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Cutting, I just don't get it :(

My 13 year old niece is in the hospital for cutting her legs. Cutting is a new concept for me so I read a little bit about it. I understand that she's depressed and that life isn't perfect. I even understand why she feels that way, and agree with her. What I don't understand is she would decide to pick up a knife and cut herself! She's not suicidal, so it's not that she's flirting with death.
Where does cutting come from? I've been depressed about things in life and have never had the urge or thought to slice and dice my body parts. How does it even cross their minds? Please help me to understand!

P.S. I'm anon to protect the identity of my niece.

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:48 PM on Mar. 8, 2010 in Teens (13-17)

Answers (21)
  • I don't either because I haven't been there but I believe it is a cry for help. She feels alone and needs attention.

    Answer by txdaniella at 9:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • When you are dealing with depression your mind does not work the same way as someone who is not depressed. I was diagnosed Bipolar about 10 years ago My mind would not shut off and when it did I was in a very dark place. When you are in such a depression you will do anything to regain control, even hurt yourself. When you are depressed your brain is not getting the right amount of chemicals to make you think rationally. When someone cuts they get a release of endoprhins that allow the depression to not seem as bad. It is all about controling something. It is a hard road your niece is going down and she will need all the love and support you can give with out judgement. It is hard for those who hvent been through it to understand, but all you need to do is love her.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:55 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • Like previous poster said, it's a release. As they feel the pain, and see the blood, it makes them feel somewhat normal again for a short period of time.

    Answer by FinleyFirst at 10:00 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • A lot of people do it because it is something that they can control about their lives. Plus it turns emotional pain into physical pain that goes away. I have never done it but I have a lot of friends that have. Some people do it because they want attention but most do it where the scars or cuts can't be seen unless they are naked.


    Answer by JAIRATRACI at 10:05 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • Well as a former cutter I can give you my reasons for why I did it. This may not apply to her or it may. I used to cut because it was a physical release of the internal pain I was feeling. I felt that if I physically hurt myself it would make the feelings I was having go away. To a degree it worked. It was pretty much putting a bandaid over a gaping hole. It would hold out for awhile but the next day or so I would be right where I was before. It is a call for help because in many ways a lot of us can't verbalize what is going on in our heads cause to be honest many times it confuses us more than it does outsiders.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:06 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • I don't get it at all either but these seem to be good responses as far as an explanation goes. It seems extreme to me. What I want to know is are all these cutters bipolar or just depressed?

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 10:07 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • From what I understand it is to feel physical pain of emotional pain. It is a way to CONTROL the pain and the situation(s) when you can't control anything else. She was feeling out of control, like everything was in disarray. She was hurting emotionally and this was her escape. Sometimes it can give a "euphoric" high for a short time... kind of like a "drug of choice", she was self-medicating on pain.
    She CAN get through this, but she will need support and healthier ways to express her emotions... whether she gets involved with something or is given something that she CAN control. She DOES need counseling, and it will take time... but she needs support, not criticism.

    Answer by missbreezy214 at 10:11 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • As a former cutter I can agree that it is a release but it's also about control. Many times when I cut it was because it was the one thing in my life that I could control,I could control if I cut, where I cut, how painful (pain varies depending on location), and how much blood would come out. When I cut it was like taking a deep breath of fresh air, it was an out, it was almost as if for that moment I was escaping my body...Unfortunatly it's something that isn't discussed enough because not many people know or understand it.

    Answer by CuteandCurvy at 10:11 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • Jeanclaudia-- it can be a multitude of things... depression, bipolar, anxiety, personality disorders... some kids even just do it b/c it is "cool" (i think that there are other issues at hand though... there is a reason they would do that to feel "cool"). It can be anything where you are out of control or having emotional pain. People deal with things differently.... holing up at home, spending to much time with friends, computer addiction, drug or alcohol addiction, cutting, anorexia or bullemia (more than JUST a body image problem many times), running away from home, deserting their families, promiscuity, and suicide attempt/completion.

    Answer by missbreezy214 at 10:15 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • I was a cutter- but for me it was more of a way to sort of punish myself. If I didn't get the chores done and my mom would be pisssed, I would cut because I felt stupid and like I deserved it -if that makes sense. I eventually stopped on my own but not until after my mother saw it was mad I was doing it...
    My daughter is a cutter and in therapy. She has come a long way but still has a day here or there where she will cut.

    I hope she gets the help she needs and learns other ways of coping.

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 10:29 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

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