She’s not talking about biting her nails or twirling her hair. She’s talking about something much more serious: self-harm. And according to mental health professionals, Annie is not alone. While definitive statistics are tough to come by, it is estimated that anywhere between 13 to 25% of high school students deliberately cut, burn, punch or poison themselves on a repeated basis. Some do it to feel control over their bodies while the rest of life spins out of control; others say that inflicting physical injury is the only way to release the emotional pain that’s beneath the surface.
For Annie, it was a little bit of both:
Looking back I’ve realized I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to gain the approval of other people. This was hard when I was younger because I was never a very popular girl. I always felt like the unimportant friend in my group, and being some who needed people’s attention to feel good about myself, the thought that I didn’t matter really hurt.
It was a struggle, but eventually Annie found the acceptance she so desperately needed—from herself. “The funny thing is, once I had the acceptance I always wanted, I had already realized I didn’t need it,” she explains. Read her full essay at the Teen Flaunt site.
If you would like to have your teenager or student (age 13-18) write a “Teen Flaunt” that could potentially be published on the Teen Flaunt page, please submit the proposed essay (no longer than 700 words) to: meg [at] megzucker [dot] com.
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