“That’s nothing,” said this friend of a friend, and pulled back her sleeve, showing cuts and scars up to her elbows.

“My friend is way worse. Look at this picture she texted me,” said someone else, holding up a cell phone to reveal a photo of lots of blood with the caption “Is Your Joke Still Funny?”

“That’s so unoriginal!” said a third person. “I saw that quote on Facebook so long ago. I bet she doesn’t even cut.”

“I haven’t for two months, so my scars have faded,” said someone else, holding up her blank arm. Several people gave each other knowing looks of disbelief. And I went to the bathroom and had a panic attack.

Self-harm is almost a trend at my school. One girl has been dubbed the Queen of Cutters, and now there’s a group of them or something. It’s upsetting, really. Depression and other mental-health issues aren’t a genre of music or a fashion statement. I don’t understand. Adults I know say self-harm wasn’t as common back when they were teenagers, so why is it everywhere now?

It makes me think about meme theory, which is something I read about that basically says you don’t have ideas, ideas find you. I think it’s become cool recently to be an “underdog”—people who are really popular and socially adept call themselves “weirdos” and “freaks” and pretend to have problems they don’t seem to have (though I know they have their own problems). I don’t like this notion that bare-armed girls are spoiled and perfect and have never had a single problem in their lives, and only the people in the most pain are real and interesting.

Or maybe people struggling with depression hear about cutting through word of mouth or the internet, and they are willing to try anything to ease their internal pain. Maybe in the past these kids would have turned to something else, like an eating disorder.

I never knew cutting was even a thing until this week. I never knew that scars could be seen as trophies. I was overwhelmed with sadness and confusion. After my panic attack, I went to the nurse and explained the situation, and asked if I could just sit down for a minute. She didn’t ask for names, and I didn’t give them. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know exactly what I’m worried about. Everyone, I guess. ♦