Thank you for trusting us with your letter. Reaching out for help, especially in a time of crisis, take tremendous strength. Know, you can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor, (1-866-488-7386) ,24 hours 7 days a week. If you feel you may act on suicidal thoughts, call 911 or get to the nearest hospital emergency room. In those dark moments, your immediate safety is crucial.
Depression may be behind suicidal thoughts. Some indications of depression may include lack of energy, chronic fatigue, isolation from your friends and family, diminished interest in usually pleasurable activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and a general sense of helplessness. On www.us.reachout.com you'll find facts about depression by clicking on “struggles with feelings.”
Consulting with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist provides the best course of action to evaluate depression. Speaking with a mental health professional can assist one in understanding their thoughts and feelings and in finding a suitable course of treatment. On www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. On http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ you can search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website at www.aglp.org for help in finding someone in your area for you.
When confronted with extreme levels of stress, many people engage in self-harming behaviors, including substance abuse, self-starvation, and cutting. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension. Some people find the physical pain of cutting distracts them from the emotional pain. Some people may be angry at someone in their lives. Cutting themselves provides a means of expressing that anger. Others feel cutting gives them a sense of control while experiencing overwhelming situations or emotions. Still others feel numb or "dead inside". Cutting helps them “feel alive”. While cutting may provide temporary relief, it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, even life threatening medical problems. It can also cause one to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control.
Nakeesha, the next time you feel like cutting, can you pick up the phone and call us? When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor lifeline counselor. They can also assist you in finding a therapist. Talking about the thoughts or feelings behind the impulse to cut may help to delay or stop the urge to harm yourself. 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 and alternate coping mechanisms.
Cutting can be a difficult habit to break. Telling a a trusted adult can provide you with support in seeking assistance. If you’re not comfortable talking with your parents, you could ask a school counselor for help finding a therapist or call 1-800-DON’T-CUT where you can be referred to a therapist in your area.
Nakeesha, there is something behind the urge to harm yourself. Continue reaching out to discover and understand the source of this conflict. Everyone at the Trevor Project cares about you and your well being. And, remember, we are a phone call away. We are here when you need us. You are not alone.