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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Knows From Experience That Cutting Won't End Pain

DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl. Recently I made a new friend, "Mandy," and confided to her about my dark past of depression. When I explained how I used to cut myself, she burst into tears and told me she had cut herself the day before. I didn't expect that response.

I know from experience that what Mandy is doing is not a good way to handle things. What stopped me from cutting was getting a permanent scar from it. Although plenty of people told me that cutting was no way to deal with my pain, the only one I listened to in the end was myself.

I really want Mandy to stop. I told her not to do it, but I'm afraid she will anyway. She's an amazing person, and she doesn't deserve the pain she is causing herself. How can I help her? -- BEEN THERE IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR BEEN THERE: Continue encouraging your friend to stop cutting, but if she's not able to, she may need professional help to quit. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

A counselor at school might be able to help if Mandy is willing to talk to one. But if she isn't, then tell your mother about this so she can let Mandy's mother know what's going on. Cutting can be a sign of serious depression, and secrets of this kind are destructive.

Read more in: Teens | Mental Health | Health & Safety