Thursday, May 22, 2008
- Ernest Hemingway
I rediscovered a favorite book of mine. It's not a pleasant book to read. But it's powerful, and it's true. Even though it's fiction, it's true.
Cassie's voice has been scared away. She doesn't speak. She cuts. She can express her pain through cutting. That's all she can say. Not knowing what else to do, her parents send her to an in-patient psych hospital.
I checked to make sure no one was around. Sure, I wanted to say. Sure. I willed myself to speak, but nothing happened. I sent commands from my brain to my mouth. Nothing. I wondered in a person's voice muscles can forget how to work if they're not used for a long time.and
I feel bad giving the silent treatment to someone who weighs only 92 pounds and has to wear a baseball cap to cover up a bald spot.The book it so true it hurts. That's why it isn't a pleasant read. It's not each reading. It's a short book - a fast reader could get though it in a single day, if she read cover to cover and didn't need to give her psyche a break. It isn't gory. Sure, blood is mentioned, but it's minimal. What's difficult is the raw pain of a girl who resorts to self injury. And it's worse if you can identify, even though friends who have self-injured.
"Do you really want us to ignore you?" There's nothing mean about the way Tara says this; there's nothing in her voice expect curiosity.
I lent my copy to a fried who needed it. Maybe I'll buy another copy. There are inexpensive used ones on Amazon.
Since I'm on the subject, if anyone wants to read more about SI, specifically cutting, try:
- Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm & Survival, by Victoria Leatham. A memoir, so know that her experiences are not shared by all who SI.
- Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation, by Steven Levenkron. Cutters hate the term "self-mutilation" because it implies mutilation is the goal. But it's more common among non-cutters and non-psychologists, so there you go. The author is a practicing psychotherapist, and this book is one of the best researched books I've found on the subject. And readable, too - it's meant for a general audience.
- Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers, by Karen Conterio and Wendy Lader, PhD. They founded an outpatient support group for SI that involves self-exploration, no-harm contracts, logs of emotion, and writing assignments. The idea is to take control of one's self and choose not to self-injure. They also discuss how family / friends can help. It's a good book, lots of information, but I think readers can pick and choose from their elaborate plan, particularly with the help of a personal therapist. Still, worth reading if you self-injure.