Who Am I?

I am Ruta Mazelis, the initial creator of this site.  I am scheming with a collaborator or two to join me in the effort to make this a powerful, inspiring, and informative space and believe they will join me soon.

In the late 1980’s – when I had long brown hair – I created a safe space for people living with Self-Directed Violence (SDV) to come together and dialogue about our lives with cutting, burning, punching and other forms of self-injury.  It was a remarkable experience and those initial gatherings resulted in the publication of The Cutting Edge, a newsletter that was begun in 1990.  In 2004 I, and The Cutting Edge, affiliated with the Sidran Institute and we kept publishing for a few more years until the creation of the first web site, healingselfinjury.org.  When we lost the web site and it’s content I took some time away from this work to revitalize myself.

It has been a long journey to get to this new beginning.  Here I intend to offer you the wisdom I’ve gained from so many experiences and from the many voices of the people who have taught me on this amazing journey.  I will encourage you to discover many of the supportive materials created for people who live with SDV in the resources listed on this site, and I will also inform you of the potential dangers that remain from people who do not understand.  Most importantly, here I intend to maintain a place that holds the same safety, understanding, encouragement and hope as those very first gatherings did.  Please let me know how I am doing, and how to improve…

Your opinions and suggestions are welcome.  Please note that as well as a writer, I am also a trainer and consultant on this topic, and was also a clinician in mental health and substance abuse programs.  I have had the privilege to teach what I have learned to many groups over the years, from hospital staffs to prison wardens, clinicians, administrators, friends and families who struggle to understand, and to people who live with scars as well.  I have been involved with research on trauma, have authored and co-authored journal articles, published various papers and hungrily pursued transformation of the systems of care that fail most who live with SDV.  I have worked for mainstream organizations on many levels and have also been deeply invested in organizations that actively promote human rights for persons who have been harmed greatly by psychiatry and other belief systems that only occasionally understand.  I am a scarred person as well, and that is the greatest source of my vision and determination to do this work.

All this is to let you know that I have been busy for the past 30 years and my hair is now long and silver.  I write about these various perspectives and experiences to entice you to throw out questions, comments, and opinions on any aspect of this that you are interested in.  Your prose, poetry, and art are not only welcome here, they are the heart and soul of this site.

I will be piecing this site together over the coming months.  This is a ripe time to let me know your interests so that I can address them as we build…

Yours,

Ruta

cropped-ruta-09-1tiny