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hp-janay_left.jpgJanay is 18 years old and has been engaging in self-injurious behaviors since she was 13. She keeps her online self injury journal in the HealthyPlace.com Self-Injury Community.

Here, she talks about why she first started self injuring, how she became suicidally depressed and later developed an eating disorder.

17, is the number of hospitalizations for cutting and suicidal ideation that Janay has been through. She has since stopped self-injuring, but continues to struggle with an eating disorder.

Janay also related her version of what it's like to tell your parents about the self injury, her experiences with treatment for self-injury, and her battle to not si. We also talked a bit about being a black woman who self-injures.

Audience members also shared their experiences with cutting, ranging from how to handle it to what made them realize they needed to stop harming themselves.

David Roberts is the HealthyPlace.com moderator.

The people in blue are audience members.


David: Good Evening. I'm David Roberts. I'm the moderator for tonight's conference. I want to welcome everyone to HealthyPlace.com. Our topic tonight is "Self Injury Experience." Our guest is Janay, one of the journalers in the HealthyPlace.com Self-Injury Community.

Our plan for tonight was to have 2 guests, but one of the guests had an emergency and had to cancel at the last minute. So, I'm going to interview Janay for about 20 minutes, then open the floor to audience questions. Also, tonight, I would be interested in hearing from audience members who have received any type of treatment for self-injury. I'd like to know what kind of treatment it was (weekly therapy, out or inpatient hospitalization) and if you thought it was effective or not and why. I'm hoping that sharing this information will be helpful to everyone here.

Now onto our guest. Janay is 18 years old. She had been engaging in self-injurious behaviors for about 5 years. She says "my most recent therapist terminated treatment because I am 'cured,' meaning I am no longer an active self injurer and I'm not suicidally depressed." Janay also has an eating disorder which she finds is growing worse because, as she says, "I no longer have razor relief." (Read here:  types of eating disorders)

Good evening, Janay, and welcome to HealthyPlace.com. You started self injuring when you were 13 years old. Do you remember why and what that was like for you at that young age?

Janay has been engaging in self-injurious behaviors since age 13. She discusses why she started self injuring, her treatment for self-injury and being a black woman who self-injures. Chat transcript.Janay: Hi. I don't really know why I started. It was just a test of endurance at first.

David: Can you explain that further, please?

Janay: I think I read a book about a cutter and wanted to see how strong I was.

David: And why did you continue after that?

Janay: I cut with a piece of broken lightbulb, so light it barely broke the skin. I did that when I was 12 and didn't do it again for another year. I remember being late to school one day and, as I was crossing the grass, just for no reason turned around and went to a corner of the school campus and cut myself with an exacto knife.

David: What is it that you got out of doing that?

Janay: I was really kind of upset from the night before and that morning over a fight with my mom. I was angry and upset and felt like I'd freak out at school if I went. I had the exacto knife on me because I used to help my mom with various crafts. I also kept it with me as a "just in case" type thing; security for cutting, though I'd never used it for that before that day.

David: From previous guests, we have learned that many people start self-injuring possibly as a way to handle certain feelings stemming from sexual abuse. Is that the case with you?

Janay: ummm... Yeah, I guess you could say that, but I'm reluctant to blame my self injury on that.

David: In the letter you sent me, you said: "I (used to) self injure because it was the only way I knew to relieve extreme stress or emotion, i.e pain. The more extreme the pain or confusion, the less I felt, so the deeper I cut." Since this was going on for 5 years, I'm wondering if your parents knew about it and if so, how they reacted to it?

Janay: Actually, my mom didn't find out about it until I was about 15, and that happened during my sophomore year of high school. A few of my friends knew I cut. They told teacher and the teacher called my mom. Everything went crazy after that. She called me names, yelled, hit me, and threatened repeatedly to send me to the hospital (though she'd been threatening that for about a year because she said my behavior was out of control).

David: So, to put it mildly, she didn't take it too well. I'm wondering if that was because she heard it through a third party, your teacher, rather than through you. It must have been a shock for her.

Janay: I think it was more that she was ashamed of me - having a crazy daughter. When I was younger I was "so smart, so pretty, I could be whatever I wanted," and then they found out about my cousin (sexual abuse) from someone else. She was mad that I didn't tell her, and since that happened I sorta stopped talking to her; like being rude, withdrawn, disrespectful, to say the least. She was just dissapointed in me, that I turned out the way I am.

David: We have a lot of audience questions for you, Janay. I want to get to a few, then we'll talk about what kind of treatment for self injury you received and whether it helped or not. I'm also going to post the audience responses to that later.

David: Here's the first question:

shylacious: Did you feel betrayed by your friends?

Janay: Oh, very much so! I was furious, but at the same time it made me feel good that they even cared enough to tell. I didn't talk to them for a long time though.