A Silent Cry for Help

by Debra Cornacchia
Spring/Summer 2016

Hi I’m 15 years old and have a secret struggle. I cut myself, it makes me feel better. Cutting is my friend, my drug of choice, it’s how I survive; I do a good job of hiding my scars so you may never see them. God must hate me. How could He love someone who cuts their skin until it bleeds?

The above quote was taken from an email sent to Door of Hope 4 Teens, a ministry that provides resources, a national texting hotline, emotional support, and prayer to teens and young adults who struggle with “cutting.”

The 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies self-harm as a condition known as Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI). Self-harm, also referred to as self-injury or cutting, is the act of altering a mood state by inflicting direct and deliberate physical harm to the body. The harm caused is serious enough to cause the recipient’s skin to bleed. Cutting is a real phenomenon. Some people find it difficult to accept, but it is a real and often unattended issue. As some have been misguided, cutting is not just a phase, or teen trend. It has been around for a long time, dating back to Biblical times. In fact, cutting has been on the rise and has been named the “New Age Anorexia “ by many professional clinicians.

In the Gospel of Mark 5:1-20 we read “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. This man lived in the tombs and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there, dressed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”


  • 80% of self-injurers begin harming themselves in their teens.
  • Self-injury is used as a coping mechanism to deal with intense anger, emotional pain and or mental, physical or sexual abuse.
  • Self-injury happens in all races and economic backgrounds.
  • Self-injurers use sharp objects to carve their skin and sometimes insert objects into their skin.


  • Self-harm is a failed suicide attempt.
  • People who self-harm are looking for attention.
  • Those who intentionally cut are crazy and should be locked up.
  • Once a cutter, always a cutter; there is no way to stop.
  • Teens that cut only come from a life of poverty.
  • Only teen girls self-harm.

Cutting is a destructive unhealthy coping mechanism that, when continued, can open the door to the enemy and eventually can open up into the demonic realm. The scripture in Mark points to the problem of self-injury but it also points to the glorious solution—deliverance by Jesus. With cutting behavior, the enemy can gain a foothold and unaware, a spiritual entity may enter a person that some call a spirit of cutting, others call self-destruction. Whatever the name, God’s temple is crying out for help. Those who cut often go from church to church and from counselor to counselor to find help. Some even find themselves in mental hospitals, going off one medication and onto another one. And yet, the behavior of cutting continues. They find themselves still addicted to cutting and struggling with it.

How can you help? Critical to a breakthrough from self-harm is healing of the memories (also known as inner healing) followed by a potential need for prayer for deliverance. Intercession and unconditional love are so important in this process.

Signs to look for: Often cutters are diagnosed with depression, personality disorder, or other substance abuse issues. Common forms of self-abuse include cutting skin with sharp objects such as razors, scissors, or keys. Sometimes they burn, carve, bruise, or salt their skin.

Teens go to great lengths to hide their scars, burns or bruises. Cutters feel deeply shameful and consider self-harm their best friend and darkest secret. They dread being found out. Signs may include wearing long sleeves or making excuses for not attending outings where they have to expose their arms or legs. People who live with them might find blood-spotted tissues in the bathroom or on the bed sheets, or might find them using an excessive amount of bandaids or gauze. Unexplained scars and/or bruises can be a symptom. This destructive way to cope is addictive and provides a temporary “fix” or calming relief, but only for a moment.

The percentage of those that cut is growing at an alarming rate. Cornell Medical College reports in 2012 that approximately 31% of adolescents have some history of self-harm. Exact statistics are impossible to gather as this behavior is done in secret and is not something that is often talked about nor reported. It becomes a hidden addiction.

Cutting is an unhealthy way of managing emotions. Cutting releases endorphins in the brain, an action that creates a detachment from reality. The desired emotional relief to the cutter is a zoning out or euphoric state. Teens have described cutting as an “inner scream” from their soul crying out for help. Anger, rage, depression, low self-esteem, and deep emotional wounds are some of the unhealthy emotions that they feel prior to cutting. Most self-harmers have experienced trauma or a form of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. In a cutter’s mind, sometimes they are punishing themselves for perceived faults and lies planted into their minds by the enemy.

God’s Word says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). So I would like to share my heart and part of my personal journey to healing.

I was a cutter from the age of 12 and into my early 20’s. This behavior was how I coped with the childhood memories of sexual abuse and feelings of shame and guilt. From a young age, I was psychologically and sexually abused by a relative. I believed his lies and thought all young girls had close relatives exactly like him. He told me never to tell anyone and during my childhood, I never did. The abuse stopped when I turned 13 years old. At that time, a different relative of mine introduced me to the “New Age” and the dark world of the occult. I began to practice what I naively thought was fun. I called myself a psychic, practiced telekinesis and did spiritual readings for my friends and heard what I believed to be the voice of some kind of “god.” I realize now that it was the voice of darkness, the voice of Satan. I was calling on a power other than God, so now I realize I had opened the door to the enemy. As a result, my teen years were filled with cutting, thoughts of suicide, depression and a darkness that hovered over me. I was plagued with health issues, including severe migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.

During the years before I came to know Jesus I worked hard at hiding the pain of my past behind a mask. On the outside I appeared happy but on the inside I was battling a fierce anger and rage. One day a friend of mine invited me to her Bible study. I fell in love with the Word of God. Never before had I viewed the Bible as God’s love letter to me. About a year later, at the age of 33, I gave my life to Jesus. Joining a Spirit-filled, Bible-believing church, I learned about the love and forgiveness that Jesus offers. He became my Lord of Lords and King of Kings. I accepted Him into my life and I became a new creation. The old was gone and the new was here!

My redemption was a process and through the power of the Holy Spirit I was completely delivered, healed of painful memories, and set free from the spirit of cutting and the occult. All depression, anger, and guilt vanished from my life! The good news is that Jesus Christ is our deliverer and healer and desires to free us from the bondage of strongholds. What the enemy intended for my destruction, God turned around for His good.

Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God was working behind the scenes and had the way of escape from the darkness into His glorious light all planned.

Both pastors of my church are acquainted with Christian Healing Ministries and the teachings of Judith and Francis MacNutt. They were able to take me though the process of healing of memories (also known as inner healing) and deliverance. I had to forgive others and forgive myself. Another pastor came along in my journey of restoration and spoke prophetically into my life saying that the Lord had a ministry for me to help restore teens and young adults through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Door of Hope 4 Teens was birthed in 2008 out of my own life experience and my past wounded spirit. I understand the struggle of self-injury and the dark pit of destruction that it brings people into. Through my years of cutting, I kept it well hidden. No one knew that I struggled with cutting or understood the emotional turmoil I was in. I walked out of the life of a cutter and I can tell you today that I am an overcomer, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and have complete freedom from cutting because of the power in the Blood of Jesus Christ. Now my life’s work is to encourage young people through the recovery process. I share my story and let people know that God will meet them in their brokenness and that by His stripes they are healed. What God has done for me He can do for anyone—YOU.

Door of Hope 4 Teens is a safe haven. Our mission is ministering the heart of Jesus to those who are longing to be loved and healed in body, mind and spirit. Our heavenly Father wants to touch and heal hearts. He promises to comfort us in our affliction so that we may comfort others. We have a team of trained crisis care advocates that will listen and not judge those that contact us. We provide a national texting hotline, email mentorship, and local support group.
I want to encourage you that HOPE has a name and His name is Jesus Christ. We need the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to set this generation free from self-harm.

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11

If you or someone you love is suffering from self-harm, you can call the Door of Hope 4 Teens Cutting Hotline: 914-393-1904 or 803-570-2061. To find out more about this ministry, visit www.doorofhope4teens.org.

Debra Cornacchia Debra Cornacchia is the Founder and President of Door of Hope 4 Teens.  Spring/Summer 2016 Issue