I cut myself when I’m upset. I want to stop; is there anything that can help me?
I’m sad about your struggle with cutting. This is a painful topic and one that you may have avoided up to this point. It takes a lot of courage to talk about it and you’ve taken an important step in getting help.
Any form of self-injury is dangerous and should be taken seriously. The reasons that motivate cutting are complicated, so it’s important to seek the kind of help that will invite you to take an honest look at yourself and ask the question “What is going on in your heart?” An experienced counselor can help teach you better ways of coping, which is important, but he or she will also help expand your insight into the reasons behind the cutting and give you a safe place to process your deep feelings of shame and self-loathing.
There also can be great comfort in reading the expressions of emotion in the Bible. It’s soothing to know that we’re not alone in our pain; others before us have felt the terror of despair. As one example, Psalm 31:9-13 reads:
“Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends—those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.”
It’s impossible to overlook the unbelievable anguish in this passage. As someone who cuts, you may have cried out with similar expressions. Memories of past abuse, unwanted thoughts, or feeling out of control with your life may cause you to consider cutting as a release of the pain, misery, and anger you feel inside.
As we continue reading (vs. 1-4), however, the psalmist declares that it’s his trust in God that helps him through this time of horrific misery and he rejects any other way to ultimately save him.
“In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”
It’s hard to trust God whom we can not see. But in addition to counseling and learning how to express your feelings in a healthy way, I hope you can see that we are better off trusting God than in trusting in anything else. We’ve come up with different ways to deal with our anger and ease the pain of life, but apart from God, our methods are only temporary and don’t give us what our hearts truly need. And what we truly need is to invite God into our pain; we need Him to comfort us and give us strength.
God, in His love for you, sent His son Jesus to set you free. He knows your pain and He wants to heal and strengthen you. As a matter of fact, He came specifically for this purpose; not only to offer you life after death, but life now! He came to help you live through pain instead of trying to escape by self-injury (Isaiah 61:1-3).
I know you’re hurting deeply inside. Pain and disappointment have taken root in your soul. Cutting may seem like the only answer to your overwhelming pain, but the dark side of it is that it keeps you from what your heart longs for. So when you’re compelled to cut yourself, please don’t try and face it alone. The Bible offers you an answer. The battle is hard, and most likely won’t be won over night. But getting wise counsel from a competent therapist, and believing that there is Someone who cares for you who is fully capable of comforting you and setting you free from this prison, can give you the confidence to fight the urge to harm yourself.