Local Girl Posts Web site to Help Self-Mutilators

July 18, 2005- Posted at 4:00 p.m. CDT

MAYNARD-- After three years, Shannon Rusin feels she is getting her life back on track. At the age of eleven, Shannon began cutting herself as a way to cope with problems at school and home.

"I never knew I was a self-mutilator, until I made the connection the day I pierced my own ears. It just developed from there."

Self-mutilation is a form of self-injury, which includes biting, burning, cutting and even pulling one's own hair. Most self-mutilator's start out as teenagers, and the problem grows through the years.

"I know how big of a problem it is and how much it can eat away at you over time, and I just want to see if I can help other people and let them know it's ok to come out."

Shannon has started a Web site dedicated to helping self-mutilators and to those who just don't understand it is a problem, and they aren't just freaks.

Admitting you have a problem, and knowing that self harm is not the way to go, is the first step to recovery. Shannon hopes she can help, but if you do have a problem, you should consult your healthcare physician.

For more information on Shannon's site, visit www.geocities.com/mutilated_butterfly/SI2.html