After being extremely physically and sexually abused throughout her childhood, 22-year-old Emily grew up using any object she could find to inflict self-harm.
“When I would self-harm, I felt calm. It was peaceful to me,” she said.
Since first turning to self-harm at 8 years old, and relying heavily on it since 13, Emily has cut herself an estimated 500,000 times. Her extensive scars cover her arms, stomach, calves and thighs. Emily says she’s been hospitalized twice for anemia, and she’s received more than 437 stitches and staples as a result of her self-inflicted wounds.
Though her case is extreme compared to some, Emily’s circumstance isn’t much different from thousands of others.
A Reuters study showed that one in every 12 young people engage in self-harm—things like cutting or burning themselves to release inner pain. The study also showed that those who turn to self-harm are mostly girls—about 10 percent of which continue their habits into adulthood.
See what Dr. Phil has to say about Emily’s scars, where she’s been and where she’s going:
If you or someone you know needs help right now, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.