I've Been Self-Cutting For Two Months

Published: June 15, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I have been cutting my wrists for about 2 months now. Recently lots of people at school found out and are giving me a hard time as they don't believe I lead a hard enough life to have the need to cut however the 'me' they see at school is a complete act where i am confident, happy and always smiling. I cut when I'm overwhelmingly stressed. I am a high achiever at school and am in all top sets. I am also very sporty and the captain of many teams. This results in a lot of pressure being put on me, not only from myself but also by my teachers and coaches. My peers also have an expectation of me to do well and create a big drama if I have a slight drop in ability at any given moment. The stress causes me to not sleep and hardly eat and a few of my teachers and coaches are beginning to worry about me to the point where my favorite teacher wouldn't let me leave their office without having some food. Obviously, this lack of sleep and food has caused my concentration to lapse and my confidence to drop significantly causing a downward spiral. I am beginning to struggle in lessons, which is annoying my teachers, and my skill levels have significantly dropped, so much so, I am at risk of being dropped from teams. Many people have told me that when you stress you are supposed to eat more, not less and they don't understand why I can't eat without being sick. I really don't know what to do about everything. I don't want to see a counselor as I will get bullied, my parents are already cross enough as it is with me at the moment purely from the fact that I do cut and I don't want to burden my teachers or friends with my problems. So what do I do, because it's making me more upset to be like this but I can't stop it?
Signed: I've Been Self-Cutting For Two Months

Dear I've Been Self-Cutting For Two Months,

TeenHealthFX is very sorry to hear that the pressure you are under, and how alone you are feeling in dealing with it, has gotten you to the point where you are self-cutting. There are many contributing factors to self-cutting, one of which is not feeling heard. And it sounds like there are many ways in which you feel that people around you are not really hearing you in terms of understanding what you are going through.

FX would also like to point out that when people are angry, depressed, anxious or stressed, it can affect things liking eating habits and sleeping habits. However, the specific effect is not the same for everyone. Some people eat more when dealing with negative emotions and some people eat less. The main thing to look at is whether eating or sleeping habits have changed.

As for where to go from here, TeenHealthFX thinks that it is very important for you to seek out professional help from a reputable private therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. If you are seeing someone privately, there is no reason why you peers should have to know about it in terms of possible giving you a hard time about it. But it is important for you to find someone warm and non-judgmental to talk to so that you can have a safe, private space where you can feel heard. It is also important for you to be talking to someone about the issues you are dealing with that have been contributing to the self-cutting, as well as developing alternate ways in which to cope with these difficult issues and situations.

If your parents are reluctant to get you into therapy, then please let someone at school know (such as a teacher, counselor, or principal) so that they can intervene on your behalf. FX can appreciate that you are concerned about burdening others with your problems. It sounds to FX like you are very other-focused, which means you tend to the needs and feelings of others above your own. That said, FX invites you to use this opportunity to prioritize your needs right now to ensure you are getting the help, support and guidance you need so that you are not feeling so alone and stressed out. Your needs matter, too.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

You can also click here for a list of hotline and website resources for teens.

Signed: TeenHealthFX