Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Establishment has discovered the existence of Emo!

Michelle Malkin, in a remarkably out-of-step post, sounds an alarm over a "new" youth craze called - brace yourself - cutting.

Wow...didn't know cutting was so shocking and so new. Oh, and apparently Emo helps encourage it. Next thing you know those crazy kids with their jazz will turn into hopheads and race their jalopies to Hell!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

But seriously, folks, cutting's been around for decades, primarily in the mental illness "community" as a form of externally focusing internal pain. With the rise of the Goth scene, the fascination with blood (especially one's own) moved out of the realm of the bipolar and borderline and into the more general young adult population. Now it's being done by teenagers and pre-teens as a matter of course. Malkin quotes actress Christina Ricci's bubblehead reasons for self-mutilation, but if you parse the airhead babble it comes down to the same thing: externalization of internal discomfort and pain. The thing I find most striking in the last few years with the "growth" (I don't think it's grown, but instead become more open thanks to the Internet - as have so many other things) of cutting is the shift from a purely private form of coping on the part of the truly mentally ill to an apparently very public show of attention demands on those far less clinical. Using it as a form of self-punishment, as I unfortunately have done on occasion, is common to both groups. I've even used it as a way to stave off further self harm, such as a suicide attempt (not always successfully).

If Malkin really wants to know what cutting's really all about, she should take a stroll through any of the mental health communities over on Live Journal (I personally recommend the borderline personality disorder communities, as flashes of rage and psychosis so common with the disorder frequently result in cutting). Earlier this year I spent three days in the Wacky Ward, my roommate a painfully young college sophomore who had committed herself after her first act of cutting. She had become so overwhelmed by all of her responsibilities that she lashed out at the one thing she thought she could control: herself. And I really think this is far more typical of most non-psychotic cutters that you'll see.

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