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A Bright Red Scream - THE MORNING AFTER

girl friend

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"A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain"





It's that feeling again. You wake up and see blood stains on your sheets and on your carpet. Books and bits of paper strewn all over your room. Broken furniture. That familiar sting on your arms, on your torso. Your face is smeared red. You were doing so well, too--thirteen days since the last time. You feel numb, dazed, hung over, stupid. You can hardly get yourself up; you haven't eaten for three days and you've lost a lot of blood. Just what are you trying to prove? The maid comes in and sees red-stained tissues on the floor, looks at you, not too sure what to make of it. You try to piece together exactly what happened last night ...


You'd been working all day, wanted to go out and relax, enjoy yourself. No one around. Went to the liquor store, bought something to drink, sat in your room, listening to your favorite violent and depressive music. Something is welling up inside you, you notice. It feels like at any minute you're going to explode. Your eyes become watery, you start crying. The crying becomes shouts, yells, screams. You try and hold yourself down. Start kicking the door. Throw stuff accross the room, out the window. You can't calm down. You don't even know what got you into this state in the first place. You dig your nails into the skin on your wrist. Can't feel anything. It's like you're watching a film of someone; this isn't you. You take your shirt off, look in the mirror. Hate, disgust, frustration, anger, regret. Almost like a ritual, without even thinking what you're doing, you pick up the razor blade ... blood dripping down. Rub in some antiseptic, do it again, do it until you're calm, you're satisfied. Like when you go out for a drink and have one or two and you just want more, and you know it's stupid but you just can't help yourself.


How do you feel? Alive. Real. Numb. Calm. Satisfied. You smear the blood around. It's sick, but the blood feels real, feels human, feels good! At the same time, you feel the pain; you deserve the pain. You tell some people. They say you're manipulative, attention seeking. You believe it. Only serves to make you feel worse. Some people think you're sick, you're weird. One or two may understand, but they're still wary, still shocked by it. Some think you're suicidal. You're not.


Cutting is not attention seeking. It's not manipulative. It's a coping mechanism--a punitive, unpleasant, potentially dangerous one--but it works. It helps me cope with strong emotions that I don't know how to deal with. Don't tell me I'm sick, don't tell me to stop. Don't try to make me feel guilty, that's how I feel already. Listen to me, support me, help me.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _




"She pays such a terrible

price for her sin and

at last the outside

matches the in



--From the poem "Escape" by Camryn,

a nineteen-year-old Australian cutter

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Hard work helps, and forgetting yourself, because all problems appear when people spend too much time thinking about themselves and their problems, helping others starts spring in your mind...


I had a friend who cut himself the name of his ex-girlfriend on his hand and used loads of drugs after that just because she dumped him - hey, so much people leaved him alone because of him cutting himself later on every part of the body - he got even more depressive just because of that and even attempted suicide... half a year has passed and he just forgot it all and already knows that this was his own stupidity - he's going to get married soon...

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i agree with you about depression being a very serious physical illness. i also agree that cutting is a coping mechanism.


the part where we disagree is the legitimacy of it all. self injury has no benefits as it only fuels the pain and depression in the long run. in a short term perspective cutting yourself gives you a good "fix" to your pain but it doesn't actually solve anything. shooting up heroin would also "solve" your problems but it would cause a downward spiral that would be very hard to stop.


first of all i would probably lay of the booze, sounds like its only aggravating the situation. second, have you considered therapy? anti depression medicine?


the strongest person in the world is the one who can fess up to his own weakness.

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It's a coping mechanism--a punitive, unpleasant, potentially dangerous one--but it works. It helps me cope with strong emotions that I don't know how to deal with.

Don't tell me I'm sick, don't tell me to stop.

Listen to me, support me, help me.



A real psycologist could be able to listen to you without saying all the annoying stuff unskilled people told you so many times.

I on the other hand don't know how to listen without noticing that you need to find another way of coping with strong emotions you're feeling.

If I were skilled I would know how to do it. Since I'm not I feel completely incapable to give good help in a way you asked for.

It's scaring me to just listen and support because you're hurting yourself, so if something happened to you I would feel horrible for not saying stop doing that. Thats selfish and non - constructive from me but I just don't know how to be a great helper in this situation.

So the only thing I know to do is saying to you with a lot of respect that you need to ask for help someone who knows how to do it the way you asked combined with having great talks with nice people here on ena.


Good luck

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First of all CrazyKing, i disagree about the distraction tasks of keeping busy/stop thinking of yourself. Hard work will only differ a self-injurer, and possibly make what they know is to come, worse. IT never works. Throwing yourself into something else generally makes that approaching session more exciting, more needed.



Righteo i think theres been a bit of confusion! That extract up there is from the Book "A Bright Red Scream" as stated in the first line of my post. I didn't write it. (History-wise it was written by a Self Injurer though of course.)

So yeh its not me don't worry, sorry to scare you syrix, and major disaster averted!!!


I just posted it because i thought it was helpful in explaining the emotions that self-injurers feel, and what do do or not to do. Its also very very powerful.


Sorry about the confusion.


girl friend


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I have a copy of this book and it's a very good read. I sent a copy to a friend of mine in Australia because I thought it was so good. It's written from a great perspective and I highly recommend it to anyone suffering from self-injury.

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Wow that was...a little disturbing. I hope you get some help, it sounds like your going through alot and you can't handle it by yourself. I can't say I really understand cutting or why people do it but I really hope you find another way. I just wanted to say goodluck and you can get over this and stop but I don't think you can do it alone.

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