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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Who Cuts Herself Can Get the Help She Needs to Heal

DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and cut myself on my wrists. I do it mostly when I get mad at someone. I also tried to choke myself when I was younger. One of my best friends and I talked about killing ourselves or running away.

I weigh 150 pounds. I weigh myself every night before I take a shower. I've tried to puke but it never comes up. I've also started skipping meals. My friends say I'm not fat, but my mom calls me chubby and pinches at the fat on my stomach.

My grades haven't been that great. I got three D's on my last report card. It's the worst I've ever done. I feel like I don't matter to anyone. My mom, friends, doctors and my aunt have asked what happened to my wrists (which is where I cut myself with scissors) and I tell them all the same thing -- "I don't know."

Abby, please help me. I want to end my life, but I don't have the guts. I still want to play in the Women's National Basketball Association when I get older, but I'm not sure I can wait. I don't want to go through this pain anymore. -- THIRTEEN WITH PROBLEMS

DEAR THIRTEEN WITH PROBLEMS: It's time for you to level with the people who love you. It is also time to call your doctor and tell him or her how you got the cuts on your wrists, and that you are fantasizing about suicide. No one will be angry with you or punish you. You may need medical help to overcome your self-destructive urges -- and to help you feel better about yourself.

Please understand that you are not alone in having this problem. It's one that is shared by many others. The good news is that help is available. Please write to S.A.F.E. Alternatives, Linden Oaks Hospital, 852 West St., Naperville, IL 60540, and include a legal-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope. You can look it up on the Web site for more information, at www.selfinjury.com.