Are you mad! Are you stupid!
Thinking back to the time that I said those two offensive sentences I actually had great belief in the words as they poured scorn out of my mouth. I did think this person was mad and I did think that they were stupid. Why else would anyone take a razor blade, puncture their skin and drag deep until the blood trickled down the arm turning the elbow into a crimson waterfall? Why would somebody plug an iron into the wall, wait until it clicked OFF and then place the tip onto their arm until the pungent smell of fried skin drafted upwards and into their nostrils?
It wasn’t just me who reacted in this way, in fact everybody close to this person behaved the same. We were so naive, so uneducated, and so ignorant. We loved this person and yet when they reached out for help we pushed them into a dark cupboard and closed the door. Years passed and I just hoped that the madness and stupidity would just go away…but it never did. Then my life started to change. I had realisation after realisation that my ego was keeping my mind locked in a prison. I have battled quite successfully to free myself and have had a few successes. Abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, giving up my job and dealing with the break up of my marriage. All of these so-called problems were just cheap parlour tricks created by my ego. Once I realised that I controlled my brain – and not my ego – then I was able to change my beliefs and therefore my actions.
So would this new man be able to help The Cutter? I tried to reach out once more. I saw the glint of hope sparkle in the corner of their eye as they believed this new and improved Lee could help. Once again I got it all wrong. This person was convinced that their problem was hereditary. Something biological. Something that was beyond their control. I was convinced that it was all in their mind. It was SELF-harm, meaning the mind told the body to inflict pain upon itself. As this person controlled their own mind then it was within their control to just stop. Unfortunately, as with most things, all my exuberance and willingness to help came to naught, as I lacked the skills to really make a difference.
It was then that I decided to turn to literature once more. I searched the Internet and came across this book. I told The Cutter that I was going to read the book in order to learn more about, what I called back then – The Cutters problem, and I could see that this was the most positive thing anybody had ever done for them in regard to their problem. I have deliberately used the word problem because I want to make the important distinction that before I read the book that is all I thought it was. Thanks to Steven Levenkron I now understand that this person is suffering from a severe mental illness, one shared by millions of people and even high profile people such as the late and great Princess Diana.
Reading the book was an uncomfortable experience for me. Since I was the victim of a stabbing around 18-years ago I have always found it difficult to watch, read or talk about anything to do with a blade. When I have these thoughts I get an uncomfortable physical feeling in the back of my legs, buttocks and gut and they were present throughout the reading of this book. But as with most things in life the more I read the more desensitised I actually became. I had the strangest experience while reading this book as I would find myself staring at it, lying on my bed, horror personified. The stories that were contained in the book were horrifying because they were real. Then there was the guilt. I just couldn’t shake it, after finally realising the reality of the situation. Here was someone that was very dear to me, scared to death with life and all the time under the very nose of someone who felt he was placed on this planet to help people. I felt like a fraud, a failure and it saddened me greatly.
If you know anybody who is a Cutter then I recommend that they take a look at this great book. I have also appended a few helpful links that people can visit below to get more educated on what is a very serious mental illness.