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sandystrachan's avatar

My friend just informed my she cut her arm , what do i do ?

Asked by sandystrachan (4412points) June 19th, 2009

She has been having some problems with her BF , i thought i managed to work that out with her turns out not . She is on some pills that are prescribed for mood swings, bipolar and schizophrenia.
She lives a few hours away from me she is normally a very happy bubble person , just tonight she says they had an argument and she has cut her arm with shards from a mirror she broke. Before she stopped she said she was a freak ! .

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12 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

If you know any family of hers get them over there.
If not, I would try to get an idea of how bad the cut is, keep her on the phone, call the police in her area and have them drive over.

wundayatta's avatar

Can you go visit her? It would probably help her to have someone close who cares. Do you know where on her arm she cut herself?

It sounds like she is feeling worthless and dangerously depressed. She needs to know that she is loved, even though her bf broke up with her. She may not believe it, but it is still worth saying, over and over. If she has a therapist, she should call them immediately. Also do what @Bri_L said.

Open's avatar

I think you already understand that this is a delicate situation. Treat it as such. Based on her home life, decide who you should notify. If her family isn’t the most supportive you might not necessarily want to tell them all the details. Sometimes parents get angry with their children for taking such actions (the anger is usually based in misunderstanding and fear). You don’t want to make life worse for her, so if or when you inform a family member do your absolute best to defend her and explain her side as best you can.
I can not stress this enough, but BE UNDERSTANDING and whatever you do, DO NOT yell or get angry or frustrated with her. Instead be patient, let her talk, let her vent. Also be careful in correcting her way of thinking. If she claims her boyfriend was the only one that loved and understood her, don’t tell her that’s ridiculous, but rather nod your head or say “I understand.” always acknowledge her feelings. She needs to know you’re there to hear her out and be understanding.
If she is calm and seems to be herself, Then you can start to discuss where she might be seeing things wrong. However! Once again, be calm and understanding and very careful how you phrase things. For example, if you’d like to point out that her boyfriend was not the only one who loved her, don’t say “He didn’t really love you.” or “You’re wrong about…” instead say “I understand what you’re saying, and I care about you too.”
The fact that she called you to tell you these things, means that you matter to her. If you tell her you care, she will probably belive you.
As for the feeling like a freak, encourage her. Tell her that you like her for who she is and not for anything else. I know it’s hard to believe that you are “normal” when you are on meds. However, do your best. It sounds like you care, and if you really do, you’ll help her through this.
You can do it! ^_^ Help her see the sunshine again.

Lastly, I would have to advise AGAINST calling the police unless she’s really killing herself or she is in hysteria. Cutting can be a distraction from pain and a “silent” plea for help. She might know but she’s probably trying to get some one’s attention. Seeing as how she called you, you’re probably one of the people she wants attention from. If this is the case, tell her to call you and that you’re there for her. Do your best to make her rain clouds go away, but if you’re not making any progress or she starts to sink into further depression you need to call for some back-up.
Best of luck! Tell us how it goes.

Bri_L's avatar

@Open – So your saying, don’t get anyone near her who can make sure she isn’t going to stop at what you may or may not know is a superficial cut. What you can’t get to in time to verify yourself?

I agree with the way you are telling him to be supportive if she were just calling him up and talking from the same town. She is to far to reach, on medication and inflicting injury on herself the degree of which has not been determined.

I would ALWAYS err on the side of caution as pointed out here

There is nothing silent about self mutilation. Her medical and medicinal history already indicate issues.He can still be there, be supportive and establish that he is without risking tragedy.

scamp's avatar

As always, I agree with Bri_L . Her acting out this way may be a sign of something more serious to come. I think the best thing you can do for her is to get someone who knows about her illness in contact with her to decide if she and those around her are safe. Don’t second guess anything.

Let the professionals decide what is in her best interest. She may be angry with you for making the call, but later on when things settle down, she will probably thank you for getting her some help.

Strauss's avatar

@Bri_L, it doesn’t sound like @Open is saying not to get near her, only too tread carefully.

@sandystrachan, go to her. Find out the extent of the cut. If she needs medical attention, get it for her.Talk to her, ask her if it was an accident or if she did it on purpose. Talk to her, talk to her, talk to her.

sandystrachan's avatar

I managed to get her back speaking to me , she said she just didn’t want to worry me . I said to her what kind of friend would i be if i didn’t worry .
Everything is okay and have been sorted and covered , she is still not 100% but at least she is alot happier today and sort of back to her usual chipper self .
There was a fair amount of blood but i managed to clean it and bandage it up , and have told her if she ever feels that way again bring her self to a happy place in her mind, inform me or someone that the feelings are back .

SO thanks to you all X .

Bri_L's avatar

@sandystrachan – excellent! great job!

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure I would trust this appearance of being back to her chipper self, or close to being back. It seems to me like she is probably still in a lot of pain. As @Open said, cutting can be a way of distracting oneself from the pain. It changes your focus.

Distraction from the pain is good, especially when it is so strong, but it is still there, lurking, and it can grab you when you aren’t expecting it. I think it would be being a good friend to stay in touch with her often. At least once a day, if not more. Reminding her that you are her friend, and again, as @Open said, listening to her without getting judgmental about what she’s doing.

However, there’s no telling how long this pain can last, and how long it will be dangerous for her. If she was with this guy for a while, and really loved him, it could take years to get over it. It could be months that she can’t think of anything else.

That’s the way it was for me, anyway. Before last year, it was the worst time of my life—losing my love, graduating from college and being cut off from my friends, and being unable to find a job, possibly due to the recession at the time. It was an awful lot of pain, and I had little support. The little support I did have really made a difference.

Open's avatar

@sandystrachan good job! =) I’m very proud of you! You are a good friend indeed. Keep in touch with her to make sure she is honestly going to be okay. It takes a lot to feel that depressed and it will take a lot of time to bring her back out of it. She’s probably going to have some depressing nights in the near future, just do your best to make sure she doesn’t get depressed to the point of cutting herself again. Ask her if she has told anyone else. If she has you might consider contacting them and setting up alternate times to call her. This is good because it will take some of the pressure off of you. You don’t want to be the only person making sure she’s okay. Basically you want to make sure she has a safety net to fall back on when she needs it. If she hasn’t told anyone else, discuss with her people who she can tell and confide in. This will help you both greatly. Like I said before it will take some of the pressure off of your shoulders and will give you someone to talk to about the situation also (and visa versa). It will also make her feel loved to know there are several people there ready to hold out a hand when she needs it. So keep checking up on her. ^_^ Good job on being a great friend! Keep up the good work!

@Bri_L – Apologies for not being clear. I agree you should go see her. I was advising caution on calling in people who might not give her the support she needed at that moment. Yes, I agree it is important to inform people who can help.

Bri_L's avatar

@Open – No apologies! I see now you what you were getting at.

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