Learn more about teen cutters from former teen cutters' points-of-view and you may be surprised to learn that there are different ways to deal with teen cutters. If you are a teen cutter, their tips will help you overcome the urge to cut.
Jaime, who is 17 years old, started cutting herself when she was 12. After several hospitalizations and placements in various residential-treatment programs, Jaime was sent to L.A.-based Vista Del Mar, the nation's first residential-treatment program for adolescents who cut themselves. Today, she is back home. Jaime, who has stopped cutting herself, continues to do well, but has to work hard every day to control her urge to self-injure.
Here, Jaime offers these tips to help others overcome the same urge that drove her to self-injure.
- Do something creative with your hands. Try painting, or making a collage. If you're not feeling creative, do some cleaning. Just keep your hands busy.
- Go for a walk. This will enable you to take a break from people and think. But be sure that you are "safe", that is, not carrying anything with you to cut.
- Watch a favorite movie or TV show. For me, something fun or inspirational lessens the need to hurt myself.
- Play with your pets. If you don't have a pet, maybe you should get one!
- Remember: It's alright to cry. Crying doesn't mean you're weak.
The following are tips from Michelle, 16, who had been cutting herself for two years before she arrived at Vista Del Mar, a non-profit treatment facility in Los Angeles, where she has been a resident for almost a year. Michelle is said to be making progress as she continues to work hard in a program developed by the facility's clinical director, Andrew Levander.
Here, Michelle offers these five tips to help others overcome the drive to cut themselves.
- Listen to music. It's easily accessible and you don't need to involve anyone else. Just listen and try to be calm.
- Communicate your feelings. Tell someone you trust how you are feeling. Tell them that you think that you want to cut yourself. You don't have to tell them why you're feeling this way; it's enough to tell them that you are feeling this way. If they ask questions you don't want to answer, tell them you can't answer them right now.
- Start a journal. This is a place where you can write your secrets and not have to actually tell anyone. Write in the journal as often as you need to.
- Share your secrets. Confide in someone that you trust, but only when you feel that it's safe enough.
- Be ready ... and willing to take risks with being open to others.