Cutting — using a sharp object like a razorblade, knife, or scissors to make marks, cuts, or scratches on one’s own body — is a form of self-injury.
It can be hard to understand why anyone would hurt himself or herself on purpose. Learning that your own teen is doing it can leave you feeling shocked and upset — and not sure what to do or how to help.
For most, cutting is an attempt to interrupt strong emotions and pressures that seem impossible to tolerate. It can be related to broader emotional issues that need attention. Most of the time, cutting is not a suicide attempt.
Cutting affects many teens and preteens — even beyond those who self-injure. Many teens worry about a friend who cuts or face pressure from peers to try cutting as a daring thing to do.
In many cases, cutting and the emotions that go along with it are something teens struggle with alone. But because of growing awareness, more teens can get the help they need.
Parents can help teens who cut — and the earlier, the better. Cutting can be habit-forming, and sadly, many people underestimate the risks of getting seriously sick or hurt that go along with it.
What Parents Can Do
If your teen is cutting, there ways to help. By coping with your own feelings, learning about cutting, finding professional help, and just being there to love and believe in your teen, you’ll provide the calm, steady support that he or she needs.
Accept your own emotions. If you know or suspect that your teen is cutting, it’s natural to feel a whole range of emotions. You might feel shocked, angry, sad, disappointed, confused, or scared. You might feel hurt that your teen didn’t come to you for help or feel guilty that you didn’t know about it. All of these emotions are completely understandable. But it’s not your fault, and it’s not your teen’s fault.
Take time to identify your own feelings and find a way to express them. This might mean having a good cry, talking with a friend, or going for a walk to let off steam or quietly reflect. If you feel overwhelmed, talking with a therapist can help you sort things through and gain some perspective so that you can provide the support your teen needs.
Learn all you can about cutting. Find out all you can about cutting, why teens do it, and what can help them stop. Some teens cut because of peer pressure — and once they start, they can’t easily stop. Other teens feel pressure to be perfect and struggle to accept failures or mistakes. And still others contend with powerful moods like anger, sadness, worthlessness, and despair that feel hard to control or too heavy to bear. Cutting is sometimes the result of trauma and painful experiences that no one knows about.
It can hurt to think that your child might experience any of these feelings. As difficult as it is, try to keep in mind that exploring what pressures prompt your teen to self-injure is a necessary step toward healing.
Communication Is Key
Talk to your child. It can be hard to talk about such a painful topic. You may not know what you’re going to say. That’s OK. What you say won’t be nearly as important as how you say it. To open the conversation, you might simply say that you know about the cutting, and then convey your concern, love, and your willingness to help your child stop.
It will probably be hard for your teen to talk about it, too. He or she might feel embarrassed or ashamed, or worried about how you’ll react or what the consequences might be. You can help ease these worries by asking questions and listening to what your teen has to say without reacting with punishment, scolding, or lectures.
Let your teen know that cutting is often related to painful experiences or intense pressures, and ask what difficult issues your teen may be facing. Your teen might not be ready to talk about it or even know why he or she cuts. Even if that’s the case, explain that you want to understand and find ways to help.
Don’t be surprised if your teen resists your efforts to talk about cutting. He or she might deny cutting, get angry or upset, cry, yell, or storm off. A teen might clam up or say that you just don’t understand. If something like this happens, try to stay calm and patient. Don’t give up — find another time to communicate and try again.
Seek professional help. It’s important to seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional who can help you understand why your teen cuts, and also help your teen heal old hurts and develop new coping skills.
Therapy can allow teens to tell their stories, put their difficult experiences into words, and learn skills to deal with stresses that are part of life. Therapy also can help identify any underlying mental health condition that needs evaluation and treatment. For many teens, cutting is a clue to depression or bipolar (mood) problems, unresolved grief, compulsive behaviors, or struggles with perfectionism.
It’s important to find a therapist your teen can feel open and comfortable with. If you need help finding someone, your doctor or a school counselor might be able to provide guidance.
Offer encouragement and support. While your teen is getting professional help, stay involved in the process as much as possible. Ask the therapist to guide you in how to talk with and support your teen. And ask your teen how you can best help.
For example, it may help to:
- Let your teen know you’ll be there to talk to when feelings are painful or troubles seem too hard to bear.
- Help your teen create a plan for what to do instead of cutting when pressures get strong.
- Encourage your teen to talk about everyday experiences and put feelings, needs, disappointments, successes, and opinions into words.
- Be there to listen, comfort, and help your teen think of solutions to problems and offer support when troubles arise.
- Spend time together doing something fun, relaxing, or just hanging out. You might take a walk, go for a drive, share a snack, or run some errands.
- Focus on positives. While it helps to talk about troubles, avoid dwelling on them. Make sure what’s good about life gets airtime, too.
Set a good example. Be aware that you can influence how your child responds to stress and pressure by setting a good example. Notice how you manage your own emotions and deal with everyday frustrations, stress, and pressure. Notice whether you tend to put others down, or are self-critical or quick to anger. Consider making changes in any patterns you wouldn’t want your teen to imitate.
Be patient and be hopeful. Finding out that your teen is cutting may be the beginning of a long process. It can take time to stop cutting — and sometimes a teen doesn’t want to stop or isn’t ready to make the changes it involves.
To stop cutting takes motivation and determination. It also takes self-awareness and practicing new skills to manage pressures and emotional distress. These things can take time and often require professional help.
As a parent, you might need to be patient. With the proper guidance, love, and support, know that your teen can stop cutting and learn healthy ways to cope.
They say it takes a village to raise a child – but conversations with a community in Mali suggest it will take family, community and government support to end female genital mutilation (FGM) for good.
Grandparents, mothers, fathers and mother-in-laws all have their role to play, as do religious leaders who can help dispel the myth that FGM is a religious necessity.
In Mali, 76% of girls up to the age of 14 have undergone female genital cutting, compared to 83% of 15 to 49-year-olds – suggesting a declining trend. However, the practice has not yet officially been outlawed by the government.
Here are 7 lessons from a community Plan International is working with in Mali on how to end this harmful custom for good.
Learn more about our work to end FGM
1. Challenge the discriminatory reasons FGM is practised
Among the discriminatory reasons FGM is practised is a perceived need to control female sexuality.
“The purpose of female genital cutting is to ensure that a girl behaves properly, saves her virginity until she gets married and then stays faithful to her husband.” says Alima, 70.
“Sometimes, when my husband isn’t home, I’ll sit with my neighbours and we’ll discuss all kinds of things. They think the same way as me about cutting.” daughter-in-law Fatoumata, 25, explains.
“I too think it should be stopped.” says Alima. “Even if nobody listens to you and just carries on, you have to stand firm and maintain the dialogue. Such an ingrained custom can only be changed through perseverance.”
2. Change traditions – with the support of older generations
“In the past, grandmothers used to tell fairy tales and fables containing concealed life lessons. But nowadays children just don’t want to know. Similarly, grandmothers were the ones who provided sexual education. We’ve lost that role too, but I think it should be reinstated.” says Ma, 65 (pictured below).
“We grandmothers have the time to keep an eye on things. If a granddaughter goes out and comes home late, her grandmother would be able to tell by the twinkle in her eye if she’s fallen in love. Children are often more inclined to tell something to their grandmother rather than their mother.”
3. Educate girls on their right to decide what happens to their body
Sanaba, 24, was one of the last girls in her family to be cut. She talks to friends from her neighbourhood who will help decide on their daughters’ futures.
“Some of them want to cling to this tradition, even though they are aware of the consequences.”
Her mother, Fatoumata adds: “I don’t think it’s normal for a woman not to enjoy sex.”
“More and more children are going to school and learning to think for themselves,” says Sanaba. “No child who is well informed and able to stand up for himself or herself wants the practice of genital cutting to continue. I think women of my age should support teenage girls.”
4. Speak out about the risks and realities of FGM
FGM has lasting physical and mental consequences that need to be discussed so that girls and women no longer have to suffer in silence.
“M’Pène is 4 now, but we decided when she was born that we didn’t want her to be cut. That’s because I’d seen photos and a video of a girl’s cutting. My husband agrees with me. He’s a member of the village council, as a medical advisor, so he knows what’s involved. He watches a lot on TV about it and listens to the radio,” says Korotoumou, 30.
“This is the first time that my mother-in-law and I have discussed cutting. The opinion of a girl’s grandmother is crucial. I’m sure that if grandmothers were to see these images, they too would want to stop cutting. We’ll find a solution to the issue of cutting. And daring to talk about it is the first step.”
5. Spread understanding that religion does not demand FGM
“People think that Islam advocates cutting to ensure that a girl stays virtuous and pure. I tell them that I lost my own daughter to female genital cutting and that it’s a practice that must be stopped because of all the problems it causes,” says Nega, 48, an Imam in his village.
“My assistant said to me recently, “If I didn’t know your story, I’d still preach that in the name of our religion, the tradition of cutting should be continued.’
“People don’t seem to be able to distinguish between religion and traditional practices. They tend to see them as one and the same thing.”
6. Tackle the secrecy that allows cutting to continue
“In the old days, genital cutting was an initiation rite for girls, to prepare them for their future. The whole community would participate. But nowadays it’s become more controversial and it usually takes place discreetly at home. And the girls who are cut are getting younger and younger. This is because the younger a girl is, the less likely she’ll be to discuss it with her friends,” says Fatoumata.
Rokia, a grandmother of 92, says the practice is in steady decline: “Here in the village, there are no more cutting ceremonies. People do occasionally have their daughters cut, but they take them to neighbouring villages. Or they’ll have the cutter come in secrecy, because they know that people will gossip.”
7. Keep pushing for FGM to be banned
Djaminatou, a village educator trained by Plan International suggests that grassroots support for an end to FGM will lead to an official ban.
“Cutting, is a violation of children’s rights: the right to physical integrity, the right to good health and the freedom to make your own choices. It even violates a child’s right to be educated. If the wound becomes infected because the cutter uses an unsterilised knife, for example, the girl will fall ill and be unable to attend school.
“My biggest challenge in the struggle against female genital cutting is the passing of legislation that will outlaw it. Then, and only then, will we be able to put an end to FGM. But it will take a lot of lobbying and advocating, at all levels: in government, in parliament, and in villages and communities.”
As well as the need for legislative change, it’s essential that the traditional attitudes and social norms that allow FGM to continue are tackled so that open honest discussions about the risks and consequences of FGM may happen.
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.
Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist.
Cutting is a type of self-harm in which teens deliberately cut or scratch themselves with knives, razor blades, or other sharp objects, but not with any intention of trying to commit suicide.
Other self-harm behaviors can include head-banging, branding or burning their skin, overdosing on medications, and strangulation.
These behaviors are more common than you might think with an estimated range of 6.4% to 30.8% of teens admitting to trying to harm themselves.
Why Teens Cut Themselves
Parents and pediatricians often have a hard time understanding why teens would cut or do other things to harm themselves. Not surprisingly, cutting is a complex behavioral problem and is often associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Teens who cut themselves are more likely to have friends who cut themselves, low self-esteem, a history of abuse, and/or thoughts of committing suicide.
While it is sometimes seen as an attention-seeking behavior, cutting is a way for kids to release tension, relieve feelings of sadness or anger, or distract themselves from their problems.
Of course, any relief is only temporary. While some teens who cut may have a friend who cuts or may have read about it or seen it on TV, most kids who start cutting say that they were not influenced by anyone or anything else and came up with the idea themselves.
Signs of Cutting
Cutting is most common in teens and young adults—especially among teen girls—and often starts around age 12-14.
Teens who cut themselves are usually described as being impulsive. Some are also described as being overachievers.
In terms of warning signs and red flags, your teen may be cutting if she:
- Always wears long-sleeved shirts or long pants (even when the weather is warm) to cover new cutting marks or older scars on her arms, wrists, or thighs (those are common areas of the body where cutting occurs)
- Routinely has suspicious cuts, scratches, or burns on her belly, legs, wrists, or arms
- Is developing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or alcohol abuse
- Has trouble controlling her emotions (like if your teen doesn't know how to handle herself when she feels sad or angry)
If you think that your child is cutting, ask them about it gently. If the answer is yes, it's important not to get mad or overreact. You don't want to make them feel bad for doing it. Keep in mind that cutting is often a symptom of a larger problem, and you, as a parent, can help your child figure out the underlying cause by seeking professional help (more on that below).
It is critical to seek treatment for your teen right away if she is cutting, both to help treat any underlying psychiatric problems, like depression or anxiety and to prevent cutting from becoming a bad habit. The longer a teen cuts herself, the harder it becomes to break the habit.
Cutting can also lead to more problems later in life. In fact, the S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self Abuse Finally Ends) treatment program describes cutting as ‘ultimately a dangerous and futile coping strategy which interferes with intimacy, productivity, and happiness.’
These are some forms of treatment that may help your teen quit cutting and learn healthier coping strategies.
Teens who cut should be evaluated and treated by counselors or psychologists who have experience in treating teens with this particular condition. These types of professionals are skilled at talk therapy and can provide a safe, non-judgmental space in which your teen can speak openly about the problems that she's facing.
Remember, it can sometimes be hard for a teen to completely open up to a parent, so talking to someone who is removed from their everyday lives might be easier for your child.
An evaluation by a child psychiatrist (a medical doctor who can prescribe drugs) might also be a good idea for further treatment ideas, which might include antidepressants when necessary.
You might look for a treatment center in your area that specializes in cutting. The name of the treatment center might include the phrases "self-harm," "self-injury," or "self-mutilation."
Your teen might also find help by joining a self-harm support group. Meeting others who cut might help her feel less alone and might help her learn how others have successfully stopped cutting themselves.
Treatment for cutting will likely focus on helping the teen develop healthier coping mechanisms when faced with feelings of anger, stress, or sadness. It will also help boost a teen’s self-esteem, help manage any underlying psychiatric problems, and help make sure that the teen isn’t having thoughts of suicide.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985. Laws passed then made it an offence to carry out FGM, but this legislation had to be updated for the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. With increasing numbers of girls being taken abroad to be cut, it became apparent that more needed to be done. The spike in cases that occurred around the summer holidays has come to be known as ‘cutting season’.
The updated laws made it an offence to take a girl abroad to undergo FGM, for a UK national or resident to carry out the procedure abroad or help someone not a UK national to carry out the procedure abroad. The maximum penalty is 14 years in prison.
Laws are in place to stop FGM, but legislation is only part of the solution. To make real change and end ‘cutting season’ we also have to work together to protect girls who are in danger.
How can you help stop FGM and ‘Cutting Season’?
Here are three things you can do to help bring ‘cutting season’ and FGM to an end.
Although more people are aware of FGM the majority are not aware of ‘cutting season’ and just how many girls are at risk. An important step in the fight to stop FGM is simply raising awareness of the problem. You can do this by sharing this article on Facebook and Twitter and adding your voice to the conversation using #EndFGM.
Groups that practise FGM do so for a complex set of reasons and the procedure has existed for many generations. Just shouting that it’s wrong isn’t going to change their minds. We need to reach out to and work in partnership with resident communities in the UK if we want to stop FGM. The Government has been issuing grants to help, as part of their anti-FGM initiative.
If you live in an area where this is happening see if you can volunteer to help. Even if you don’t it’s worth finding out how services and individuals can engage with communities. Voicing concerns is important, but it’s practical action that will have the most effect.
Girls who might be taken abroad for ‘cutting season’ will be young, possibly not fully aware of why they are going, and if they are they may not feel able to speak out. It’s important to watch for warning signs if you know anyone who you believe is at risk. Potential warning signs could be:
- A planned summer trip to a country known to practise FGM.
- A girl may talk about visiting relatives for a special ceremony or event.
- A holiday that includes additional time away before, or at the end of, the summer holidays, encroaching on school time.
If you suspect someone is in danger you can contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550. The line is free to call, anonymous and open 24/7. You should also call if you believe a girl has already undergone FGM.
To find out more about FGM and how it might affect you or young people in the UK that may be at risk, visit the Petal web app.
‘Cutting season’ is a threat to potentially thousands of girls in the UK.
Amanda (not her real name) was feeling overwhelmed. Her parents were preoccupied with financial worries. Her algebra teacher had assigned tons of homework. And her best friend was not speaking to her because of a fight they had a couple of days earlier. Amanda felt alone and afraid. After a particularly tough algebra exam, she felt her world was caving in. She ran into a stall in the girls’ bathroom, rolled up her sleeve, and cut her left arm as hard as she could with her nails. She drew blood, but she continued to scratch and cut. In her mind, self-injury was the only way she could deal with all the dealing with stress.
A few minutes later, her feelings of hopelessness subsided. And self-injury gradually became a ritual: Every time Amanda was in a stressful or uncomfortable situation, she would “release” the bad feelings by cutting her left arm with her nails or even with a razor blade. She carefully concealed the scars to avoid questions from friends and family.
When teens feel sad, distressed, anxious, or confused, the emotions might be so extreme that they lead to acts of self-injury (also called cutting, self-mutilation, or self-harm). Most teens who inflict injury on themselves do so because they are experiencing stress and anxiety.
Besides cutting and scratching, hitting, biting, picking at skin, and pulling out hair are some of the other ways teens use self-injury to cope with intensely bad feelings. Sometimes teens injure themselves regularly, almost as if it were a ceremony. Other times, they may hurt themselves at moments when they need an immediate release for built-up tension.
Self-injury is an unhealthy and dangerous act and can leave scars, both physically and emotionally.
Stress and Self-Injury
Everybody experiences stress. But stress can feel very different for different people. Sometimes it is characterized by feeling nervous or jumpy. It can also include feelings of intense sadness, frustration, or anger.
These feelings are often (but not always) caused by things that happen during the day (such as a car accident or a fight with a friend). They can also be caused by something that is going to happen in the future (such as a big test or a dance recital). Stress also appears in different levels, or degrees.
Some people naturally feel higher levels of stress than others. For examples, two performers in a school play might feel drastically different about performing. One might be excited; the other might feel dizzy and nauseous.
This difference may be due to a person’s biological makeup, or it might be due to a traumatic experience at a very young age. While these feelings may be triggered by a certain event or by many bad things happening in a short period of time, intense feelings of frustration could also be related to a person’s upbringing. Children of abusive parents might lack good role models for dealing with stress in a healthy way.
Just as everyone experiences stress in unique ways, everyone deals with stress in different ways. These ways of lessening bad feelings are called “coping mechanisms.” There are healthy coping mechanisms, like:
- Playing the piano or drums
- Meditating or praying
- Talking with someone you trust
There are also unhealthy coping mechanisms, like:
- Drug use
- Alcohol abuse
- Cigarette smoking
Psychologists have found that self-injury can rapidly get rid of tension and other bad feelings. But, like drugs and alcohol, self-injury provides only a quick fix. Besides the physical consequences, one danger of self-injury is that the habit can last into adulthood. That’s why it’s crucial that teens learn safe, healthy, effective coping strategies so they can deal with anxiety and stress appropriately into adulthood.
Are Body Piercing and Tattooing Forms of Self-Injury?
Imagine a boy about 13 years old who accepts a friend’s challenge to play “bloody knuckles” (punching each other’s fists until they bleed). Then consider girls around 15, who lie about their age at a booth in the mall and get their eyebrow pierced. Or perhaps you’ve known a teen couple who got matching tattoos with each other’s names.
The thing that distinguishes self-injury from other forms of physical harm is the elevated mood a teen experiences after self-injury. So the above examples — although potentially dangerous in their own right — are typically not acts of self-injury.
Is Self-Injury a Sign of Mental Illness?
It’s important to understand that a teen who is a self-injurer is not mentally ill. Self-injury is not merely a way to get attention. Even though the self-injurer may not feel the pain while inflicting the wound, they will feel pain afterward.
Thus, such injuries should not be brushed aside as mere manipulation, nor should the teen be made fun of for being different. Self-injury should be taken seriously by friends and family. Trust and compassion can make a world of difference.
Is Self-injury Like Suicide?
People who self-injure to get rid of bad feelings are not necessarily suicidal. Self-injury is almost the opposite. Instead of wanting to end their lives, those who inflict physical harm to themselves are desperate to find a way to get through the day without feeling horrible.
Though the two concepts are different, self-injury should not be brushed aside as a small problem. The very nature of self-injury is physical damage to one’s body. It’s important for the self-injurer to seek help at once.
Can You Prevent Self-Injury?
A person may not be able to stop injuring themselves “cold turkey.” But seeing a counselor or joining a support group will likely help to ease the frequency and severity of self-injury. Intense negative feelings may cause a person to feel isolated from the rest of the world, so a social support system is important to fight self-injury.
There are effective treatment strategies for those who self-injure. The forms and causes of self-injury are unique to each individual. A psychologist or counselor will be able to tailor a treatment strategy to each person.
IMPORTANT: Seek Help Immediately for Self-Injury
If you have urges to self-injure, or have already done so, confide in someone who can help you find a better way to cope with bad feelings. That might be a parent, an older sibling, a minister, a rabbi, a guidance counselor, health care practitioner, psychologist, social worker, or another trusted adult.
Do the same if you know of someone who inflicts physical harm on their body. Self-injury deserves immediate attention.
StopAbuseforEveryone.org: “Self-Abuse Finally Ends.”
Performance Resource Press Online: “Understanding Self-Injurious Behavior.”
Carlos Yu does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Queen's University, Ontario provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA.
Queen's University, Ontario provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.
The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations
I recently worked a shift in the emergency room at a Toronto-area hospital and was asked to see a 12-year-old boy who had cut himself for the first time, on his wrist.
Cutting with razors, knives or other sharp objects is a common method of inflicting “self-harm” — deliberate attempts to hurt oneself, without conscious suicidal intent. Other methods include burning or hitting oneself.
Hospitalizations from incidents of self-harm are increasing in Canada — especially among pre-teen and teenage girls — and globally.
Over five years from 2009-10 to 2013-14, the rate of intentional self-harm-related hospitalizations in girls increased by more than 110 per cent — from 78 to 164 per 100,000 female youth. The rate for boys increased by more than 35 per cent — from 23 to 32 per 100,000 male youth. And this does not include all the cases that do not make it into the hospitals.
Like many, this boy did not know exactly why he did what he did; so I talked it through with him while I repaired his laceration. He left smiling and satisfied. His mom sent me an email today thanking me for taking care of her son.
Why young people self-harm
I recall another incident last year, with another 12-year-old boy who had cut himself. This was his third emergency room visit for cutting; the story was that “he began cutting only after having met a female friend who cuts.”
I asked him why he cuts? He looked up briefly and said it’s because “everyone hates me.” I asked him why if others hate him, they aren’t doing the cutting. He looked puzzled.
I then asked him if it is possible that he is struggling with difficult feelings or thoughts that he can’t stop, and if he is using the pain of cutting to interrupt them. He looked up and held my gaze for the first time and nodded his head.
I asked him what else he does to stop these thoughts and feelings. Does he play video games? He quickly denied it. His mom pointed out that he plays hockey and has no time to waste. So I asked him again what else he does to stop his thoughts. His mom looked surprised when he finally said he punched walls.
I asked him if the pain helps him stop his thoughts and feelings. He said yes. I then asked him what else? He said he banged his head against walls.
Like many others who self-harm, this boy is cutting himself in an attempt to cope with events in his life, and the overwhelming emotions and thoughts that arise.
‘Take Five:’ A mindfulness strategy
I asked the first boy if I could share with him a mindfulness-based and painless technique called “Take Five” that may help him deal with difficult thoughts. He looked at me earnestly and agreed.
I instructed him as follows:
- Hold up one spread hand and hold out the index finger in the other.
- Slowly trace the outline of the spread hand with the index finger of the opposite hand in the following way.
- Wait for the next (preferably involuntary) breath.
- Trace up the digit with each inspiration.
- Trace down the digit with each expiration.
- Repeat until the entire spread hand is traced.
I explained to him that by intentionally paying attention to the sensation of his breath and the tracing of his hand, he can redirect his attention away from his difficult thoughts and feelings without the the pain and trouble of his current methods.
I encouraged him to practise this new technique at every chance he gets. I suggested that his ability to direct his attention will improve with these regular practices — just like hockey drills improve his play.
Mental health challenges are common
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, around 50 per cent of the population will have experienced mental illness by the age of 40.
The 2016 report of an American College Health Association survey in Ontario revealed that 65 per cent of students “reported experiencing overwhelming anxiety in the previous year” and 13 per cent had seriously considered suicide.
Encouraging preliminary evidence suggests that therapists can foster mindfulness, in a relatively brief period of time and that mindfulness can affect a variety of processes thought to contribute to suicidal behaviour.
Opportunities for greater understanding
Before he left, I asked this boy if anyone else in his family suffered difficulty with thoughts and feelings. He said “my twin.” I asked, “who else?” He pointed to his mom.
I asked, “what about when your dad loses his temper and yells at you about hockey?” He thought and began smiling and nodding. So I suggested that he might find an appropriate moment to share his new knowledge and Take Five with his father.
He held my gaze continuously. In my peripheral vision, I noticed he had continued to practise Take Five by tracing his hand.
I suggested to him that many people struggle with these challenges and that he is not alone. I explained that by developing his ability to choose the object of his moment to moment attention, he can develop self-compassion and open many exciting possibilities.
I also pointed out to him that even the Olympic silver medallist may cry for being only the second best; that the “worst” player exhibits great courage for simply being part of the game; and that everyone has the right to be happy.
I directed him to a free online mindfulness training program and encouraged his family to check it out.
He then reached out and shook my hand firmly for helping him.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, free crisis support is available at Canada’s Crisis Text Line and international suicide prevention hotlines.
It’s no secret I had weight loss surgery. I even bragged a little that I only had minimal hair loss. Well, that has changed. At four months post-op, my hair fell out in handfuls, I tried everything to coarse correct (see what I did there) but I’m going to tell you how I Stopped my Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery.
Does Everyone Lose Hair after Bariatric Surgery?
No! I’m just lucky, I guess. My Doctors at Cooper Bariatric told me 50% of WLS surgery patients lose hair but the loss isn’t permeant. Hair loss typically starts between 4-6 months post-op.
Mine started falling out once I hit the 4-month post-op milestone. I mean just when I started feeling sexy and healthy again, my hair fell out…whomp whomp. By month five I was getting scared with the clumps of hair coming out in the shower, so I headed to my hairdresser. I chopped my hair to a very short curly bob.
It was traumatic seeing my long, thick, curly hair fall out constantly, so I went for that short and sassy look. As a side note, invest in a hair catcher and hair de-clogger for your shower so you don’t kill your plumbing.
What Causes Hair Loss?
According to Virtua Health, protein intake, stress and hormones all play a role. And being that its hard to get protein goals in post-op, me being always stressed, and my hormones are always out of whack, it’s not surprising my hair abandoned ship.
I went from full Tracee Ellis Ross type hair to very thin curly hair. Losing a lot around the crown, the kitchen, and the temple areas. I have one bald spot but also got a kick ass hat collection, so you know I made lemonade out of lemons.
If I had to guess, I would say I lost about 50% of my hair. I style around the bald spots and rock my new favorite hats to avoid questions from friends.
How I Stopped my Hair Loss
First, can I say I found the hair loss traumatic. My mother died from cancer, losing my hair triggered that memory and rattled my anxiety and depression. So, I had no choice but to get it together.
As always, consult a doctor if you have hair loss to make sure there is nothing else medical going on.
I cut my hair into a bob length. If you are getting a new do, shorter the better. Because my hair was so thick and full it was weighing down my weak ass hair follicles and pulling my hair out of my head. I wish I had cut my hair when I got the surgery, I believe this would have reduced some of the thinning.
Make different styling choices. I was the queen of slick backed pony’s and high buns. This put a lot of tension around my kitchen and temple area and my already angry hair follicles were like F it, we give up, and the hair just came out.
Opt for low tension hairstyles such as leaving your hair down, loosely putting it back, or low-tension braids.
Vitamins and Supplements
Public Service Announcement: Take your vitamins and Supplements. For reference, here is what my doctor recommended I take post-op: 2 Flintstone Complete Vitamins, B12/B Complex and Calcium.
I added in 2 dosages of Biotin daily to help jump start the hair growth from where my locks fell out. My hair is growing back very quickly and my nails are thick and beautiful for the first time ever, so more lemonade from those lemons.
I tried out a lot of different shampoos and conditioners. My hair wash routine is typically 1-2 times a week, so I tried/researched each shampoo and conditioner for 2-4 weeks. I won’t go into what products failed me, because they may work for other people. Instead, let’s talk about the one that worked wonders for me. I swear I hear angels sing when I put it on in the shower.
Finally, I tried the Shampoo and Conditioner for Nexxus Keraphix – Damage Healing/Keratin Protein and Black Rice for Severely Damaged Hair. I noticed a difference after the first wash. So, I went out and bought the giant bottles in bulk. Then threatened my husband to not use my fancy products, like I always do when I spend more than $5 on a product. (yeah I’m not sure why he married me either).
As for styling, I’ve been trying to use very minimal products. My favorite right now is Knot today detangler, and that is all I’ve been using to style my hair.
Pre-Op me would put conditioner in and detangle my curls aggressively with a paddle brush in the shower. When my hair began falling out in chunks, I stopped my violent brushing routine.
I switched to the Wet Brush Shower Flex detangling brush. It’s gentle while it detangles and it doesn’t hurt when I’m brushing out the knots.
I sleep with a CPAP and the silicon straps rub back and forth all night pulling at my hair. Pre-Surgery I was very lazy about wrapping my hair at night, I could get away with just using a silk pillow case. Post-Op I started using silk headwraps and headbands before I put on my CPAP. I recommend wrapping your hair even if you don’t have a CPA, especially if you are a restless sleeper.
Try and eat a balanced diet, I know, I know complete cliché. Get your protein goals in. I sneak unflavored Protein Powder into everything to make sure I hit my 80 grams of protein a day. If you’ve had Weight Loss Surgery go to your post-op appointments and get your blood work done to make sure your health is good.
I’ll continue to update everyone on new tips for hair loss. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments.
Hey girl. Don’t even pretend that you’ve never said, “I wish I could turn off my period for one day, or one night.” Right? Sure you have. Why would you even want to stop your period for one day or stop it after it has already started? Yes, you can do that, too, if you know the right techniques. By the way, don’t forget that this is a discussion, so kindly share with others, if you’ve tried any of these techniques or when you most wanted to turn your period off!
Well, there are lots of good reasons that any woman would consider different ways to shorten her period. Maybe it’s her birthday or Valentine’s day and she’s got a special evening with her partner lined up. It’s natural to worry that you won’t have a good time because of bleeding, cramps, or some other related discomfort.
Maybe you suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and you want to put a chill on some of your symptoms? Hey, you might even want to consider how to stop your period permanently. Sometimes, I do!
Before You Go Any Further: If you came here for information about natural treatments to ease your discomfort, you might consider the top 10 best herbs to ease your period or common foods that might make cramps a little easier. You might also want to know if your period stops in water? Here’s the science on water and your period.
What’s in the article: We’ll discuss the top 8 ways to stop your period for a little while including using over the counter medicines, natural treatments and even beverages that you can drink.
How can you slow down your cycle?
How to stop your period with ibuprofen: Three Ibuprofen every six hours on a full stomach will help stop your period for one day without your period by reducing your flow about 50%. Stay under the maximum dosage for a day and don’t take it every day. Ask your doctor before you start taking so much Ibuprofen to stop your period. There are other things you should know about taking Ibuprofen to stop your period, read “Does Ibuprofen Stop Your Period?”
The natural way: You won’t be able to stop your period completely this way, but it will be very light. First, drink a lot of water, take a bath and drink a few more glasses of juice. Most importantly, eat healthy foods and exercise. Your body needs vitamins so eat a lot of fruit too. A secret tip is to eat green beans. All these ingredients will give you a very light period.
The party solution: Alcohol has been known to stop your period for a brief time – like a few hours, but you can’t drink every time you want to stop your menstrual cycle, so this method has very limited use.
Can you use vinegar to stop your period?
Though vinegar can’t stop your cycle completely it can slow your flow and regulate your period. Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glassful of water and drink it. During your period, you could do this three times a day.
Hide it: If you are planning on having getting really close with someone, you should consider this method. Use these round spongy makeup pads and your flirt won’t notice it. Another solution is to use a tampon cut to a third or half. Keep the string attached to make it easier to pull it out.
Gelatin: With this method, you can stop your period for a few hours. Buy gelatin from the grocery store and mix a package with water. Drink it fast and in about three hours your period should stop.
Lemon: That’s a tip your old aunty would give you, but it works. Chew on a piece of lemon and your period will stop or at least cut short. Read more about how to stop your period with lemon.
Bonus Tip: If you are considering a permanent solution, read this article: how to stop periods permanently.
Every woman and therefore every period is different. Not all of the tips will work for every woman. Try a few and see what has the best effect on you. If you are experiencing pain or heavy bleeding, go and see a doctor.