This post is not about self-publishing or writing. This is for past or future readers of my book Woman Speak. (I'm getting tired of putting in all the ...'s and !'s)
Towards the end of the book, I introduced Jillian, a net friend who survived experiences eerily similar to my own. With her permission, I included a couple of emails between us, where she talked about when, in the worst part of her life, she turned to cutting as a way of relieving the pain.
I quoted her powerful words: "When the blood flowed, the pain came right on out with it. For that one moment, I did not hurt. I was not afraid. It was almost as if I would go into a trance and could feel nothing but the burn of the cut... I called it absolution."
Jillian wrote that passage in 2003, and she was referring to a time earlier in her life. It wasn't until summer of 2009 that she actually read the finally-published Woman Speak, and when she saw her own words in print, it was a huge shock to her... so many years had passed since she'd given me permission to print them.
She wrote me this, which if I ever do a revised edition of the book, I'll include. Until then, I'd like to at least have her words "out there" in the Universe.
"I want the world to be very aware that even though cutting is an addiction comparable to that of heroin, I haven't cut one time since 1999." (That was the year she booted out her own sick ex.) "I have been pushed and pushed stress-wise. I have stood in a bathroom with a razor in my hand and put it down and overcome."
She also felt that the book made it look like her ex "created the cutter in me. No, he did not. And I so don't want him handed that power. He provoked an already present but dormant addiction in me. My first cutting episode began at 13 years old.
"Cutting is like any addiction, really. When under extreme duress, the mind searches around for release. And I'll never believe the first recovering addict that tells me that when under stress, somewhere in their thinking they aren't wanting the release of the drug of choice. I'll never believe it.
"My ex just pushed so many buttons he provoked it. But he didn't create it. That guilt belongs to... " (her foster parents). "That guilt belongs to a very broken 13 year old that had been jerked out of the only loving home she ever knew and dropped into the weirdo land of adoptive parents with a huge case of paranoia and in need of a guinea pig. That guilt also belongs to the great machinery known as the Ohio state's child-care system. Unfortunately, that machinery is still on a roll.
"Do you see why I feel a bit freaked over this?
"The book is out. It is an important book for any woman to read. The cutting thing is there. It is what it is. I just wanted to be clear with you about the true creators of the cutter in me. I am asking that should someone ever ask about the cutting, that you share this with them."
I would like to applaud Jillian, for her strength, courage, and determination in finding a way to heal. I think she's used her powerful, passionate writing as one source. Cathartic writing allows the poisons to flow out of us, rather than our own precious life-blood.
And to any person who cuts, who might read this post, please know that like Jillian, you too can find healing. I believe in infinite possibility in this ever-changing world. I believe we can heal from our childhood woundings, which so often lead us into adult woundings, until we can reach back into our pasts and heal.
Please, if you're a cutter, seek help. Try writing it out, instead of bleeding it out. Look into therapy, but know too, that it might take a few tries to find a good match. If you feel a therapist isn't helping, don't give up - find another. I have found, personally, that EMDR worked wonders in recovering from PTSD, (post traumatic stress). That's a fairly new therapy where you don't even have to talk.
If you can't afford therapy, go to a woman's shelter, talk to their counselors there. Talk to a priest or a pastor, a nun or a pastor's wife. Talk to someone. Woman... speak!
Below are a few links to resources about self-injury
S.A.F.E Alternatives - Self abuse finally ends
The organization also has a blog:
A site specifically for kids and teens: TeensHealth