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Getting self-harm under control



Whether this method of self-pacification is an epidemic of the social media age is still the subject of scientific debate. Before the mid-1980s, no polls were conducted on self-harm, also because few researchers thought about it.

In the 1990s, the idea of ​​self-harm and the underlying mental misery began to enter popular culture. Princess Diana talked about it in an interview; Actors Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, too. A popular Pink 2010 music video featured vibrant scenes of cutting. Until then, dozens of online forums have provided community, support and understanding to those who have hurt themselves – and, as some experts say, often reinforces their behavior as a reward for membership in a special club.

"Nowadays, especially younger girls are influenced by various media that glorify this whole self-injury," said Blue, who stopped harming herself earlier this year. "I was hospitalized and it was strange: many other girls were impressed with my scars, such as: How did you get these? I'm jealous. "It's disturbing, this satisfaction – like people who feel well or happy when they do it According to surveys conducted by Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell self-harm and recovery research program, at ten universities , 1 out of 5 reports deliberately inflicted self-injury to relieve the emotional pain at least once. The first episode occurs on average around the age of 15, Dr. Whitlock, but a large number of people who later injured themselves, started at the age of 17 or 18.

Few people who once themselves hurt themselves stop here, Dr. Whitlock, an author of Healing Self-Injury: A Guide for Parents. "It's absolutely crazy for parents because it's hard to know what's going on."

This pattern of back and forth becomes as powerful as an opiate habit for about 20 percent of the people who deal with it. "Something was so basic, and it was always there for me," said Nancy Dupill, 32, who regularly cut herself for more than a decade before giving up the habit of therapy; She now works as a peer specialist for teenagers in Central Massachusetts . "I've reached the point where I hurt myself a lot, and when I came out, I could not remember things that happened, like what it actually triggered."

People who become dependent on themselves -harm are often valued as dependable comfort, say therapists. Pictures of blood, burns, cuts and scars can, paradoxically, become comforting. In isolation, in the midst of emotional turmoil, self-harm is a secret friend who can be summoned at any time without permission or payment. "In contrast to emotional or social pain, it is possible to control physical pain" and its alleviating effects, said Joseph Franklin, a psychologist at Florida State University.


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