www.whyville.net Nov 14, 2007 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

What Are You Doing to Your Body: Self Harm

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Author's Note: This article may disturb some readers. If in doubt, please have your parents review the article first.

Many teens go through times of depression, anger, or unhappiness. This can be caused by most anything; a break-up, a fight with your friend, bad grades, peer pressure, parents; the list goes on and on. There are healthy ways to handle your frustration and then there are ways that hurt you and the people around you.

The healthy way to handle your frustration is to talk to someone. You could talk to your school guidance counselor, trusted teacher, friend, or religious leader. If it's more serious, you can talk with a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Maybe you're angry and don't want to talk to anyone. Go outside and ride your bike. I once was mad at a friend, and rode my bike 15 miles to Disneyland . . . with my parents' permission, of course. Go play baseball, or football. Take your anger out on the ball or the lineman in front of you. Maybe you just want to take a lap around the neighborhood. Squeeze a stress ball. Write an angry letter that you won't send, call a friend and vent. That's okay, too. You're relieving your frustration or depression in healthy ways.

Then there are the unhealthy ways of relieving stress, depression or anger. Many teens resort to drinking, drugs, fighting, cutting themselves, or even suicide. These just don't help you with your problems, they hurt you even more. It's not just the "emo" crowd, anyone could do it. And just because someone is "emo" doesn't mean they injure themselves. Anyway, aside from being illegal, drinking destroys your liver. The younger you are, the more it hurts you. Same with drugs and smoking, but we'll go deeper into those another day. What I'm mainly going to talk about today is cutting. I don't mean cutting your self while shaving; I mean deliberately cutting your arms and legs to "relieve" stress. People who cut themselves have a serious condition. It is abnormal to want to cut your self and it is very unsafe. The same goes with suicide or attempted suicide.

Besides causing you pain, cutting also hurts you in other ways. It opens up your skin, inviting infection. The blade you use could be contaminated with something also causing you to get sick. There is also mental health. You are in a very desperate state of mind if you are cutting yourself.

People cut themselves for different reasons. Some do it because they are mentally abnormal. Others do it to get attention from their family, friends, or just in general. Some do it because they believe there is no other way to get their feelings out. As corny as this may sound, it really is okay to show your feelings. It can keep you from doing things you may regret in the future.

Sometimes, a person may get so stressed out that they believe the only way to end the stress is to end their life. This is literally a life or death matter and should be treated immediately. If someone ever tells you they are going to kill themselves, tell a parent, teacher, or anyone. They need help. Don't ever treat it like a joke. While some may say it just to get attention, they may really be planning to do it. Try to talk them out of it, but tell an adult immediately. If you don't see them when you usually see them, or they are absent from school, after they've threatened themselves, tell someone immediately. Call them and their parents. If there is ever anyone you know considering suicide, tell them that they can get help. Below are numbers and websites where you can get help if you are ever considering these things as "stress relieving" options.


Kids' Health: http://www.kidshealth.org/
Discovery Health - Testimonials and tips from teens that previously cut themselves: http://health.discovery.com/centers/teen/cutters/tips.html


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 Hour): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
To report a suicide or for emergency help: Call 911

I hope this article makes a difference to someone and helps them in someway.

Signing off, this is Eric5675

Editor's Note: I realize this article is controversial in subject matter, but that is what can make the Times great. Please use the BBS to post your thoughts on the subject at hand. Remember, this is a very important issue that many of you have dealt with in the past or are dealing with now. Take the chance to help each other with this difficult situation rather than to tear each other down about the article itself. You do not have to be an expert or a trained psychologist to help out a friend or to write an article. I commend Eric5675 for tackling such a controversial and often silenced issue. Also, if you do have personal experience and would like to contribute to this article, please post in the BBS or email your article to me. As always, remember the Whyville Way.


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