How do we keep people from harassing us all the time about my cutting and about being suicidal last year?
I am really glad that you wrote to Dear Trevor for help when you're having a hard time with people in your life. I am sorry that you are being harassed about what was obviously a very difficult and painful time last year. It must be very hard having people treat you this way and please know that you don't have to go through this alone as we're here for you at The Trevor Project.
When you say that you're being harassed, is it that people are making fun of you? If that's the case, I strongly encourage you to speak to an adult you can trust such as a counselor at school, a teacher, or family member and let them know what is going on. It is so very important that you are currently getting all of the support you need right now and that the harassment you are experiencing from other people is not interfering with your recovery. Another way you may be feeling harassed is if people are constantly asking you if you're okay. That could be happening because they really care about you and are genuinely concerned about your safety. It can understandably be annoying to repeatedly have someone ask about how you're doing and you if that's what's happening, you might talk with them to let them know how you feel when they do that.
As you’ve experienced, people cut as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For some, cutting relives stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some people are angry at someone in their life and take the anger out on themselves by cutting. Others feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. With things that are happening with in your life, you may be experiencing some or all of these things. Cutting may help you to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause you to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control. If you feel like cutting again, there are lots of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way like hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up an old newspaper or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you when you’re sad, do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. That may be listening to certain songs, calling a good friend or eating a favorite food. Sometimes, writing in a journal or drawing/painting helps a person to feel better. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting helps you to feel less numb, do something that creates a sharp physical feeling like putting your hand in ice water or stamp your feet on the ground. There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut. It can be very difficult to stop cutting and it would be important to work with a therapist to find safer and healthier ways to deal with the painful things you’re going through. If you're not currently seeing a therapist it would be important for your safety to let a trusted adult such as a parent, relative, doctor, teacher or school counselor know about the cutting so they can keep you safe and help find a therapist. By calling 1-800-DON’T-CUT, you can find a therapist in your area. When you have the urge to cut, know that you can always call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor counselor about what you’re feeling and experiencing as well as your urge to cut which can help to delay or stop the urge to cut. They can also work with you to find a therapist to help you.
You said that you were suicidal last year. If those thoughts or feelings come back, it's very important for your safety that you immediately tell an adult you trust such as a parent, relative, doctor, teacher, school counselor or therapist in order for them to help keep you safe. If you feel you're going to act on those thoughts, please immediately call 911 or get to the nearest hospital emergency room. If there's no one you feel comfortable talking with, please immediately call the Trevor help line at 1-866-4-U-Trevor. Our counselors are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week to talk about everything you're going through including your thoughts of suicide, your cutting as a way of dealing with the difficulties in your life and the harassment you've been experiencing. They want to do whatever is needed to keep you safe. Sometimes people think about suicide when they're feeling very depressed, feel hopeless that things will get better and helpless to make things better in their life. On www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. Depression can be treated with therapy and/or medication. Working with a mental health professional such a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist can help you to see options or choices you may not be aware you have which can give you hope and help you to feel better. If you're not currently in mental health treatment, you could ask an adult you trust such as a relative, doctor or teacher if they could help you find someone to talk with. Another way to find a professional in your area to help you is to contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists at www.aglp.org or 215-222-2800.
For additional support, you might look to other young LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you might attend some meetings. The GLBT National Youth Talkline (1-800-246-7743) is open Monday through Friday from 5pm to 9pm Pacific Time. You can call them if want to talk to another young person like yourself. You can also join Trevorspace at www.trevorspace.org which is The Trevor Project’s safe online social network site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with young people all over the country including in your own community.
Remember that you can always call The Trevor Helpline at 1-86-4-U-Trevor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our understanding counselors are there to talk to you about the harassment you are experiencing and anything else that is on your mind. Remember that you do not have to go through this alone. You deserve to have to be yourself and to be happy. We are always here for you at the Trevor Project.