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Archive for February, 2005

Self-Mutilation from a Cutter’s Perspective

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

(Scroll down for 25 Feb update to this entry)

Had it not been for Skillzy, I wouldn't even have been aware of the contention circling around the blog world concerning cutting and self-mutilation. As anyone who reads this blog knows, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. Bleeding Out the Pain is my personal website chronicling my own struggles with this addiction and terrible problem.

Most of what I read on the blogs was misinformed, confused, or out and out ridiculous. Some of it was cruel and heartless spoken out of pure ignorance on the subject. The majority of posts that Michelle's Malkin's piece The new youth craze: Self-mutilation spawned were written by those with only intermediate knowledge of self-mutilation; or worse, no knowledge whatsoever. Even with A Small Victory's sound take on the subject, most people are still missing the real issues in this debate. I think it's time that someone with a little authority speaks out on the subject.

I'm not going to go into a lengthy dialogue about my background with cutting. There's my self-injury site and blog archives for all of that if you're so inclined or feel a need to check out my credentials. Suffice it to say that I've been down the road and the lost battles of my past stand out like a glaring beacon on my mutilated arms every time I go out in short sleeves. In other words, I live with this every day. I don't want your sympathy - I did this to myself, but understand that I've been in close contact with the world of self-mutilation for over ten years.

I created Bleeding Out the Pain as a way to help me cope with my own problems and as I began to go through the process of recovery. It was also a way to reach out to others who might be going through the same thing and felt alone. The night before I walked myself into a mental health clinic I spent hours scouring the Internet for personal websites on self-injury; it helped immensely to know there were others doing this same insane-sounding thing. In the years since that time many young people have contacted me to say my site helped them, and many others took up correspondence with me for a time to discuss their cutting problems. An alarming trend I saw from all of this was the very thing that Michelle Malkin brought up in her article: it was becoming a "cool" thing to do for today's youth. I knew that many years before Malkin wrote her obtuse article on the "new craze".

As I drove to work this morning I thought long and hard about what I would say here - how I would address these issues; the main ones I feel people are missing in all of these dissertations? I really can't tell you how deeply this hurts me or explain to you why I've been in tears for the better part of this morning. Perhaps it's Malkin's irresponsible assertion that someone like me, who cuts and has cut themselves, is nothing more than a bored, attention-seeking Emo kid. Maybe it's the fear that young people with a real problem with self-mutilation may get passed off as one of those bored, attention-seeking Emo kids and not get the help they need. It could be the fact that we are living in a society where children aren't taught self-respect, self-esteem or self-love and choose to hurt themselves as an alternative to healthier modes of coping. And it might just be that even after all these years and all these struggles we recovering self-injurers have gone through to make the public aware that this is a real and serious problem, it might all become regarded as nothing more than childish antics. That those of us who advocate helping self-injurers will be seen as no more than pushers perpetuating the glamorous world of cutting and self-mutilation to innocent and susceptible children.

All of this has been weighing heavily on my mind.

This has nothing to do with music, and even less to do with ignorant journalists trying to sensationalize a subject on which they have no knowledge or background and didn't take the time to research. The quandary here is that there is an alarming rise in self-injury by today's youth. Why? And what can we do to stop it?

The first thing is to realize what self-mutilation is. I'm not going to go into why or how - that's been covered and the reasons and ways can be as varied as the people who do it. People who self-injure are not freaks, they are not begging for attention. They have a real problem. And they need real help, and real understanding. I've written more on self-mutilation as an addiction, but felt it would make this post too lengthy; click here if you would like to read it.

Irresponsible articles like Michelle Malkin's do nothing more than cast self-injury as some attention-garnering child's game; a "fad" that that is more of a status symbol than any real problem or cry for help. It sheds misinformation on a sincere mental illness and glosses over the very frightening fact that the number of self-injurers is growing at an alarming rate.

Malkin's inclination is to blame the music. How is it that when a genuine issue arises involving our children today our first thought is to cast blame on the media? To me, that's a cop out. One of the biggest problems with our youth today is that everyone tries to put the blame for their disturbing behavior on something else.

Then Malkin goes on to attack Christina Ricci, one of the many Hollywood stars that have come out as a self-injurer. In the self-injury community, people like Ricci are lauded. For so many years cutting was not treated as a serious mental illness, or was simply thrown off as "suicidal" (which is far from the reality of the situation). When famous people began admitting their problems with self-injury, it became real. For the first time when I told people who asked about the scars on my arms, "I used to cut myself" they didn't look at me in horror and say, "What in the world?! WHY would you do that? I've never heard of such a thing!" When self-injury became a known true and real problem, self-injurers started getting the help they needed and deserved. I have no problems with anything Christina Ricci said about self-injury; her stories of what she did and how it made her feel are authentic. They help shed light on something that most people don't understand.

The important first step to be made here is not casting blame, but taking action. Cutting is not cool and that needs to be the message we're spreading. Not "stop listening to that music" or "just stop cutting already". Yes, cutting is a rising phenomenon among today's youth - now, what are we doing to do about it? Give me something concrete - don't pawn this problem off on music and celebrities.

Another real problem here that people seem to be missing is what I call the "Everybody Cries Wolf Syndrome". When you have a large number of people "playing" at and experimenting with what is a real problem or mental illness, those that are truly suffering and need help get grouped into that category of those doing it as a fad. There may be a child out there who truly has mental issues - who is truly cutting and cannot stop by herself and needs psychiatric help. But because of the large number of kids that are doing it because it's "cool" she is seen as just another blase, pseudo-tortured kid trying to be heard by jumping on the bandwagon. She doesn't get the help she needs. That, in my opinion, is the larger problem here. Articles like Malkin's that are spreading the "it's a new craze" perception only worsen this dilemma.

Self-mutilation has been around for a very long time, and it will continue to exist for as long as there are mental illnesses. I don't know what the answer is to combat the rising number of young people latching on to cutting. For my part, I do what I can. I have my site, and I listen to those that contact me; I counsel those that come to me themselves. I talk with those concerned relatives and friends who ask me questions and try to understand why and how they can help their loved ones. It pains me deeply to see someone going through the trials of self-mutilation. It isn't a joke and, for a lot of people, it isn't a "fad" or done to "be cool". It's a very real problem - that needs very real help.

25 FEB 2005 - UPDATE
Following up on Michelle Malkin's Update

Michelle Malkin seems upset that people are criticizing her "The new youth craze: Self-mutilation" piece. I'm not sure what she expected when she tackled such a grave and serious issue with the trite commendations of modern culture.

I don't believe that Malkin's intent is to trivialize cutting or self-mutilation. Yet while her heart might be in the right place, she is attacking the problem from all of the wrong angles. Delegating self-injury into the category of "fads" and "new crazes" severely damages the fledgling self-harm community. It is just in recent years that self-injurers are being recognized as their own unique group; that self-mutilation is being seen as a serious problem & mental illness and is being treated as such. Beforehand it was lumped into a conglomeration of other problems and was not properly treated. Because of the emergence of self-injury as a distinctive addiction and problem, help became available to those who suffered from the affliction.

Even more hurtful to me, as a cutter, is Malkin's inclination to place liability on modern culture. I am not at the whim of the media mavens and I'd like to think that people, even young adults, have enough sapience not to blame their shortcomings and compulsions on music and celebrities. Sadly, this is the bandwagon that people have jumped on in increasing numbers as the years passed. It is so much easier to blame something else than to simply admit there is a problem that is out of our control.

Where Malkin misses the mark is her belief that shedding light on what might or might not be causing kids in larger numbers to carve into themselves is going to solve anything. If a parent reading her article thinks that deterring their child from listening to certain music is going to stop that child from ever cutting, that parent is in for a hard blow.

I began cutting at the age of 14 or 15. It had absolutely nothing to do with music, stars or celebrity of any kind. At that time it wasn't a "fad", all the kids at school weren't doing it and I honestly believed I was the only person that found solace in slicing at my arms with razor blades. I didn't show off my marks, but painstakingly hid my cuts and the ensuing scars behind long sleeves and seemingly superfluous jackets in the summertime. I didn't come from a broken home and I wasn't abused. I was a scared teenager like most of you were that happened to find a coping mechanism for the pains and trials of my prepubescent years in a blade; others found it in alcohol, music, drugs, or exorbitant sex.

I don't (and didn't) "fit the bill" of a teen who would be cutting by Malkin's standards. I didn't listen to "sad" sappy music, I wasn't "goth", and I wasn't starved for attention. There was no Internet for me to connect to other cutters, or to view graphic pictures of bloody wounds. Regardless of what is on the Internet, the radio, the TV or on the pages of a magazine, kids are going to hurt themselves. Why? The problem is not what the media and accessible sources are feeding them. The problem is not Christina Ricci admitting she hurts herself. The problem is a media that shoves plastic perfection down our youth's throats and can't understand why they hate themselves. The problem is people blaming the wrong people for the wrong things and thinking that solves anything. If Michelle Malkin truly cared about the rising number of children hurting themselves, she'd use her notoriety for positive change - not for a smearing hate-campaign against pop culture. What we need to be doing is teaching children that CUTTING IS NOT COOL; we do not need to be casting blame and throwing our hands up in disgust. We need to work together to fix this problem with our youth rather than blast what the purported causes might be. They're doing it - they've always done it, they'll continue to do it for any number of reasons that you can come up with. If you took away all of the media "problems" and possible causes that Malkin brings up, you would still have young kids hurting themselves as a desolate method of coping.

I'm tired of people saying "Oh, they're doing it! How horrible!" I am disgusted with people saying, "It's this person's fault!" or "This is making them do it!" I'm ready to hear people say "What are we doing to stop this? How can we make a positive change for our youth?"

As long as we keep pointing fingers, we are not addressing the real issue. As long as we are blaming this on asinine things like "fads" and "crazes", we are hurting those children that have real problems and need very real help. This isn't a fad, it isn't a "new craze". This is a very serious issue that has been around for a very long time, but is getting worse. What are we going to do about it?

Random Thoughts by a Busy, Braindead Chick

Monday, February 21st, 2005

No, no, really I do still exist. Gods I have been fucking busy. I'm braindead because of it - I've been meaning to come here and post but I can never think of anything to say!

Let's do the random bit; haven't done that in awhile.

The Worm and I have been watching way too much Aqua Teen Hunger Force lately. My tolerance for stupidity grows thinner every day. I miss my Nine Inch Nails "Pretty Hate Machine" CD - it was one of the ones that got thrown out when my car was stolen. The Worm's 30th birthday was last week and I've been so busy that I didn't even plan anything really special for him; therefore, I suck. I got a dozen red roses and a dozen colored tulips for Valentine's Day - which makes me suck even more for not doing something special for his birthday. I recently purchased a keychain with Brian, the dog from The Family Guy on it. This will be the second keychain I've had with a dog on it - the first was Courage, the Cowardly Dog. I'm not really a dog person. I've really got to get some work done to my ouroborus tattoo. I got mentioned on the H.O.P.E. site and that was awesome. My writing has actually got a lot of attention in the last year, speaking of...a piece I did on cutting was going in a college "self-help" pamphlet and I got published for the first time ever. I'm thinking of taking up freelance writing. Isadora Duncan is someone I admire and respect a great deal. It keeps threatening rain outside, but it won't; who knew Mother Nature was such a tease? The kind of man that adorns the front of a hand-made card for me with the word "Sophia" is the kind of man I want to marry. I hate Mondays. I think I want to start using the words "lingual" and "jocular" more often. I now love black tea and drink it 2-3 x's day. I'm afraid of stickers, receipt paper and wet paper; if you make fun of me because of this I'll cut you. I've learned that it is not good to let your friends know of these types of fears; if anyone will exploit a fear to get a good laugh, it is your friends. Sometimes friends suck. Sometimes the old Tootsie Roll commericial jingle will inexplicably get stuck in my head; that and that "Your flag boy and my flag boy..." song. I despise that song. I miss writing in my blog and to make more of an effort to do so, even if I just ramble nonsensically.

Say something random.

That’s One Hot Housewire

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

I've been neglecting you all lately and I hope you can forgive me. My schedule has been absolutely-freakin'-INSANE!! Somedays I think I'm really losing it.

I figured you might be more forgiving if I made you laugh, so I thought I'd at least take a minute out of my day to share with you the latest installment of Funny Spam Titles. The great thing about these is that after posting them on my website a few weeks ago, I am now the #1 Google search for sexy housewires. It's good to know that I've done something important with my life.

For your giggling pleasure (as always, my retorts in italics):

Reply: Sexy Slut big dick video
A sexy slut...with a big dick. I think I'll pass, thanks.

Reply: Real Granny hrnoy
I would've entitled this one "Lecherous Old Ladies with Liver Spots".

Tasty Butt Babes!
Tastes just like chicken.

RE: Incoennt Amateur Slut ermxete pussy clsoeups
I thought the whole point of being a "slut" is that you're anything *but* an "amateur".

Fw: Mature 30 to 40 girls dating stranergs
Is this supposed to be exciting? What is it, a video showing a bunch of blind dates?

Shy MILF wet pussy
Who writes this shit? Timid co-ed, cotton mouth. Hyper-active infant, excessive drool.

FW: Cute Neighbour Girl fist tsemeehlvs
'Cause anyone who "fists themselves" is real *cute*.

Reply: Brand New First Timer Fucekd so hard
Brand new "first timer"? Brand new? Does that mean you send it back if the seal is broken?

FW: Sexy Housewires Impsosible Action
Housewires, eh? You know nothing is hotter than watching my electrical plugs get it on with my surge protectors.

do you like M.I.L.F's?
Marginally Illiterate Lesbian French-poodles? Sure, as long as they don't pee on the rug.

Fathers day - Pill specials
Because nothing says "I love you, Dad" like a bottle of illegal narcotics.

Single? Christian? Let us match you
With a Nazi Atheist named Bob.

My Naughty Mom!
Whoa, dude, keep that shit to yourself.

We have a Razor for you!
I can honestly say that's the first time in my life anyone has ever said those words to me.

I Love My Doctor!
Umm...good for you?

Let ThirtyPlusSingles help you find your mate.
30+ singles? If they can't find their own damn mates, how are they going to help me?

Watch Me Take My Clothes Off!
I'd rather watch paint dry, truth be told.

Girls Luv Big Black Dix!
I'm pretty sure it has little to do with the color and everything to do with the size.

Busty Teen Beauty!
Busty? Let's just say what we mean - big-tittied, big-assed bitch for you.

Teens Being Naughty!
This is really pretty vague. What are they doing? Not cleaning their room? Not doing their homework?

Reply: Cute Girls squirting milk
Squirting *milk*?! Wtf are they, COWS??!

Email Suicide

Friday, February 11th, 2005

This goes to prove my little quip: "There are a bunch of freaks out there, and they all have Internet access":

Ore. Man Arrested for E-Mail Suicide Pact,
By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press Writer

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A man used an Internet chat room to try to set up a mass suicide on Valentine's Day (news - web sites) involving more than two dozen women across the United States and Canada, authorities said.

Gerald Krein, 26, was arrested Wednesday at his mother's mobile home in Klamath Falls and faces charges of solicitation to commit murder, sheriff's deputies said. Investigators are subpoenaing chat room records to try to contact people who may have planned to take part in the suicide.

Detectives learned of the plan from a woman in Canada who said she saw the message in a Yahoo chat room that had the words "Suicide Ideology" in the title.

The woman, who was not identified by authorities, told detectives she was going to take part in the suicide but had second thoughts when another chat room participant said she would do it and talked about killing her two children before taking her own life, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger.

"Our primary goal is to try to locate where these endangered children might be," Evinger said. "We need to investigate where these other computers are. Hopefully we can intervene if anyone still has the notion to follow through with this."

The chat room participants planned to log in on Valentine's Day and commit suicide while keeping in touch over the Internet, Evinger said. The chat room is no longer active.

Krein was looking for women and children to join in the suicide, said sheriff's Capt. Chris Montenaro. Investigators believe the total number, including Krein, was 32, Montenaro said.

Deputies seized Krein's computer and a Web cam, and the suspect was being held without bail. Krein had moved to Klamath Falls from the Sacramento, Calif., area about a year ago to take care of his ailing father, Evinger said.

Neighbors told the Herald and News newspaper that Krein was a burly man who favored tie-dyed T-shirts and looked "like a mountain man."

District Attorney Ed Caleb said he is taking the solicitations seriously.

"There is always a chance this is a joke, but our position is in this world, any time a person makes these kinds of overt actions, they need to be looked into," Caleb said.

A grand jury will convene on Monday to determine if Krein will face additional charges, Caleb said.

Makes you wonder if you should have to apply for a license and take a sanity test before being able to get online, doesn't it?

(Sorry for the absence, I've been that-thing-that-goes-without-saying! I've also been spending the little online time I have beefing up the Ashlee Simpson Sux page {yep, I know, I need help} and working on a Paris Hilton Sux one. See? Busy, busy! Oops...I said it.)

Happy Mardi Gras!

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

It's not the entire reason I've been too busy to post, but it's a huge part of it. Hope everyone has an enjoyable Fat Tuesday, even if you don't get off work for it like we do (HA HA!).

Some People Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Breed

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

When you are backing your car out of the carport and hear an astonishingly loud plop plop and look up to see that a bird has suddenly had severe diarrhea on your windshield and driver's side window, you have to wonder what kind of omen it is for the day ahead.

Time again for another edition of reader's letters to our now-favorite rag, The Westbank Shopper (really, these are starting to deserve their own *page*). These are some gems - let me rip them a new one piece by piece - my comments in italics:

Don't Force Tolerance! Heaven Forbid We Practice that Love Thy Neighbor Crap!

I heard somewhere that they were going to make our kids adhere to some kind of "no-name calling" week.

Yes, the "No-Name Calling Week" put together by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network out of NY is something we should ban. Of course, even though it covers ALL name-calling, we sure wouldn't want to teach our children not to make fun of others or belittle those they feel are "different" from them. I mean, what kind of children would we be raising? Kind, loving, accepting and understanding ones? Screw that!

I think this is all about giving the liberals anything they want and trying to bury the notion that Americans are great people.

There go those damn liberals again - wanting everyone to love one another and treat their fellow humans with humanity and compassion. I mean, where's the sense in that?! Don't you know Jesus was just JOKING when he said that shit? He didn't *really* mean everyone was equal and you should love and help out others. You really thought he came down to Earth to forgive everyone's sins? No, that was a *joke*! Jesus was just making the rounds on a comedy tour. Duh.

We don't hear anything about stopping people in Iraq from hating us.

And how would we go about that? Create a "Say 'I Love Americans' or Get Shot in the Head" day? Personally, if we cared about the Iraqis hating us, we wouldn't have went over there in the first place.

But as Americans, we're all wrong. How do you like that? This is just another way to give acceptance to people who don't fit in, and are trying to force us to tolerate them!

Because, omg, giving *acceptance* to people who *don't fit in* would be the end of the world as we know it. Tell me, moron, what defines someone who "doesn't fit in"? Would this be someone that doesn't agree with *your* values and morals? So you're saying we should "not tolerate" and demean those that are "different" in YOUR eyes? The whole world should hate the people you hate, correct? Frankly your fear-based ignorance is appalling and if *anything* should not be tolerated in this country it is the bigoted, self-righteous bilge that comes out of boorish brains such as yours. Suck on that.

Did you people maybe think that these "so-called victims" were misfits of society who refuse to conform to good, clean American living?

Good, clean American living then, by your definition, constitutes shunning those that aren't ultra-conservative Christian bigots like you and your kind? Good, clean American living is, then, living a life that is in direct opposition to the teachings of the religion you so fervently cling to? Americans should be, in your opinion, spiteful, hypocritical ignoramus? If so, then you're doing an outstanding job at being an American; keep up the good work.

Get Out of Our Schools! Sponge Bob is SOOO Gay!

I fully understand the anger over the cartoon character "Sponge Bob" and others and how they're using this to bring into schools to tell our kids to understand kids who are different.

Lovely grammar there, darling. In light of it, it isn't at all surprising that you "fully understand the anger over the cartoon character 'Sponge Bob'". I sincerely hope your parents didn't waste too much money on your "education".

What they're really saying is that you have people who are living in lifestyles non-conducive to Christianity, it's not really a bad thing.

Who is really saying this? Sponge Bob? Sponge Bob is telling you and your children not to be Christian-like? That's amazing, really. I think it's absolutely hilarious that you people think S.B. is homosexual because he holds his friend Patrick's hand. No really, it's a hoot. Ever heard of "grasping at straws?" No? Try this one on, then: You morons are teaching your children that every time they grasp the hand of a playmate of the same sex THEY ARE GAY. And you're worried about the message these *cartoons* are spreading?!

That's why I won't let my kids watch Sesame Street or these others shows that try to shove diversity down our throats and make us adhere to what liberals want us to accept as normal behavior.

No, sweets, the reason you don't let your children watch Sesame Street is because you're an idiot who's so worried about teaching your children to shun people who think or act differently you don't even notice your own hypocrisy against the very God you claim to worship. "Normal behavior" is being nice to others and accepting of *everyone*, regardless if they think, act, dress, eat, sleep and/or FUCK differently than you; this isn't a "liberal" concept - it's called humanity. And seriously, if watching a television show forces you to act other than how you normally would, you might just want to consider throwing out the TV set completely.

I honestly believe the reason we have the tragedies and disasters we're having today is because god is fed up with the way we're straying away from his path and if this school system brings that Sponge Bob garbage into my child's classroom, I'm pulling him out the school system and suing the school board.

You do that - you sue the school board and home school your child so he never has to hear about Sponge Bob Square Pants again. That makes absolute sense to me. You are right about one thing, God/dess is fed up with the way you and those like you are straying from His/Her path. He/She - It is fed up with you smearing It's good name with your hate-mongering, your chastising and your condemnations. Every time you spread fear, hate and hurt "in God's name" you are making a mockery of God and the very foundations of the "teachings of Christ" you claim to hold so dear. People like you are the reason I stopped calling myself a "Christian".

These letters really angered me. For parents to deny a "No-Name Calling" week because it might make it seem OKAY to be NICE to gay people or those that are "different" hurts my very soul. I'm not gay, but in school I, like many others, got picked on and called names because I was "different" - because I didn't "fit in". Kids can be cruel and that's a given - but when the parents are egging them on, teaching them to mistreat and outcast others it almost seems as if all hope is lost. It is not - not EVER - okay to hate someone because they don't "fit in" to your neat little package of "what should be" or "what is acceptable".

And I'm not saying all of this because I'm a "liberal" or a "non-Christian" but because I'm a human being and why would I shun and condemn my fellow brethren so harshly simply because we aren't the same? Who are you to say your way is the right one and who are you to cast out and injure those that don't agree? Who are we to pass judgment on anyone else? We all live in glass houses, my friends.