Friday, September 11, 2009

Education or Ignorance ~ Which do you choose?

It is amazing to me that in this information age and with so many groups and resources available to us, that many people still speak about things using their opinions as fact. Why someone would rather show their stupidity and biases instead of gathering facts is beyond me. This kind of ignorance can't be tolerated anymore.

One of the issues people like to talk about and make judgements about but make no effort to learn about is cutting. My daughter cut for several years. At first, it scared me to death. I had no idea what was wrong or why she was doing it. The sight of those bright red lines on her arms and legs made me nauseous every time I caught a glimpse of them. That wasn't too often because she (like most cutters) hid them under long sleeves and pants. Even in hot weather.

It started about two years after her depression started. At that time, we had no idea she had depression, either, just that something was wrong. She was slowly slipping farther and farther down into a deep, dark pit and didn't know how to reach out for help or even why she hurt so bad inside. One of the boys in her class "burned" a picture with an eraser on her hand and for a minute her internal pain disappeared. She went home that night and gave herself her first cut. She said feeling the pain of the cut and seeing the blood took the pain from inside and placed it on the outside where she could see it and deal with it. It gave her a high like she'd never felt. She became addicted to it. Addicted to the adrenalin rush she got from it. The deeper her depression got, the longer and deeper her cuts became.

All of this was so hard for me to understand until I got an information packet from the doctor. As I read through it, I came to a section on other forms of self-injury. One of these methods was burning. I felt as if I'd been slammed into a brick wall. All these years later and a memory came crashing back into my head. I'd been sexually abused as a child for many years. I remember starting in my junior year of high school (about a year after the abuse stopped) I began burning myself with cigarette lighters. I remember the unbearable, intense pain I felt inside that I just couldn't deal with. When I'd burn my wrists, arms, and legs the pain inside was drowned out. I, too, had an amazing rush of good feelings when I'd burn. I became addicted. My heart would race and I'd feel so high.

Suddenly, I completely understood my daughter when she'd tell my why she cut. And finally I was validated by doctors and psychiatrists that assured me I wasn't to blame for her cutting or depression.

I've posted 2 links below for those of you that are just in the dark and want to know more so that maybe you could be of help to someone. Teenagers aren't the only ones that cut. Adults do it, too. Depression strikes teenagers and adults. You could be the person that holds out a life line to someone in need. You could possibly save a life.

For those of you that make judgments on the parents that have children who cut or have depression ~ these links are especially for you. If you want to remain uneducated, then PLEASE don't talk about issues you refuse to learn about. It makes you look ignorant and you are doing a terrible disservice to the people you come into contact with that are crying out for help and you can't see it because of your self-righteousness.

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