The narrator of my novel, The Dinner Party, is a compulsive self-mutilator. His is an exaggerated form of the cutting performed by many self-harmers; although his mental processes and ritualistic behaviour are somewhat more typical. This page is intended both as a counterweight to his excesses, and as a brief introduction to self injury.
Cutting oneself is a form of release,
a short-term relief from numbness or uncontrollable feelingsI know,
because I've done it myself in the past. If you're in a similar situation,
try to talk to someone BEFORE you cut, or visit one of the websites below:
you'll find you're not alone. If you're not a self-harmer but you have a friend/family
member who does it, here are some things you might like to know:
If you are a self harmeror you're concerned
about someone who isthere are many resources both in the UK and on the
web to help you:
The best SI website. Personal stories, help for self-harmers and their families, chat, medical information, a message board, and a comprehensive series of links.
An excellent forum for self-harmers, their families and friends.
The Sociology of Self Injury
Excellent soiological introduction to the subject, with plenty of useful links.
RecoverYourLife.com welcomes anyone who harms themselves in any way, including those who mutilate themselves or suffer from eating disorders. As well as a message board and chat room, it offers articles and advice, and has excellent sections devoted to artwork and poetry. It's a friendly and interactive site which encourages you to contribute in any way you can.
Bristol Crisis Service for Women (PO Box 654, Bristol BS99 1XH)
Resources for women who self-harm, including a confidential helpline (0117-925 1119) on Friday and Saturday nights, between 9.00pm and 12.30am.
Injury - A Life Long Struggle
A good personal website with stories, artwork, poetry and facts about SI.
BUS (Bodies Under Siege
Online support group for 'anyone with an interest in self-injury'. To join, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with subscribe bus as the mail body.
Self-Harm Network (PO
Box 16190 London NW1
Support group campaigning for the rights and understanding of self-harmers, with accent on practical advice and dealing with unhelpful medical attitudes.
Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation (Levenkron, S., Norton 1998, £16.95 hbk; also available in pbk). A good, general introduction which should be required reading for families, friends and health professionals alike. It's full of fascinating case studies, too, and I'd recommend it to anyone suffering from, or with an interest in, SI. You can download my review of the book here (Word format) or here (text only). This review originally appeared in The New Statesman in 1998.
The Scarred Soul: Understanding and Ending Self-Inflicted Violence (Alderman, T., New Harbinger 1997, £11.99 pbk). An excellent general resource on SI for those who want to stop.
Healing the Hurt Within: Understand and relieve the suffering behind self-destructive behaviour (Sutton, Jan, Pathways [How To Books] 1999, £12.95 pbk). For reviews, click here.
A Head Full of Blue (Johnstone, Nick,
Bloomsbury 2002, £9.99 pbk). Recommended to me by a friend, this
autobiographical account deals in a painful and brutally honest way with a
variety of self-harming behavioursalcoholism, destructive relationships,
I created this picture as a response to my own SI.
Feel free to email me about any of the issues on this page.