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Famous Self-Harmers

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    • The violinist best known for her Opheliac album and her autobiographical novel, "The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls," which is a detailed account of bipolar disorder and the modern day psych ward in which she stayed after a suicide attempt. She compares and contrasts the modern day ward with the Victorian insane asylums. The chapters of the diary are culled directly from her own diary. One chapter of the novel is called "Cutting Diary" and contains several pictures of self-injury and an account of dealing with self-injury that alternates between handwriting and type. The words written underneath the chapter title are "Why am I not ashamed?" 

      "Taking my first good, hard look around the place I have just learned might be my home for quite some time, my eyes are instantly drawn to a long, thin string hanging from the wall beside my bed. Above this string is a sign reading "PULL ROPE TO CALL NURSE." My obvious thought is that the string could easily be used as a weapon of self-destruction, and, if I can't have a pencil, then what the fuck? Imagining for a moment that it could hold my weight, I envision myself knotting the string into a noose and pulling it down around my neck. Then, when the nurse is called as a result of my "pulling the rope," she will enter the room to find my body dangling ironically from the string. That, in a place like this, is pure comedy gold".

      One complete page of the "Cutting Diaries" says "pain, pain, pain, pain" in type over and over again with the words "If you're depressed, death is an upgrade" handwritten at the top.

      On Emilie's Opheliac album  the song Liar contains references to self-injury:

      I'm hurting you for your own good
      I'd die for you, you know I would
      I'd give up all my wealth to buy you back the soul you never sold

      I want to mix our blood and put it in the ground
      So you can never leave
      I want to win your trust, your faith, your heart
      You'll never be decieved

      Liar, liar, liar, liar
      Liar, liar, liar, liar
      Liar, liar, liar, liar
      Liar, liar, liar, liar
      Liar, Liar

      I want you to heal you pretty sweet 

      Emilie, even if not ashamed of her past with self-injury, does not advocate it. Her novel comes complete with a trigger warning saying, "This story is not meant to educate and entertain. The author does not advocate suicide or self-harm of any kind in any way whatsoever. If you are suffering from a mental illness and require counseling, please contact a certified professional. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, please call your local emergency hotline." 

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    • Johnny Depp, an actor well known for his portrayal of eccentric characters in such movies as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Pirates of the Caribbean, was born in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1963. When he was young he was also know for his "bad boy" behavior. In a 1999 Avantgarde interview Johnny said, "As a teenager I was so insecure. I was the type of guy that never fitted in because he never dared to choose. I was convinced I had absolutely no talent at all. For nothing. And that thought took away all my ambition too." Even today he still has feelings of insecurity about himself. In 1999 he said, "My self-image it still isn't that alright. No matter how famous I am, no matter how many people go to see my movies, I still have the idea that I'm that pale no-hoper that I used to be. A pale no-hoper that happens to be a little lucky now. Tomorrow it'll be all over, then I'll have to go back to selling pens again." During his teens he had drinking, smoking and doing drugs. There were episodes of petty theft and vandalism. He dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen so that he could concentrate on being a musician. He continued to have problems with drugs and drinking into his twenties.

      Johnny has a series of seven or eight scars on his left forearm where he has cut himself with a knife on different occasions to commemorate various moments or rights of passage in his life. In a Talk magazine interview he said, "It was really just whatever [times when he hurt himself]--good times, bad times, it didn't matter. There was no ceremony. It wasn't like 'Okay, this just happened, I have to go hack a piece of my flesh off.'" In a 1993 Details magazine interview Johnny explained his self-injury, "My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist." Johnny has several tattoos, such as the one that says 'Wino Forever' (used to be 'Winona Forever" when he was dating the famous actress, Winona Ryder).

      Johnny Depp has quit doing drugs and no longer drinks heavily. In a 2001 Movie Star Magazine interview he talked about how he is currently the happiest he has ever been, "My upbringing made me as I am now. But I can become merry and happy at once. There were many years I was feeling at a loss about my life or how I grew up. I couldn't understand what is right or what is precious. At that time, I was so miserable and self-defeating. I was feeling angry with various things. My anger came up to the surface then. I don't say such tendency has disappeared. Even now there are anger and the dark side in myself. But it's the first time I've been so close to the light."

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    • Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of "Prozac Nation" and "Bitch," was born on July 31, 1967, in the middle of the Summer of Love. Her parents divorced before she turned two, and her father would sleep through all her visits. Her mother was over-protective and usually unemployed. She describes herself as being a "golden girl" until she turned eleven, a time when she first broke down.

      "When I was ten or eleven, I really cracked up, started hiding in the locker room at school, crying for hours, or walking around the corridors saying, Everything is plastic, we're all gonna die anyway, so why does anything matter? I'd read this phrase in a picture of some graffiti in a magazine article about punk rock, which I decided was definitely a great invention. When I stopped talking, stopped eating, stopped going to school, and started spending my time cutting my legs up with razor blades while listening to dumb rock music like Foreigner on a little Panasonic tape recorder, my parents agreed I needed psychiatric help. To make a very long and complicated story short, my mom found a therapist for me, my dad didn't like him and kept trying to sneak me off to others, I never got terribly effective treatment, my father refused to file an insurance claim for the psychiatrist I was seeing, and the whole scenario concluded with me as messed up as ever, but with all the adults involved suing one another. My mom sued my dad for unpaid alimony and child support, my psychiatrist sued my dad for unpaid bills, and after years of lawyers everywhere, my father finally fled to Florida when I was fourteen years old and did not turn up in my life again until my freshman year at Harvard."

      Elizabeth was clinically depressed. During her college years she had a series of breakdowns and drug abuse. Finally, she attempted to kill herself in her psychiatrist's bathroom and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. She began taking Prozac, one of the first individuals to take Prozac. She told how it helped her, "Something just kind of changed in me...I became all right, safe in my own skin...One morning I woke up, and I really did want to live...The black wave, for the most part, is gone. On a good day, I don't even think about it any more."

      Elizabeth wrote a memoir of her struggles with depression, "Prozac Nation," and a book that describes the history of manipulative female behavior, "Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women." She has written articles and for various newspapers and magazines. In 2000 she revealed that she had become addicted to Ritalin and cocaine during the years after "Prozac Nation," but had checked herself into a clinic where she became clean. In a Daily Telegraph article she said that she is no longer depressed but still has some anxieties.

      Elizabeth Wurtzel described her cutting in much better words than I would be able to do:

      "I guess the cutting began when I started to spend my lunch period hiding in the girls' locker room, scared to death of everybody around me. I would bring my functional black and silver Panasonic, meant for voice recording and not music, and I would listen intently to the scratchy sounds of the tapes I'd accumulated, mostly popular hard rock like Foreigner, which, trashy as it was, sounded like liberation to me. I'd sit there with my tape recorder, eating cottage cheese and pineapples from a stout thermos I brought from home (I was, by this time, also certain that I was fat), and it was a peaceful relief from having to deal with other people, whether they were teachers or friends. Every so often, I would sit in the locker room on the floor, leaning against the concrete wall while my tape recorder sat on the bench, and I would fantasize about going back to the person I had always been. The reverse transformation couldn't be that much of a leap. I could just try talking to people again. I could get the astonished look off my face, as if my eyes had just been exposed to a terrible glare. I could laugh a bit. I would imagine myself doing the things I once did, like playing tennis. Every so often I would make a decision, first thing in the morning as I headed out the door for the school bus, that I was going to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed that day; I would be friendly, I would smile, I would raise my hand in math class from time to time. I remember those days, because I could see how my friends got this look of relief on their faces. I would walk toward them, standing in a huddle in the blue-carpeted hall outside of the classroom, and they would half expect me to say something like 'Everything's plastic, we're all gonna die' and instead I would just say, Good Morning, And suddenly, their bodies would relax, their shoulders would drop comfortably, and sometimes they would even say, Oh wow, you're the old Lizzy again, kind of like a parent who has finally accepted that his oldest son has become a Shiite Muslim and is moving to Iran when, suddenly, the kid returns home and announces that he wants to go to law school after all. My friends, and my mother for that matter, would be relieved to find that I was more the me they wanted me to be. The trouble was, I thought this alternative persona I had adopted was just that: a put-on, a way of getting attention, a way of being different. And maybe when I first started walking around talking about plastic and death, maybe then it was an experiment. But after a while, the alternative me really just was me. Those days that I tried to be the little girl I was supposed to be drained me. I went home at night and cried for hours because so many people in my life expecting me to be a certain way was too much pressure, as if I'd been held against a wall and interrogated for hours, asked questions I couldn't quite answer any longer. I remember being in a panic one day at school when I realized that I could not even fake being the old Lizzy anymore. I had, indeed, metamorphosed into this nihilistic, unhappy girl. Just like Gregor Samsa waking up to find he'd become a six foot long roach, only in my case, I had invented the monster and now it was overtaking me. This was what I'd come to. This was what I'd be for the rest of my life. Things were bad now and would get worse later. They would. I had not heard the word depression yet, and would not for some time after that, but I felt something very wrong going on. I felt that I was wrong - my hair was wrong, my face was wrong, my personality was wrong - my God, my choice of flavors at the Haagan Dazs shop after school was wrong! How could I walk around with such pasty white skin, such dark, doleful eyes, such straight anemic hair, such round hips and such a small clinched waist? How could I let anybody see me this way? How could I expose other people to my person, to this bane to the world? I was one big mistake. And so, sitting in the locker room, petrified that I was doomed to spend my life hiding from people this way, I took my keys out of my knapsack. On the chain was a sharp nail clipper, which had a nail file attached to it. I rolled down my knee socks (we were required to wear skirts to school) and looked at my bare white legs. I hadn't really started shaving yet, only from time to time because my mother considered me too young, and I looked at the delicate peach fuzz, still soft and untainted. A perfect, clean canvas. So I took the nail file, found its sharp edge, and ran it across my lower leg, watching a red line of blood appear across my skin. I was surprised at how straight the line was and at how easy it was for me to hurt myself in this way. It was almost fun. I was always the sort to pick scabs and peel sunburned skin in sheets off my shoulders, always pestering my body. This was just the next step. And how much more satisfying it was to muck up my own body than relying on mosquitoes and walks in the country among thorny bushes to do it for me. I made a few more scratches, alternating between legs, this time moving the file more quickly, less cautiously. I did not, you see, want to kill myself. Not at that time, anyway. But I wanted to know that if need be, if the desperation got so terribly bad, I could inflict harm on my body. And I could. Knowing this gave me a sense of peace and power, so I started cutting up my legs all the time. Hiding the scars from my mother became a sport of its own. I collected razor blades, I bought a Swiss Army knife, I became fascinated with different kinds of sharp edges and the different cutting sensations they produced. I tried out different shapes - squares, triangles, pentagons, even an awkwardly carved heart, with a stab wound at its center, wanting to see if it hurt the way a real broken heart could hurt. I was amazed and pleased to find that it didn't."

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    • Amy Winehouse was a Jewish girl from North London who was known for her drug abuse, relationship issues, and her crooning voice. Winehouse was born on September 23, 1983. She was compared to Sid Vicious by Spin.com and was well-known for her song, "Rehab," which was an ode to her refusal to seek help for her drinking problem. Winehouse sported numerous pin-up girl tattoos and her drug and eating disorder problems had made her exceptionally thin. She was known for making drunken public appearances, including a time when she ran off the stage to vomit.

      Winehouse's parents, Mitch and Janis, divorced when she was nine; she and her brother lived mainly with her mother in North London. When Amy was ten she and friend, Juliette Ashby, formed a rap duo called Sweet N' Sour after rap group, Salt-n-Pepa. Despite this she didn't plan on becoming a musician. She wanted to become a roller-skating waitress like the ones in American Grafitti. When she was twelve she enrolled in the Sylvia Young Theatre School but was kicked out at the age of fourteen for piercing her nose and her attitude. Winehouse received her first guitar at the age of thirteen and by the age of sixteen was singing professionally.

      Blake Fielder-Civil and Amy Winehouse had an intense on-again-off-again relationship which culminated in marriage on May 18, 2007. When the two were separated Winehouse wrote a series of heartbroken songs for her album, Back to Black. This album sealed her fame in the United Kingdom and made her known in the United States.

      Winehouse's debut album, Frank, was released in 2003 and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. In 2007 she also won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. Back to Black, was announced as one of the twelve albums on the 2007 list of Mercury Prize nominees; she was also nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards in 2007.

      Winehouse had bulimia and had struggled with it since she had been a teenager and had also been known to take a series of hard drugs. In October 2006 she told the Daily Mirror that she had had "a little bit of anorexia, a little bit of bulimia. I'm not totally okay now, but I don't think any woman is and most men will agree." In a September 2007 article she was reported to have said she had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder but refused to take medication. On August 8, 2007 she was admitted to University College Hospital in London after slipping into a drug-induced coma and the Vancouver Sun reported that she stayed at the Causeway treatment centre in Essex for five days.

      There were rumors from tabloids that Winehouse had a past history with self-injury, with a cutting incident at the age of nine that she found painful. She reportedly said, "It's a funny thing, a morbid curiosity. I'm talking about when I was nine. What does that feel like? 'Ow, that fucking hurts.' It's probably the worst thing I've done." In a Spin.com video Winehouse scratched her exposed midriff with a shard of broken mirror when posing for photographer Terry Richardson. In the same video her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, asked her, "What did you think about the broken glass?" Winehouse replied, "I wrote 'I love Blake' on my tummy." She lifted her shirt but the cuts were not visible on the video and said, "It's just chicken scratch," while she and Fielder-Civil laughed. Spin.com has reported that Winehouse and Fielder-Civil "have matching crisscross scars and scratches up and down their left arms," though it also said the marks are "presumably from a misbehaving house cat."

      On August 23, 2007 Winehouse was seen stumbling the streets with her husband; she was bloody and bruised. It was reported she told blogger, Perez Hilton, "I was cutting myself after he found me in our room about to do drugs with a call girl and rightly said I wasn't good enough for him. I lost it and he saved my life." Her parents-in-law said, after the incident, to boycott her music and stop giving her awards.

      Amy Winehouse died July 23, 2011 as a result of alcohol poisoning at the age of twenty-seven.

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    • Sid Vicious, aka John Simon Ritchie, was born in London, England on May 10, 1957. The legendary member of the Sex Pistols was known for his self-injury done live on stage and a popular and visible icon of the punk movement. He was raised by his mother, Anne Beverly, who was troubled and had a history of heroin abuse.

      Sid became part of the Sex Pistols in February of 1977. He couldn't play music and usually had his amp turned down to near-zero because of this. It still did not matter. He was popular. He was a symbol of disaffected youth and the punk revolution. Photographer Dennis Morris said of Sid in a pictorial history of the band, Never Mind the Bollock's, "Deep down he was a shy person. I think he was frightened of the audiences.... Sometimes he showed no emotion at all."

      By 1975 he had begun to self-injure. Sid later boasted that his body was covered in scars from self-inflicted cuts. It is also believed that around 1975 he also strangled a cat and assaulted a pensioner. Morris said of a meeting at McLaren's office after a tour, "Sid walked in with this knife stuck in his leg. We said 'Sid, you've got a knife in your leg'. He said 'uh, have I?' and pulled it out. He was so doped up all the time, especially on heroin, he never felt it."

      Sid had a relationship with a very troubled woman, Nancy Spungen, who was the person who introduced him to heroin. She had abused drugs and had attempted suicide multiple times over the years. Their relationship has been described as codependent. Morris said, "When they were together he was like a kitten, but without her he would go crazy."

      On tour in the USA in 1978 Sid was without Nancy and was increasingly agitated. Morris said, "[Sid] was erratic. No one knew why. It seemed he missed Nancy. Sometimes he wouldn't eat at all. He'd drink heavy and take lots of drugs." He self-injured on stage by slashing his chest and engaged in acts of violence on stage.

      On October 12, 1978 Sid Vicious's girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, was found dead in their room in a hotel in New York City. Sid had supposedly stabbed her to death. Ten days later Sid attempted suicide by repeatedly slashing his forearm with a knife and screaming, "I want to join Nancy, I didn't keep my part of the bargain," according to author Malcom Butt.

      Sid died on February 2, 1979 of a heroin (which he obtained from his mother at a party because she feared he would be arrested buying drugs on the street) overdose while out on bail.

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    • Mia Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, revealed in her memoir, Creating Myself: How I Learned That Beauty Comes in All Shapes, Sizes, and Packages, Including Me, that in her teen years she used to indulge in heavy drinking, drugs, and self-injury in her teens. She was the "black sheep" of her family and a high school dropout.

      Mia began cutting herself in her mid-teens, first with a makeup compact, then with knives and razors. She said in a  September 2008 People article, "It’s about finding a friend. I could always rely on cocaine and the same thing goes for cutting….You want to find that first initial high. You’re in love with your addictions, and they can’t say no to you. So you have to find out how to say no to them." In a September 5, 2008 blog post on her Myspace (formerly http://www.myspace.com/miatyler/blog/430231595) she said of self-injury, "It is a drug in its own right. I always say I am a recovering addict... I fight it on a daily basis. I'm not hurting like I used to when I was cutting all the time. But it never goes away. Cutting was my best friend when I felt alone. I never had to answer to it... It made me feel good when I couldn't make myself better."

      She also began to use drugs, starting with marijuana, then moving to ecstasy and acid. In 1998 her father sent her to rehab after she called him whilst on drugs. After rehab she began to work as a pluz-size models for companies such as Lane Bryant and H&M and became a success.

      She said in the same 2008 People article, "I still think about cutting. I was in a dark place, but I'm on the other side of the looking glass now. I feel like a kid again."

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    • English Amy Studt, singer, is from Bournemouto, England and was born in London on the 22nd of March, 1986. She has become a pop singer in the United Kingdom and has been compared to Avril Lavigne. She was discovered at the age of sixteen and went on to record a record, False Smiles.

      Amy was bullied at school from an early age on before she became famous. In Bliss magazine she said, "When I was about 13, I was constantly bullied at my boarding school in Bournemouth. Girls would shout awful abuse at me in my dorm - to the point where I'd be curled up in a corner, sobbing. They'd call me a `sad loner' or `anorexic smurf'. I didn't have an eating problem, but I'm naturally skinny, and they knew I was sensitive about it. The abuse got me really depressed." The depression led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Amy was unable to concentrate on her schoolwork. Classmates and others, including teachers, though she was lazy. The stress caused headaches because of brain swelling and it took several months to diagnose. Even before that Amy had been unlucky. She had developed osteomyelitis, a bone disease that led her to be bedridden, at the age of twelve.

      The bullying in her early teens led her to self-injure. Here is what she said about what happened:

      The stress of the situation made me so ill i was stuck in a bed for days - but the abuse didn't stop. One time the bullies crept in to flick me with cold baked beans. I remember the day when the name-calling just got too much - I walked into the toilet, grabbed a pair of scissors and cut myself. I just wanted to replace one kind of pain with another - and i thought physical pain would be much easier to deal with. When I cut myself there was something to show for the hurt I was feeling. From then on I always cut myself when they started on me.

      No-one knew about the cuts. I wore big jumpers all the time to cover my arms. I was devastated when my brother found out. One day we were putting up a birthday poster on a notice board and my sleeve slipped down revealing my scars. He grabbed my arm and said "what the smurf is that?" It was horrible, and I wouldn't talk about it.

      My brother told my parents and close friends, but everyone just skirted round the subject. I hated the fact that people tip-toed around me, I kept thinking `just talk to me about it' but I guess it was really tough for everyone. I was embarrassed too, because, let's face it, people think you're completely loopy if you're cutting yourself.

      I self harmed for two years in total, even after moving schools and getting away from the bullies. I was feeling much happier but it was my boyfriend who eventually helped me stop. He could see from the scars what I was doing and one day he said `if you're doing it then I'm doing it as well' I did it one last time and he did it too. I was so appalled i didn't do it again.

      I know now that self-harming is pointless and doesn't help. If you're being bullied, go and talk to someone you trust. Don't self harm because its not worth it. Chat to someone because if you keep it to yourself it just gets worse. Believe me... I know."

      Amy is no longer bullied and her fame has caused past classmates to reconsider their view of her. Sincere or not they may be but she is no longer an outcast. She has overcome her self-destructive behavior and has become successful. Her songs, including "Just a Little Girl," got good radio play at the time of their release. The circumstances that led to her self-injurious behavior have been lifted.

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    • Known for his role of lead singer of the band, Papa Roach, Jacoby Shaddix has admittedly self-injured. In an MTV article he says of the song, Scars, "Some of our fans hear that song and say, 'I had to give it a few listens, dude. But I love it,' It's a P-Roach anthem. It has heart. It's just undeniable. It stems from a good night in Vegas turned bad. I ended up in the hospital with 11 staples in my head, self-mutilation. It was just a really bad night. It's about trying to help someone who really doesn't want you to help them." In an Examiner.com article he says of the time around Papa Roach's third album, Lovehatetragedy, "I hated myself when I made that record. It was a really f'd up period in my life." The article states he was self-destructive and suicidal. Shaddix also has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. In an August 2012 Rolling Stone article he is said to have struggled with suicidal depression after the near-dissolution of his 15-year marriage while working on the Papa Roach's latest album, The Connection, but is now clean and sober and working things out with his wife.

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    • Christina Ricci, an actress since childhood, was born in Santa Monica, California to a lawyer-psychiatrist father and real estate agent mother in 1980. Her parents divorced when she was thirteen. She was discovered at the age of seven and a year later made her screen debut in Mermaids (1990), in which she played Cher's daughter. She showed herself to be a talented, adult actress in the movie, the Ice Storm, in which she played a sexually precocious fourteen-year-old. Christina, a compulsive talker and smoker, is known for her outspokenness on a large number of controversial topics.

      In a US magazine interview Christina explained a small, smile-shaped scar on her hand. "I was trying to impress Gaby [Hoffmann, her best friend]. So I heated up a lighter and pressed it on my hand." She revealed other burn scars on her arms and said, "I wanted to see if I can handle pain. It's sort of an experiment to see if I can handle pain." In a SPIN magazine interview she revealed that she sometimes would put out cigarettes out on her arms. When asked if it hurts she replied, "No. You get this endorphin rush. You can actually faint from pain. It takes a second, a little sting, and then it's like you really don't feel anything. It's calming actually." In a 1998 Rolling Stone interview she explained where each scar came from. When she was angry about "not looking very good" Christina heated up a lighter and held it to her hand to impress some boys. Scratches on her forearms came from fingernails and soda tops. She explained, "It's like having a drink. But it's quicker. You know how your brain shuts down from pain? The pain would be so bad, it would force my body to slow down, and I wouldn't be as anxious. It made me calm." Christina also developed anorexia when she was fourteen but has since recovered. In a 1999 Mademoiselle interview she said, "In a way, I was trying to get rid of my breasts. Everyone my age wanted them, so it was like, whoo-ooo. Then I started hating them. And for all of my movies, I was supposed to be younger, so I'd have to strap them down."

      When looking back on her self-injury the same interview Christina said, "when I was younger, I did self-mutilate. I'd be upset, so I'd do it, and it would calm me down. It's a horrible way to feel better. But there are two parts of your brain- one that really wants to destroy the other. And sometimes the idea of self-destruction is very romantic. I got over that."

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    • Diana, Princess of Wales, was born on July 1, 1961 to the Viscount and Viscountess of Althorp. Diana's parents divorced when she was six, her mother leaving her father for another man. During the rest of her childhood she shuttled back and forth between two households. At age fourteen, she had described herself as hopeless and a poor student.

      Diana began purging the night before her marriage to Prince Charles, having discovered that her fiance was in love with another woman. During her marriage she felt no control over her life, it was a repeat of the pain and betrayal of her childhood.

      In a 1995 BBC television interview Diana revealed to the world that she was a self-injurer. She said that she had cut her arms and legs, explaining, "You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help." "Diana: Her True Story," a biography written on the princess said that Diana had thrown herself into a glass cabinet at Kensington palace at various times, slashed her wrists with a razor, and cut herself with the serrated edge of a lemon slicer. Once, during a heated argument with Prince Charles, she picked up a penknife and cut her chest and thighs. Her husband still scorned her, and thought she was faking her problems, that it was melodramatic attention seeking. During a fight on an airplane, Diana locked herself in the bathroom, cut her arms, and smeared the blood over the cabin walls and seats. Another time she threw herself down the stairs.

      Diana died on August 31, 1997 in an automobile accident with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, while trying to evade the paparazzi. She was a courageous women, and gave further prominence to the problem of self-injury.

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    • Shirley Manson, the sexy, red-haired singer of Garbage, was an angry child. She was teased, tormented, and even beaten-up by her classmates because of her looks. Classmates called her names such as "posh," "bloodhound," and "frog-eyed" because of her red hair and green eyes. As she grew older she became unhappy and violent, and planned to drop out of high school when she turned sixteen. A certain teacher began ridiculing her until, "Until, I think, everyone in that school thought I was less than human. I felt ugly, weak, overwhelmed - I couldn't imagine being capable of doing anything. I certainly never thought I could be in a band. This was a dream it didn't even occur to me to dream about." (1998, Select Magazine) Shirley took up smoking, boys and drinking, she began using drugs on a regular basis during her late teens. In 1995, Shirley and her band released the self-titled, "Garbage," their debut album, which became an instant hit. The lyrics of her songs are well known for revealing her true emotions and feelings.

      Shirley Manson has a low self-esteem and hates the way she looks. In a 1998 Select interview she said, "I feel disgusting. I could take a knife to my throat for the way I look. Can someone just put a bin or a bag or a fucking bomb on my head?" As a teenager her feelings of weakness and of being overwhelmed were manifested in cutting, she would snip the safety guards off Bic razors and would cut up her arms. When she was a teenager she used to carry a sharp object in the laces of her boots and would cut herself with it whenever she felt stressed, anxious or depressed; she hid the scars by wearing long pants and boots. She explained in a The Herald article the experience of self-injuring, "I wouldn't say that cutting was pleasurable, but there is a sense of euphoria that follows cutting yourself. The quick pinch of pain and the sight of blood snaps you back to the surface and you start to appreciate being alive."

      Shirley Manson no longer self-injures but still feels the urge from time to time. In 1998 she almost relapsed during her European Tour, in which she felt homesick and tired of hearing the males in her group talk about women. She told The Herald about her near relapse, "I ran to my dressing room in a flood of tears. I hated myself all over again for not being thin enough or having a perfect body. It hurt so much that suddenly cutting started to make sense again." She took a penknife and was about to cut herself when a fellow band member walked in.

      She has gone public with her past experiences because she feels the need to help others. She said, "I'm speaking out because I feel this problem is getting worse for some kids. I'm not an expert on this, but you have to talk to someone. I've seen kids with cigarette burns on their arms or gashes on their legs. It kills me, but hopefully my coming forward can help a little."

      Lyrics from the song, Medication:

      "Somebody get me out of here, I'm tearing at myself.
      Nobody gives a damn about me, or anybody else..."

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    • Marilyn Manson was born in Canton, Ohio to Episcopalian parents, a smothering mother and a volatile father suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a child he was terrified of the apocalypse and the Antichrist, fears introduced by a grade-school teacher. Manson described himself as an adolescent "worm" with no self-esteem, surrounded by a dysfunctional family and hypocritical, emotionally abusive peers at school and church. As a teenager, Manson stole, and later experimented with black magic, drugs and rock music. Later, after he had formed his band, he would perform bizarre on-stage antics, abused drugs, self-injured, and did other self-destructive things.

      Manson first cut himself when he was in the ninth grade during a class, he dug into his forearms with a penknife. Later in life he would cut himself on stage and scar his skin. He had about 450 scars at the publishing of his book, "Long Hard Road out of Hell." Some of his fans have, unfortunately, decided to imitate him. In particular, two girls would follow Manson and would carve the words "Marilyn" and "Manson" on each other's chests and would show up at the concert in the front row with blood from their wounds dripping down their tank tops.

      In a 1997 Guitar School interview he stated that he had been hospitalized for depression and scarification [self-injury] but didn't comment further on that. In a 1998 Rolling Stone interview he answered some questions regarding his self-injury, both onstage and offstage. About self-injury he said, "I think that's all a form of wanting to let go, of wanting to get out," and, "It's not something easily described or understood." About the differences between his onstage self-injury and offstage self-injury he said, "I think onstage it was more me trying to show people my pain, and offstage it was just feeling it, period."

      In a 1998 Jane interview he said, "I would put myself through a lot of physical pain with drugs or masochistic behavior. And that was something that transformed me, really. I find myself being a different person. Yet no therapy was involved. I've tried a couple of times, but I find that self-examination works better for me than trying to explain it to someone else."

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    • Courtney Love, outspoken and often times controversial singer and actress, was born in San Francisco in 1965. Her parents, who have been living a hippie lifestyle, bitterly divorced when Courtney was only five. As a child she was diagnosed as being autistic and went to therapy for several years. She went wild during her teenage years and was expelled from school at the age of fourteen for drinking alcohol, had many conflicts with teachers and had several minor shoplifting offenses. At the age of sixteen she dropped out of high school. Courtney formed her band, Hole, in 1989 with her friend, Eric Erlandsen. She married Kurt Cobain, the lead singer for Nirvana, in early 1992. Kurt killed himself in 1994. There was some controversy because there are rumors that Courtney killed him, she has denied it.

      Courtney went through a period of self-injury; she would cut herself on stage." While talking about Kurt's overdoses in a 1995 SPIN interview she said, "Some people OD. I've never ODed, ever. I've gotten really fucking blasto, but instead of ODing, I chatter and start talking too much, screaming and running around naked and getting hysterical, cutting my arms, you know, crazy shit. Breaking windows. But I never have fallen on the floor blue."

      She said in a 2000 SPIN interview, "I have many [self-destructive bones], and I've broken a bunch. I think self-destructiveness is given a really bad rap. I think that self-destructiveness can also mean self-reflection, can mean poetic sensibility, it can mean empathy, it can mean a hedonism and a libertarianism and a lack of judgement."

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    • Demi Lovato, best known for being a Disney star and part of the Camp Rock films, began her acting career at age seven. Besides being an actress she has a successful singing career. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres Demi talked about her experiences with bullying in the 7th grade after becoming a target of a "hate petition." Demi says of this time, "I went through a really hard time at school with girls bullying me. I blamed it on myself at the time, but looking back I guess it was out of jealousy." The bullying seems to have been the catalyst leading to her problems with self-injury and an eating disorder. It got to the point that she, in frustration, asked her mother to have her home-schooled and, by the next week, they were out buying home-schooling materials.

      Demi has been outspoken against bullying and created a famous Youtube video, Standing Up Against Bullying

      In People in September 2010 she shared about her issues with body image. She told People that she has a tattoo that says, "You make me beautiful." She also shared that she has "fat days" and wants to feel more comfortable and confident.

      On November 1, 2010, Demi entered inpatient treatment for what was said to be an eating disorder and self-injury, according to People. In late January, 2011 she left treatment and made herself pretty scarce to her fans.

      In March 7, 2011 Demi created a video thanking her fans for their support. In the video she said, "Hey guys, it's me, Demi. I wanted to send you guys a message 'cause I know that you've seen me out and about and I wanted to let you know that I am back and home. Welcome to my home. But I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the support that you've given me along the way." About the support the received and her personal experienced she also said, "I read [all your support] and your support is what got me through this. So I couldn't be more thankful for everything you guys sent me. The journey that I've been on has been very, very difficult over the past few months. I was dealing with issues that I know not only girls just my age but girls of all ages are dealing with. I hope to one day raise awareness of everything, so that I can help people too, just like you guys helped me through this rough time.

      I can't tell you how much light you brought into my life in probably the darkest time of my life," she continued. "Without you guys I wouldn't be here today."

      Until then it was mostly paparazzi-taken pictures of self-injury scars/wounds and "close sources," not Demi herself. Now she's putting her life back together and getting back to work.

      On April 19, 2011 Demi opened up in an ABC News interview. She revealed that she had had an unhealthy relationship with food since she was young, beginning with compulsive overeating at eight years old. The bullying during her early teens turned the overeating into bulimia, which alternated with severe restricting. "I developed an eating disorder, and that's kind of what I've been dealing with ever since," she said. Her family was aware of her issues with the eating disorder from early on but unaware that she had, at age eleven,  begun cutting her wrists as a way to cope with her feelings. 

      "It was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body," she told ABC News. "I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn't know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself."

      Demi self-injured throughout her teens but it didn't come to a head until the summer of 2011 when she was doing the concert tour with the Jonas Brothers for "Camp Rock 2". She lost control and hit one of the backup dancers. Demi says she had been losing her voice because of purging, had been performing concerts on an empty stomach, was self-medicating, and not taking her medication. Her family and management team held an intervention and she quit the tour and went to a treatment center for women with eating disorders and addiction issues. 

      Demi says treatment changed her life and that she relearned how to feel and picked up new, positive ways of coping. "The real reason why I'm sitting down with you," she said in the interview, "is to open up the eyes of so many young girls, that it doesn't have to be this way."

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    • Alexi Laiho, the vocals and lead guitarist for the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom has stated before in interviews that he used to cut himself and has dealt with other means of self-harm since then such as alcoholism.

      In a December 2007 interview he was asked about the name of his album Blooddrunk. He stated, "The song 'Blooddrunk', for example, is about when you're addicted to spill around blood and this doesn't necessarily mean stupid shit like cutting yourself what I used to do. I mean, I don't do that shit anymore but I used to fucking cut myself, you know? But it's also in other ways, like within the last two years I have fucking hurt myself more than ever and I figured that I have some fucking addiction to hurt myself so bad (laughs) and that's what the song is about." In an interview with UK's Metal Hammer magazine about a month later he says that he used to cut himself "ten years ago" which would be around 1998 or earlier. The specific quote is, "[Blooddrunk] about being addicted to spilling your own blood. When I was younger, ten years ago I used to cut myself and all that shit. It's not necessarily just about cutting yourself but about other things you do to yourself and you don't know why." In a January 2007 interview with Lucemfero he again talks about Blooddrunk and it's title song, "I think the whole topic of that song revolves around self-destruction, and just somewhat being addicted to hurting yourself. That's what it's about."

      The same 2007 Metal Hammer article talks about Alexi's past. Alexi states that he had been depressed from the age of ten and that that while his childhood was "ok" by the time he was seventeen or eighteen he was cutting himself and dealing with serious suicidal ideation. He sees the potential risk he put himself at and that he could potentially have cut a tendon or otherwise have disabled himself in a way that could have prevented him from playing guitar. Self-harm was a means of dealing with the suicidal ideation, relieving the pressure. Alex discusses his suicide attempt at the time, an overdose on pills and whiskey, which lead to his stomach being pumped and time in a psychiatric hospital. He also talks about another hospitalization as a result of suffering a nervous breakdown. That hospitalization lead him to realize he never wanted to be hospitalized like that ever again and to accomplish that he had to get better. At the time of the interview he says of his recovery, "Yeah, I guess I'm pretty much better now."

      "Well, I used to cut myself and I was aware of what I was doing. I don't do that shit anymore but I did used to do that shit when I was 17 and 18. But now, looking back, it looks like the stupidest thing ever, but back in the day I just didn't care. I mean if I'd have cut a tendon I wouldn't be sitting here now because I wouldn't be able to play guitar, or if I had hit a vein ..."

      "I genuinely wished I was dead. For example, when I was in the car, I would wish that I'd crash and die. One time - and I guess it could have been a cry-for-help suicide attempt - I popped a load of pills and drank a bottle of whiskey. Obviously I didn't die but I was taken to a psychiatric hospital and had my stomach pumped. At least I guess so. I don't really remember that much because I was so out of it, so heavily sedated."

      Henkka Seppälä, the bassist of Children of Bodom, says that he didn't realize Alexi was depressed until he saw his cuts from self-harm and even then didn't take it too seriously until he head he'd been hospitalized for mental health issues. He also talked of Alexi's violent mood swings but said in the interview, "But since he was taken into hospital and taken care of he has been getting better all the time and he is a totally different person nowadays to the one he was over 10 years ago."

      While Alexi may no longer cut himself he still battles self-destructive demons. He has been hospitalized more than once -- including in 2013 -- for stomach issues relating to drinking. He's had to cancel shows and has even stated that he needs to "slow down" his drinking habit.

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Welcome to self-injury.net. We are a support community for self-harmers and also provide information on self-harm, creative works, media lists, lists of resources (helplines, textlines, mental health apps, therapists, etc.), etc. We focus on self-injury but a number of other mental health issues are included.


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  • self-injury.net is a self-harm community and resource founded in 1999. Provides support, resources, and information on self-harm.
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    Draco Malfoy Draco Malfoy