From a teen in the U.S.: For the last three years, I never felt right. I started to cut myself because I wanted to punish myself because I hated myself. I am a very insecure person and I have never like one thing about myself. I was able to stop for awhile but when something emotionally threatening occurs, I can’t help but to hurt myself.
I am currently in a relationship and when my boyfriend gets around this specific group of girls it really bothers me and he makes me feel so terrible about myself. I feel ugly, worthless, stupid, and like a dead woman walking sometimes. I don’t feel completely satisfied with life but nothing excites me. I have always wondered how I could end my life but I am too scared to. Other times I feel fine, and question what was going through my head.
I saw a therapist for a short time but couldn’t afford it. He mentioned that I could be depressed but I never opened up to him fully. I don’t trust people with my feelings. I have a good life and an amazing family who loves me very much. I don’t know what could possibly be so wrong inside me to where I hurt myself and day dream of ways I could die.
I have taken quizzes that have given me results that I have a high risk of depression, high risk of bipolar disorder, and moderate risk for anxiety. Sometimes I believe I could be living with a mental illness and other times I just think I am being dramatic.
I don’t want people to ever see my cuts especially my parents. I just can’t seem to help myself. Cutting makes me feel so good inside and releases the internal frustration and storm of emotions for at least just a couple of seconds. I cut myself because I know I am not god enough for anyone or anything. I’m just one person in seven billion. I won’t amount to anything. No one wants to deal with someone like me.
Your letter shows me that you are a person who feels things deeply. Ironically, it is often the teens who are the most sensitive who do self-harm. The problem isn’t that you are ugly or worthless or stupid. The problem is a combination of holding yourself to impossible standards and not having the tools you need to cope with your big feelings.
Since you are a sensitive person, you will always respond emotionally to things. There is no way to make the world behave so that you won’t have things to feel strongly about. But what you can do is learn better and stronger coping skills. That’s where therapy comes in. But as you discovered, a therapist can’t help you if you don’t give the therapist enough information to go on.
I know it can be embarrassing at first to show a therapist what is really going on inside. But, trust me, therapists handle that sharing without judgment. We therapists want to help, not judge. I think you should go back to the therapist who began to get to know you. If you think you’ll have trouble talking about the self-harming behavior, take your letter and this response with you and let him read it. That will help you open up the subject a little more easily.
I really don’t think you want to die. I think you understandably want to feel things without being overwhelmed by the feelings. Please contact your therapist. You owe it to yourself to learn ways to handle your sensitivities.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Why Can’t I Stop Cutting?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Can’t I Stop Cutting?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on June 25, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/11/26/why-cant-i-stop-cutting/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.