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Old 12-28-2008, 12:21 PM   #1
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Orange29 HB User
Advice for a friend...

I need a bit of advice really, regarding one of my best friends. I've known him for a year and a half and although he is a great person, he does have problems with depression and cutting. He was bullied lower in the school and is still very unpopular. He has low self esteem and isn't very confident, which can cause problems as other people don't see how we can get on. We both get some trouble over our friendship - a lot of people don't see why I want him as a friend because I am a really sociable person and they view it as time wasting on my part when he is obviously so shy. A lot of them have asked him if he is only friends with me because he wants sex, which is not true. I've had problems in the past with self harm myself so I understand him better than any of our friends, who can be quite unsympathetic at times. I am the only person he told, as I was trying to talk to him after a bad break up and he confided to me that he had cut him arms. The situation worsened and I forced him to tell some mutual friends, as it was either that or inform his parents or the school, which I didn't want to do unless I had no alternative. I thought our friends might give him support and take the stress off me a little, but sadly they didn't understand and I am still the main person he turns to.
Basically I need advice on two counts.
Firstly, he has recently began seeing a friend of mine who is supportive and caring. She knows a little (not many details) about his self harm and is very non judgemental. However, she is quite a nervous person and I can't see her handling crisis calls or texts (which do happen) very well. I wondered if I should tell her a little bit about how much support he needs so that she is prepared for when it next happens, or if this might put her off or seem like interference or betrayal. I also wondered whether I should ask him to what extent he would involve her, for example whether he would text her after cutting so that she could know what to expect, or whether this would also be interference.
Secondly, the situation has improved recently. Obviously the new girlfriend has helped and so has the holiday, as away from school he feels better simply due to not having the feeling of being alienated and disliked by everyone, and being unable to live up to academic expectations. However I suspect that when he returns to school the situation will worsen again, especially with the stress of January exams (he is struggling with his A Levels anyway). He is on a three month waiting list after being referred to a more specialist counsellor and I am worried that the improvement will not last. I have told him in the past that after a certain point I will have no choice but to inform the school or his parents, especially given that he has been suicidal in the past. If the worst happens and he does resume cutting when we go back to school, should I call it a day and get help for him without waiting to see how the counselling goes, or is it enough that he will receive help in three months anyway? I don't know how the school can help more than a counsellor, so I'm reluctant to rush into telling them or his parents, especially as he is scared he will be thrown out if they know about his self harm. I was wondering at what stage I should tell the school - I was thinking if it starts interfering with his grades, or if it gets as bad as it did before we split up for the holidays but I'm terrified of this being seen as betrayal.

 
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:52 AM   #2
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autumn29 HB User
Re: Advice for a friend...

Hi Orange,
First of all i think that you should be proud of yourself for giving this guy so much support. I wouldnt tell his parents unless you are absolutly sure that he is in danger because for many people those who are close to you are the ones that you would hate the most to know. How bad is his sh because if it is just cutting then even though it is not good it is not life threatening. You should ask him whether he wants the school to know because the school can be helpful especially if you say that he is struggling with his exams they might get him some extra support. As for the counciling, i think that for the meantime you should wait and see if he can hold on three months if not then i would tell school before anything else.
I hope that i have been help and i want you to know that if you are struggling with supporting him on your own we are here on healthboards to support you.
Take care,
Autumn

Last edited by autumn29; 01-03-2009 at 06:12 AM.

 
Old 01-04-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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Orange29 HB User
Re: Advice for a friend...

Hi,
Thank you for that advice, I'm glad to hear that because I was thinking along the same kind of lines and It's good to know that someone else agrees! Well it's definitely not life threatening, which is why I don't want to have to mention it unless it gets too serious. The thing which worries me really is that it seems to get worse over time...and obviously once it gets too bad I suppose there might be no other alternative but to tell the school. Basically he really doesn't want them knowing, I think he had councilling in primary school which was a bad experience (it was a catholic school and the councillors were nuns, and from what I've heard not very helpful), and he's worried that if the school finds out then the other people in the sixth form will somehow find out.
Yeah it is a bit stressful at times but i suppose there'll always be something stressful so yeah thanks for the help!

 
Old 01-04-2009, 12:07 PM   #4
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katlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB Userkatlin09 HB User
Re: Advice for a friend...

Just one thing to add, you say, "it's only cutting, and that's not so serious." Well if he's been suicidal in the past....

Cutting is never "it's only", it very well is a very very serious problem, and needs to be thought of as such. If this young man has a history of suicidal ideations, and he cuts himself....If his stress levels go to high, or his girlfriend breaks up with him...it would be very easy for these two to meet up. When you are used to cutting yourself anyway, and you feel like there's nothing left in your life to live for .... well, I don't think I need to be specific.

Trust me from someone who lives with this everyday of my life, and who also battles suicidal depression daily...these are things that you don't want to mess with.

why the hesitation to tell his parents? Are they not supportive? Do you think they would not want to know that their son is unsafe?

This is a very big load that you are carrying on your shoulders, you seem to be just waiting for the "other shoe to drop". My advice, it would be wise to get an adult involved in this, be it a parent, school counselor, etc. Waiting 3 months for his counselor to be available...alot can happen in 3 months.

But all of this is just my opinion.

 
Old 01-05-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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Orange29 HB User
Re: Advice for a friend...

Quote:
Originally Posted by katlin09 View Post
Just one thing to add, you say, "it's only cutting, and that's not so serious." Well if he's been suicidal in the past....

Cutting is never "it's only", it very well is a very very serious problem, and needs to be thought of as such. If this young man has a history of suicidal ideations, and he cuts himself....If his stress levels go to high, or his girlfriend breaks up with him...it would be very easy for these two to meet up. When you are used to cutting yourself anyway, and you feel like there's nothing left in your life to live for .... well, I don't think I need to be specific.

Trust me from someone who lives with this everyday of my life, and who also battles suicidal depression daily...these are things that you don't want to mess with.

why the hesitation to tell his parents? Are they not supportive? Do you think they would not want to know that their son is unsafe?

This is a very big load that you are carrying on your shoulders, you seem to be just waiting for the "other shoe to drop". My advice, it would be wise to get an adult involved in this, be it a parent, school counselor, etc. Waiting 3 months for his counselor to be available...alot can happen in 3 months.

But all of this is just my opinion.
I know exactly what you mean, but from my own experiences of cutting and parents reactions to it I suspect that they would have no idea how to handle the problem. I met them and found them fine, but from some of the things he says I'm not sure telling them would be the best idea because he did mention he thought that they might throw him out. I don't know whether they would...I mean from meeting them I wouldn't have thought so... but I don't really know them well enough and I know that meeting people a few times isn't really enough to make a judgement about what they might be like in private.
Basically we're starting back at school this week, and I think I might see how he handles that. I really hope it goes ok because if not then I think I will have to involve the school because you're right, three months is a long time and I don't want the situation to change for the worse. I don't know what kind of help they have at school but if he does start to struggle again I will find out. Thanks for the advice

 
Old 01-05-2009, 01:44 PM   #6
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autumn29 HB User
Re: Advice for a friend...

At school there is always help for the students. I see a counciler know and last year i saw the school nurses and i had the padua to go to. So there is some help at school always, i know its a different school but they have to provide help and the teachers have been taught to deal with different problems that the students have. As for the parents if he does not feel comfortable with telling them then would not tell them. I would hate it if my mother knew too much but my relationship is different. Whatever you decide to do you need someone to let your steam out on, you need a strong adult to talk to in confidance because this will stress you out.
Take care
Autumn

 
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