Monday, April 03, 2006
Cutting themselves for comfort
Tonight on "360," CNN National Correspondent John Roberts and I will co-anchor.

Because of his many years of reporting in the nation's capitol, John will bring terrific insight into one of the topics we are covering tonight -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's seemingly surprise visit to Iraq.

Rice went there hoping to encourage Iraqi politicians to form their own much-needed new government. We'll cover her trip and what it means for the United States and Iraq.

You've probably heard about the devastating tornadoes that struck last night. At least 27 people are dead across eight states. We'll have several live reports from the area and Rob Marciano, a meteorologist, will be in the hot zone where the worst damage took place -- northwestern Tennessee. The video we've collected of the damage is incredible.

We'll also hear some of the first 911 calls that came into emergency dispatch centers all around New York City on September 11, 2001. The sound of the voices of the people who later ended up becoming victims on that terrible day reminds us all how fragile life can be.

Finally, don't miss a frightening segment we'll have on something called "cutting." About 6 million people in this country use razor blades or knives to cut themselves to deal with their angry, depressed emotions, according to experts. But they aren't trying to commit suicide. Instead, they say they are "soothing" themselves.
Posted By Heidi Collins, CNN Correspondent: 7:27 PM ET
  26 Comments
Rice and Straw do a "surprise" fly-in to scold the "children" with carefully selected phrases to "over-look" the pre-emptive attack and the continuing failure of a US plan to build an equitable economy and provide for the security for the oil to pump money into a middle class and rebuilding. Do you suppose the Sadr City "slum" without services and Iraqi "security" forces in black masks think their world is better because of three elections?

Speaking of security, why the need for Rice and Straw to sneak in the back door?
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 9:18 PM ET
Ah yes, cutting themselves, quite popular with this "emo" movement thats going on in America.

Well I am not a professional or a doctor, but I can give this assesment on the situation at hand. GET HELP! These people are crazy. What happened to going to the gym, reading a book, listening to some music or just plain talking to someone when you're feeling down in the dumps.

This needs to get nipped in the bud, NOW! They are cutting themselves now, but I say it's only a matter of time before they start cutting other people to "sooth" themselves. Get real.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Afganistan : 9:37 PM ET
do you have a story on the internet about this "cutting"?
Posted By Anonymous katie, wisconsin dells, wisconsin : 9:47 PM ET
So about 2% of the country cuts themselves as a coping mechanism? Forgive me for assuming that number comes from a group that makes money off treating cutters.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Austin, Texas : 10:24 PM ET
cutting does'nt really seem that different from smoking cigarettes to relieve anxiety - it's harming yourself - it's just not immediately visible.
Posted By Anonymous rebecca, new york city, ny : 10:25 PM ET
Over and over again you have stated number of deaths in the mid-west which have resulted from this recent storm. No part of Tennessee is in the mid-west. Your categorization is geographically incorrect and quite honestly, I am insulted. At no time have I lived in the mid-west and I do not appreciate your insinuation that I presently do live in the mid-west.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Spring Hill TN : 11:53 PM ET
I've been addicted to cutting for almost four years now. I know people who have done it for over ten. It's no different than any other addiction. However, there is basically no specialized treatment for it. A hospital sees a cutting patient, calls it in as a suicide, and that patient is either sent into medication that doesn't work or some sort of asylum. Stigmatizing cutters, trust me, is just not going to help.
Posted By Anonymous Emery, Homestead, Fl : 12:11 AM ET
Yea well I use to cut myself, don't see where they get the soothing from though, alls I got from it was anxiety, the feeling of shame, and depression. God know why I did it.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick/Idaho/Twinfalls : 12:37 AM ET
What a great show. The problem is that 360 was not aired on CNN International to Latin America this Monday.
Posted By Anonymous Alexandre Amaral, Porto Alegre, Brazil : 12:59 AM ET
I find it so strange, and maybe it's a sign, that I would come across this article so randomly right now. I am a cutter and I have been doing everything in my power for the past few hours to not cut myself. I know it's an awful idea, of course. I know it won't help the depression, the pain, and the anguish that I can't get from under. Yet there is still part of myself that's telling me that if I just slide that blade along my wrist I'll feel better somehow. It's not that I want to die, but somehow feeling that pain when I cut makes more sense and comforts me when I can't make sense of the pain I feel inside. Cutting is a very complicated problem and I just hope that people understand that it's not about the attention or trying to die, it's really about struggling with the hurt inside and trying to make some sense of that.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, New York,NY : 1:22 AM ET
I wonder why you avoided the obvious story tonight about Rep. Cynthia McKinney. I can't believe that no one is willing to stop her narcisistic statement of being profiled. Why don't any of you want to hit the nail on the head and let her have it for selling out her fellow black americans. We of the true black community(not our false proffits of Sharpton/Jackson) don't want the trump-card pulled out every single time a member of the black leadership wishes to break the law with amnesty. We need to get things right. Let go of the spin in here and hold her accountable, because those of us in her district will this fall. She just lost the vote of a lot of us who have morals.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Atlanta, Ga : 1:50 AM ET
I started cutting myself and putting out cigarettes on myself when I was in my teens. I'm 36 now and covered in scars. Back then, I would have just told you it made me feel better. I didn't know why. After all these years, I think I understand that it makes me feel 'real,' and on different levels at once - Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually. It's MY BODY, MY FEELINGS, the ONE thing that nobody can tell me not to do or even comment on. Even they say they don't understand. When they say that, I think, 'That's right. You don't' and that is SUCH a wonderful feeling. No, this is MINE. I hurt myself and I do the hurting. I hurt therefore I am. And, only I hurt myself in my way. I'd say that's true of all 'cutters.' It's SELF-validation. These 'cutters' are kids with a lot of heart, reminding themselves that their souls are more real than their flesh. You probably think I would say, 'Oops! I'm covered in scars. What a mistake! Don't do it.' I'd like to, actually, but I can't - because I so clearly understand that it's THEIR BUSINESS. That's the whole point. When I see another person who 'cuts,' I'm just moved at the amount of soul they have, to take the pain all on themselves and not turn it outward. That, and I feel a very respectfully distant concern as to what the cause might be, because I get the message that it's serious. I certainly don't try to pry the reason out of them. Yes, the underlying pain IS the cause, but it's not the point. Equally important is the deeply personal and private nature of it. I feel physical pain and hate it as much as anyone, but it's nothing compared to the pain of feelings inside. You don't just pay lip service to feelings like that. Talk is far too cheap. Ever seen the movie 13? Remember when the Mom just kisses the girl's scars? That says it all, because those kisses were as real and silent as the cuts themselves.
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Little Rock, AR : 3:20 AM ET
I think it shows a profound misunderstanding and lack of sympathy to refer to a segment on cutting as "frightening." Don't you think that fear mongering just further alienates an already misunderstood group of people?
Posted By Anonymous robert columbus, oh : 7:33 AM ET
This "cutting" thing is crazy! My daughter is in high school and knows about 50 kids that cut. I think the more we make of it the more it will happen.When I was in high school 20 years ago you never heard about it. These people need HELP!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Amy, Fort Defiance, Virginia : 8:18 AM ET
I cut and I knoe someone who had tried to commit suicide in the past and has never looked back from it.Sometime it is the only was to do something.
Posted By Anonymous Fallen Angel,Tuscaloosa,Alabama : 10:06 AM ET
I'd be interested to see the segment on cutting. It is a dark, sinister problem and it is becoming pervasive in our public schools. As a public school teacher I have dealt with this issue on more than one occassion, and I can tell you that officials in our school system are not taking this problem seriously. Maybe your segment will open some eyes.
Posted By Anonymous JJ, Las Cruces, NM : 10:06 AM ET
I am a middle school counselor in Texas, and I can tell you that the 6 million number of "cutters" is way too low. Every year I am surprised by the number of 11 to 14 year old kids who are cutting. Some cut to be accepted, but the "real" cutters need more psychological help than public schools can provide. Parents have to step up and be more cognizant of what their kids are doing, and solicit the professional help they need. I have defined "cutting" as: an outward sign of an inward pain. This epidemic is real.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Langston, Mabank, TX : 10:59 AM ET
Cutting is a rush, it's empowering to be in control of the pain you feel. You own it. You get to say when, where and how much pain you'll take on. It balances out the pain you can't control - the life events that rip your heart to shreds - not so different than drinking, smoking, eating disorders, ...or even perhaps plopping yourself in the middle of war zones or hurricanes as a little bonus on the side to go with the storytelling.

Is anybody ever really in a state of emotional perfection? We all have our devices, lemme have my razor. I keep mine on my keychain, but these days I get the rush from having the control to not use it.
Posted By Anonymous Coco, Ann Arbor Michigan : 11:26 AM ET
Cutting isn't anything new. People have been cutting for years and years. Like anorexia and bulimia, it lets the cutter have a semblance of control over one aspect of their lives when everything else is so out of control.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Long Island NY : 12:52 PM ET
Cutting is difficult for many people to understand because it's a compulsive behavior, a behavioral addiction just like addictions to gambling, anorexia, bulemia, pornography, shopping or any other maladaptive behavior that becomes addictive. Some physical and mental experiences have the potential of being just as addictive as cigarettes or cocaine. It's a scary problem, and a dangerous one, no matter how 'common' it may be.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Westover, Rexburg, Idaho : 1:37 PM ET
I used to cut in the late 70's. The pain made me feel real somehow and helped let my grief out. I always considered my habit similar to tribal people who self-mutilate when a loved one died. I quit cutting a long time ago when I found other ways to handle my emotions.
Posted By Anonymous Jan, Bartlesville OK : 1:52 PM ET
I've cut since I was 16. I'm 39. It DOES soothe. It DOES bring you back to reality. It IS a pain more bearable than the one inside. But I've carried a deep, primal shame for years about it, because the average Joe judges and dismisses it like the average Joes who answer this blog.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, Montreal, Canada : 2:45 PM ET
The thing that always strikes me most about the issue of cutting is how little most people understand about it. They see red marks and think, "Oh my God! This person must be suicidal!" That's rarely true. As someone commented above, it is most often a form of control exerted by the individual in an attempt to cope with difficult situations or feelings. Instead of calling these people crazy, frightening, or an "epidemic" it would be more productive to try to place yourself in these individual's position and empathize. Even if you can never imagine cutting yourself, can't you accept that someone else might? Don't stigmatize. These people are not looking for your money or your approval, just your understanding. They do need help, yes. But they don't need to be called crazy. For goodness sake, have some decency.
Posted By Anonymous Jane, Cleveland : 3:18 PM ET
Did anyone ever stop and think that maybe the reason WHY we cut (I'm a cutter) is because we WANT help and just don't know how to ask? That doesn't necessarily apply to all cutters. Recently, I've thought about it, and when I cut I WANT someone to ask me why, what's wrong, just talk to me.
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Paris, TX : 3:46 PM ET
My boyfriend's daughter is 16 years old and is a cutter and has been for about 3 years. It is breaking our hearts. She lives in PA and he is here in SC but, despite that, they talk daily and visit several times a year but he still feels helpless. Now she has recently started burning herself and all she ever says is that it makes her feel better. I wish there were more areas on the internet for research and more knowledgable doctor's to help with her problem. She has the support of her mom, dad, siblings, myself and her therapist but nothing seems to be helping. Please cover this topic again in more honest depth if possible.
Posted By Anonymous CRG Columbia SC : 4:28 PM ET
I'm a mom of a 12 yr old , who told me in GREAT confidence(so hs DAD wouldn't hear) that he has 6 'friends' that are cutting themselves, and he's worried- what should he do ?, I told him as bravely as I could (being SHOCKED out of my socks!) that I thought he should talk with them as soon as he could and just tell them that he was their very good friend and he very worried about them all and he was having trouble sleeping -We are really cool parents (listen to cool music and have a house full of kids ALL the time) at least I like to think we are) and until this year we knew all our sons friends and we knew all the 'scoops'cause they'd tell us- -What happening with our kids and their friends ?...it's only been 20 yrs since I was their age ..I dont remember anything like that ...until my college years? I 'm Feeling very lost in Toronto ....Was I right to have him add more guilt.?..Now i feel guilty ...?
Posted By Anonymous Diane in Toronto , Ontario .Canada : 10:32 PM ET
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