A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Painby Published 01 Oct 1999
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Self-mutilation is a behavior so shocking that it is almost never discussed. Yet estimates are that upwards of eight million Americans are chronic self-injurers. They are people who use knives, razor blades, or broken glass to cut themselves. Their numbers include the actor Johnny Depp, Girl Interrupted author Susanna Kaysen, and the late Princess Diana.Mistakenly viewed as suicide attempts or senseless masochism--even by many health professionals--"cutting" is actually a complex means of coping with emotional pain. Marilee Strong explores this hidden epidemic through case studies, startling new research from psychologists, trauma experts, and neuroscientists, and the heartbreaking insights of cutters themselves--who range from troubled teenagers to middle-age professionals to grandparents. Strong explains what factors lead to self-mutilation, why cutting helps people manage overwhelming fear and anxiety, and how cutters can heal both their internal and external wounds and break the self-destructive cycle. A Bright Red Scream is a groundbreaking, essential resource for victims of self-mutilation, their families, teachers, doctors, and therapists.
A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain Reviews
As someone who has struggled with self-harm since the age of 11 (I'm just turned 25 three weeks ago), I found this book very intriguing. While there are some definite flaws, at least based on my own personal experiences, I would still recommend it to people trying to get into the mindset of someone who self-harms. While it can be frustrating that it doesn't accurately describe everything, you're never going to find a book that does that 100%. Self-harm begins and is done for such personal reasons that not one person will be able to write a book that another can relate to completely. The treatment center I was at recommended this book to my parents as a way to open the lines of communication. It is definitely worth reading and very insightful for what it is.
I read this book because i wanted to try to wrap my head and heart around cutting. It was completely beyond my comprehension as to why someone would self-mutilate.It definitely helped. I am not as near afraid of helping people with this struggle. This is a secular book that offers no hope. Jesus is the one who truly offers love and healing.
This is an interesting but ultimately flawed look at the phenomenon of self-mutilation as it relates to mental illness. Self-mutilation can take many forms, but the most common seem to be self-inflicted cutting and burning. It's not undertaken with an intent to commit suicide; instead, many people who cut or otherwise injure themselves believe it is one of the things that prevents them from committing suicide.
There aren't that many books for the layperson on this issue, despite increased exposure in the media. This book, by a journalist, pretty much falls under the "good start" category. My biggest problem with it is that at the outset, Strong mentions that the majority of people who self-injure are women who have been sexually abused, but that a sizable minority don't fit that category. She then proceeds to completely ignore self-injury in people who have NOT been sexually abused for the rest of the book. Almost all of the theories she discusses involve PTSD and dissociative disorder brought on by sexual trauma, and she seems to have disregarded any case history that did not fit this paradigm. This ended up frustrating me a lot, and also made me wonder what other inconvenient theories and case histories she'd disregarded in favor of a tidier narrative.
A friend made me read this at the time in my life where I still found the most relief in making myself bleed and creating new scars. A Bright Red Scream is a wonderful book that really did help me. It sheds a lot of light on the reasoning of cutters themselves and also on the underlying issues that can cause this behavior to manifest itself. I recommend it to both current and former cutters as I think it has the possibility to help you understand yourself. There is a lot of good information in this book as well as some personal stories. It's another book that I truly hope will bring this awful and dangerous behavior out of the hidden places of long sleeves, pants and little "accidents" and that will make people realize this is a REAL problem, not something to make fun of or something that people only do to get attention.
I read this book a while back but I remember it being interesting and full of true facts and stimulating interpretation. If you are a cutter, or if you know a cutter, this book will help you to understand the emotionally painful and taboo subject. Psychology students should also read this book.