Question:

Hello,

I've been self harming (cutting myself) since I was 11. I am now 17. That's a long time and I still keep doing it. Nothing seems to stop me. My depression even got bad to the point that I've attempted suicide multiple times. I am now on medications for bipolar disorder and depression, but I still constantly want to cut myself. I began (months ago) reading the Bible every day and praying multiple times a day. I'm still just a terrible off as I was a year ago. I don't know what to do anymore. Sometimes I feel like God isn't paying attention to me. I just want to be healthy mentally and happy. I feel like I must have done something bad to deserve this. I feel terrible every day. I cry all the time. I constantly think about death. Does He not care anymore because of my suicide attempts?


Answer:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

I can't go into a lot of detail simply because I don't know the details behind your behavior. If you are looking for someone to make you stop hurting yourself, then I can't help you. As you are realizing no one can make you do what is right. No one can make you be happy if you are set on being unhappy. These are things each person has to choose for themselves to do. Now if you are choosing to stop the cutting, I'm very willing to cheer you on. I can also help you learn to choose to be happy.

One avenue to correcting this problem is understanding what it is that you believe you get from hurting yourself. I don't want to plant ideas in your mind, so if you want, let me know why you think you get involved in self-harming. When do you typically do it? What feelings come just before it? Is it because of something that happened in your past?

The second avenue is to realize that hurting yourself solves no problems, it only creates additional problems. Cutting gives the illusion that you are doing something, but nothing really changes; instead, you have yet another thing that you feel bad about. So in the long run you feel worse.

The third avenue is to realize that hurting yourself is morally wrong. When you cut you are harming yourself. You are acting as judge, jury, and executioner in your own case, but you are biased because you are involved. Your own emotions get in the way of seeing things accurately. The result is that you are going against what is in your nature, and I believe you know it. "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church" (Ephesians 5:29).

Suicide is an extreme form of self-harm. Like cutting, it solves nothing, damages yourself, and is a sin before God. See: Why is Suicide a Sin?

Yet, every sin can be forgiven. What God asks of you is to turn away from your sin. That is the idea of repentance. It means you change your mind about the sins you had been doing. You no longer consider them right and you no longer give excuses for doing them. Repentance also means you change your behavior. You stop making it easy to sin and you find good things to do instead. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

Finally, I've noticed that people will often get themselves into a habit of seeing life only one way. Life consists of a mixture of good and bad things. Some people focus only on the bad events that have happened, ignore the good, and then are convinced that there is nothing good in their lives. I have an exercise for you to do. It won't be easy at first, but I would like you to list out three things that happened today which were good. Send me your list and do that each day for a week.