This episode of The Real World deals with the problem of self-injury or cutting. It contains behavior which some may find disturbing. Unfortunately, this is a behavior that occurs amongst America's youth and it's a sign of the severe emotional...... Read Full Episode Summary »
This episode of The Real World deals with the problem of self-injury or cutting. It contains behavior which some may find disturbing. Unfortunately, this is a behavior that occurs amongst America's youth and it's a sign of the severe emotional distress under which many of them live. A great deal can be learned by looking honestly at this problem.
Frankie doesn't exactly know how she should handle the fact that she kissed Adam. She decides to call up Dave to tell him that no matter what happens, she loves him more than anything. While the sentiment of that statement may sound sweet, Dave is suspicious that something is up and he's right on target. Frankie confesses to kissing Adam and Dave "kinda has a problem with her making out with that dude." Frankie insists that it was only one drunken mistake. Dave thinks that she might do it again and believes she should have her freedom and decides not to visit her in San Diego.
Dave pages Frankie while she's out with Jamie and they drive home so Frankie can call him back, but when she tries to contact him, his phone rings and rings and Frankie becomes increasingly emotional. She feels lonely, miserable and frustrated, so she heads to the bathroom. When she comes out she drops a knife and Jamie realizes that her roommate has just been cutting herself. When Jamie questions Frankie about it, Frankie says she is fine; she just had to cut off a tag on her pants. Frankie narrates that she is not in a place where she is capable of having a conversation with Jamie now about why she cuts.
When Cameran finds out what happened, she wonders if Frankie is capable of killing herself. Jamie goes on the Internet to learn about self-mutilators, people who cut or harm a part of their body in order to relieve emotional pain. She locates some support groups for cutters in San Diego. That night, Jamie crawls into bed with Frankie and asks her if this was the first time she has done that since she has been in San Diego. Frankie narrates that every day she has thought about cutting herself so she can feel better, but she has only cut herself once. Frankie tells Jamie not to let her actions scare her. Frankie suggests they talk about it tomorrow and Jamie pleads with Frankie to not cut again while she's in San Diego.
The girls go out for a late night dinner to talk to Frankie, who tells them she's outta there the minute she feels judged. Frankie explains that she's been cutting since she was 13 and while she used to do it every day, she has probably done it four times in the last three years. Eventually Frankie feels like she is getting ganged up on and she shuts down. She doesn't want her roommates to try and change or fix her. Jamie is now realizing that it was a mistake to allow the other roommates to come out with her and Frankie. Frankie explains that Dave is the only person that she can talk to who can understand her during this difficult time. When she calls him, she tells him that she cut herself and he says that he promised not to do that if she wouldn't do it either.
Jamie tells Frankie that she'll be there for her if she needs someone. "It takes a very strong person to find a way to deal with pain," say Frankie. Realizing she has to deal with her problems, she decides to see a therapist. Frankie asks Jamie to go with her to her first appointment.
Frankie meets with a mental health therapist and she explains her situation. The therapist says the key is managing emotion. Frankie learns her reaction to pain before her realization of the problem is backwards and she must learn how to flip-flop those two. Frankie leaves the meeting with this piece of information and hopes that at some point she can deal with the problems that plague her in a level headed manner.
In this episode, Frankie makes an effort to learn more about her problem. Unfortunately, many people with similar problems don't seek help. It's important to understand that Frankie's behavior is a sign of severe emotional distress. Cutting is never an appropriate way to manage emotions and is always a sign of someone who needs immediate professional assistance. If you or someone you know is cutting, please get them help. Treatment works.
For more information about cutting or to be connected to services in your area, call the NMHA at 1-800-969-NMHA (6642).