Self-injury, or cutting, refers to the practice of hurting oneself intentionally as a way to deal with emotional pain. Most cutters say they do not feel suicidal, but rather use cutting as a way to distract themselves from the pain they feel on the inside by giving themselves physical pain on the outside.
This issue is a serious one for GLBT teens and one that has come up a number of times in the GLBT Teens forum.
I can't get her off my mind and I got so depressed yesterday that I wouldn't see her again after next Sunday, that I started cutting myself. Like how bad is that?? But the weird thing is I feel a little bit better after doing it.
I'm more or less over his death...I used to cut, but I knew what pain was...I was so screwed up that I needed something to bring me back to reality, kinda ground my thinking, and it turns out that knives did the trick.
Both these teens have something in common with a lot of other cutters. They say they feel better after hurting themselves. The problem is, that feeling is usually temporary.
Cutting is a bandaid solution, not a a long-term solution. Sure, it can temporarily distract you from your problems, but ultimately, it's not going to make those problems disappear.
Something like dealing with the suicide of a partner, can be one of the most difficult things anyone ever has to face. For a gay teen, who might not have supportive adults around to talk to, it might seem as if the only way to address this type of pain would be to take matters in to your own hands. But please know, there are people out there who can help gay kids--both those in really tough situations as well as those facing the challenges of everyday ones!
One option is to get in touch with the GLBT Youth Talkline. To reach the Youth Helpline call toll-free 1-800-246-PRIDE. The helpline is Monday through Friday from 5pm to 9pm, Pacific Time. The line is open to youth up to 25 and it is staffed by volunteers 18 to 25 years-old.
For more information on cutting and self-injury you can check out some of the resources put together by About's guide to teen advice.