way you are. A loner and one who spends much of their time brooding and contemplating life and death - you are a time bomb waiting to explode and create some destruction of your own.

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Below are two poems that Cynthia wrote during the time she was self-mutilating:

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Should I compare your love to death?
Cold, Bitter, Cruel, Warped and twisted
Youíre mysterious
I can drown in your eyes
And get lost in your embrace
Love and death are evil;
Just a messed up game, foolís play
And one day your life will come crashing down,
Because you killed me
You cut up my heart
And hung my head
So why play messed up games?
Why kill me painfully?
Just let me die, silently and screamingÖ

YOUR PASSION SEEKS NO FEAR.

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This cold mind of mine produces only pain
A place were all are welcome, especially the insane
This twisted brain I got stuck with
It only wants to receive and not give
And now Iím lying on this blood stained rug
Dieing cruel, bitter and warped
So basically Iím a bad person!
But who gives a crap
Let me die and lets celebrate

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If you are in the United States and need help for self-mutilation and self-cutting, please call 1-800-DONTCUT.

And if you are not in the United States, please ask someone for help.

And PLEASE get that help now.

Thank you.

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We all need to be aware of the BIG problem of self-mutilation with teens (and adults), and thus we need to watch for warning signs. If a friend of loved one has many cuts or scars that seem out of the ordinary, then you need to get help for that person. Period.

Also watch for people who cover many parts of their body in ways that may not make sense, and thus may be hiding cuts and scars.

If you are a student and believe a fellow student is self-mutilating, you MUST tell teachers and administrators at school. It is VERY SERIOUS. Please do not hesitate to speak up.

Self-mutilation can never be a secret.

Cynthia is now doing very well. And I am VERY proud of this outstanding, intelligent, wonderful person!

She wanted me to let people who self-mutilate know that they MUST reach out for help, and MUST express their feelings.

She realizes that is was a BIG mistake that she did not reach out for help.

This is what Cynthia told me:

"I honestly think that the best way to stop harming yourself it to tell people you trust and you know care about you. It really helps to be able to talk to someone about everything thats going on in your head and it makes you much stronger. And you feel better to know that its not all building up inside you. Having someone to talk to when you feel bad is great. I seriosuly don't think that if my friends hadn't found out that I had been cutting myself I wouldn't be here today."

Well said, Cynthia.

Notice that Cynthia points out that you MUST talk to someone about what is going on in your head.

Again, if you are self-mutilating, please talk with someone you trust NOW. Please get help NOW. And PLEASE make sure that you get treatment.

We want you to get better.


If you self-injure and need help, please immediately call 1-800-DONTCUT, and make appointments with a doctor and a therapist.

God bless you.

I love you.

Take care,

Kevin Caruso
Suicide.org
Founder, Executive Director, Editor-in-Chief
(Self Injury Help.com is a Suicide.org website.)



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