A Conversation for Self Injury

What can you do?

Post 1

grr

When someone you vaguely know and whos always seemed dramatic yet happy, has selfharmed in front of a group of people. It was a large cut to the stomach with a piece of broken glass.
Everyone says it's attention seeking, but surely there's more, I've read this article. and there are people who go to great lenghts to secretise it, I know.
Can there be occasions were selfharming *is* attention seeking?


What can you do?

Post 2

Brown Eyed Girl

If the friend was doing it in secret and not telling anybody about it, then yes, it would be very serious. In this situation, it is clearly attention seeking. You describe this individual as "dramatic yet happy", clearly they like to exaggerate things to get attention, and this is just another stunt. However, this does not mean it is not a problem.

Chances are they were doing it for bravado and attention, but tell someone in authority - a teacher (you're still at school, right?) or failing all else, their parents. Maybe they can get to a counsellor, who will pay attention to them, negating the cause for them to pull stunts like this.

smiley - ermSo, the answer is, yes, it can be just attention seeking, and in this case it probably is. I'm angry that people do this sort of thing, it makes the whole thing seem like something stupid teenagers do to get attention, and there are people suffering with this who honestly don't know what else they can do to cope. I'd say whack hir round the head for me, but attention whores like any attention paid to them. Don't bother with hir any more if you can help it, this sort of person is exhausting and brings little reward in the way of any give-and-take relationship. Good luck.


What can you do?

Post 3

Brown Eyed Girl

I just re-read that (sorry, it seems to have turned into a rant about attention whores) and if s/he did it with broken glass, it could get infected. Definitely tell someone in authority.


What can you do?

Post 4

grr

thanks for the advice. I was considering the whack round the head course of action.
Our schools quite good with these kinds of things, they have 2 rooms joined together, referred to as base, where people who have problems considered big enough get to go, so she does. They've got a councillor in there, I think.


What can you do?

Post 5

grr

It's alright.
I think she's already had some kind of disinfection done.


What can you do?

Post 6

Stealth "Jack" Azathoth

When you say 'seemed dramatic yet happy' would that mean that she has a high reactivity of mood but appears generally happy most of the time?

When you say 'large' what are we talking about in length depth and gaping? Do you think it was large because she knew what she doing or because she did *not* have experience judging a cut?

What happened leading up to the self-harm? Did make a threat of harming? Did she do it as kind of punitive act on the group? Did she just do it quietly but in the presence of others?

Where did she get the glass from? Did she have it with her or was it found? Did she brake something to make it?

What does it mean to attention seek? Am I an attention seeker because I don't cover my scars? Or do I do in because I think anyone that would see them and give me that label or try to make me ashamed is scum?

I've used self-harm to control my mood or to punish myself for my failings. It was my tool for longer that you've lived. I wasn't making a cry for help but I can conceive some who would cut themselves in front of others may have reached a point where they feel they are out of control beyond coping and behave that way in the presence of other because they want someone show them another way.
I can also conceive of people that would use self-harm to manipulate and control others. If you want to call that attention seeking then yes there can be times when self-harm is a bid for attention.

As you can I don't care to be too quick to label someone an attention seeker or histrionic. I might speculate/give an opinion if you want to give more info.

What can you do? Treat yourself with respect at all times.


What can you do?

Post 7

grr

Are you an attention seeker because you don't cover your scars? No, it's your coping strategy, you've been through genuine hell.

Are you an attention seeker because you cut yourself in front of people with a bottle you just smashed, because one of them got a text from someone you vaguely know and they're friends with? Or possibly the little arguments with your dad, which is only a shouting match that you start because you can't stay out for as long as you want without getting grounded? Quite possibly.
I would assume the cut was deep for inexperience. I don't think she'll do it again. A lot of her closer friends say they don't like what she's done. Hopefully she'll get sorted out. I don't think any of us can know unless we're her. The strange thing us, even people who have, or possibly still do, self harm have dismissed it for attention seeking.


What can you do?

Post 8

Brown Eyed Girl

There is a difference between not covering your scars, Azathoth, (I don't cover mine, why should I be ashamed?) and harming in front of people. I don't see that anyone who is legitimately using self harm as a coping mechanism would do it in front of a group of people. Perhaps I am wrong, but this particular use fits with my schema of a 14 year olds world - there is no offence intended to Natholie, I've found you to be very mature compared to your peers. Would you not say, Azathoth that you are not proud of self harming, it is something that you use, a mechanism that works for you, but you wouldn't make a song and dance about it?

I agree that anyone who would try to make you feel ashamed is certainly somewhat lacking in sensitivity, and should try to understand rather than just judge. I would be careful to label them scum - I tend to reserve that term for politicians.


What can you do?

Post 9

Stealth "Jack" Azathoth

"(I don't cover mine, why should I be ashamed?)"

You shouldn't.

"There is a difference between not covering your scars... ...and harming in front of people."

There are some startlingly obvious differences. But they're neither of them furtive. And in the minds of some they amount to the same thing, attention seeking.

"I don't see that anyone who is legitimately using self harm as a coping mechanism would do it in front of a group of people."

I'm sure you feel that's a fair as general rules go... But to be pedantic self-harm doesn't just comprise of cutting, there are other less stark forms of it that I've used myself in the presence of groups of people, albeit still with a degree of furtiveness.
And I've seen some pretty severe self-mutilation done before group of people before, the worst of which was by a guy with very bad case of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
A person with legitimate problems can detach themselves from whats around them and go off to another 'place' in their mind, so to speak, and do what they believe they have to.
And self-harm isn't always about coping, it can be about punishing oneself or disfiguring oneself and in all these cases can be highly impulsive without being histrionic.

It is more usual for self-harm to be hidden, but I think it's fair to say that the hiding of it is another pathological practice associated with it, rather than a defining characteristic of it's validity.

How wrong do you think I am?

"Perhaps I am wrong, but this particular use fits with my schema of a 14 year olds world"

Do you mean she's 14, thinks she's got all these woes in her world that no-one else has and is acting out?

"there is no offence intended to Natholie, I've found you to be very mature compared to your peers"

I'll second that.

"Would you not say, Azathoth that you are not proud of self harming, it is something that you use, a mechanism that works for you, but you wouldn't make a song and dance about it?"

It's a tool for which I feel no pride and refuse to feel any shame.

"I agree that anyone who would try to make you feel ashamed is certainly somewhat lacking in sensitivity, and should try to understand rather than just judge. I would be careful to label them scum - I tend to reserve that term for politicians."

I'm pretty comfortable myself on this one.


What can you do?

Post 10

PonderingStudent

I am going through a really bad patch at the moment and wound up in hospital earlier in the week covered in blood and incredibly distressed. I have talked to quite a few good friends about the incident, not to mention the person I woke at 4am, while I was still cutting, who called an ambulance and came with me. Does this make me attention seeking? I'm ill - I have depression, and am struggling to find ways to cope - I tell people about this, because I don't see any reason why I should be ashamed.
Doing it in public is slightly different, however. Even if it was *attention seeking* I don't think you can just dismiss it though. I don't think anyone who deliberately cuts themself is happy, maybe she was just desperate for someone to see how unhappy she was/is, through her normal cheerful persona? This is just personal experience, but one of the hardest things about depression has been telling people you care about that underneath you don't feel like the cheerful,capable person they think you are. Maybe this was just an over-dramatic way of doing that. I would be inclined to treat her as normal - then she can see that her self-harming neither lost nor gained her anything, both of which might precipitate further outbreaks.
This is all a bit incoherent - hope it's vaguely helpful!


What can you do?

Post 11

grr

Yeah, it does. I've been treating her the same as far as I can, she hasn't really changed.


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