Aug 27, 2011

My Friend is Self Harming

Category: Teens
Posted By: Squirrel

My friend, Bleu is cutting herself. I am positive that she is not cutting herself because of some kind of emotional turmoil (such as depression) because her boyfriend told me that she had carved his name into her hip. With a knife. If its any help, I have an idea of what might have caused this problem. For the last two years, Bleu has become obsessed with something called 'Anime', a japanese style of drawing. A fair amount of these are very graphic. Especially the ones Bleu likes (such as a show called 'Bleach').  Along with the collective gory-ness of regular Anime, she is obsessed a specific type of Anime known as 'Yaoi', basically a term for affection between two men. Some of it is rather innocent, such as holding hands or hugging. But the rest... Not so much. Unfortunately, it is that side of the spectrum that Bleu has fallen in love with.   Along with all the Anime stuff that is messing her up, she has recently been trying to become what is known as a 'Emo'.  And from what I have researched, people who are Emo usually end up committing suicide. I seriously doubt that Bleu would ever do that, seeing as she is constantly cheery.  Bleu, her boyfriend, and I are all 13 years old. Now, do you think a 13 year old in 8th grade who goes to a good school and lives in a good neighborhood should be into that kind of stuff? And what can I, another 13 year old, do to help her without completely destroying our friendship and making her hate me? Should I tell her parents, or will that just make it worse? Please give whatever advice you can. If you do, I shall be extremely grateful.

Answer: Hi Squirrel, thank you for your question.  I can see that you are both concerned and frustrated by your friend's behaviour. 

I gather you are asking two things; why is she doing this, and what should you do about it?  To address the why first.  As you say it is difficult to understand why a teenager from a good school and a good neighbourhood would behave in such a way, although I note that you didn't add a good family).  I have a fair amount of experience of working with self harm and young people calling themselves emos (you can imagine that parents would be sufficiently worried to bring them to a psychotherapist).  In my experience there is always some disturbance in them that is drawn to the darkness you describe.  It seems that your friend Bleu is particularly identified with some very dark and violent things and there must be something in her that this echos whether it is her own thoughts or some more real experiences.  I am only guessing, but a lot of the disturbance you mention concerns her relationships with men and it may be that this is the area of distress.  In any case I understand your worry and frustration and it might help to see if she will talk to you a little about what is stirred up in her by these actions and images.

As for what to do about it, I do think that you need to have an adult who can help you think it through, talk to Bleu and assess how serious the situation is.  An ideal solution would be to go to the school counsellor, if you have one and ask for her help.  I understand your reluctance to go to her parents so it's worth exploring other adult options first, if there is no school counsellor is there a teacher that you and Bleu could trust?  The situation does sound serious enough that there should be someone taking care of the situation and it may well be that the school counsellor or teacher would have to tell her parents, however, this way the responsibility is lifted from your shoulders and your friendship with Bleu can remain intact.  If you can't think of an adult who could help at school the perhaps your own parents could help?  In any event, i think you need to take the problem to someone who is in a position to help Bleu with whatever she is struggling with.  It does sound as if she needs some therapeutic input to help her think about what is taking her down such a dark path.

Well done for really looking for the best way to help, it will certainly help her to have friends that care enough for her to take the time to find the best way of supporting her.

I wish you all the best with dealing with sorting it out and please do come back to me if you need more help,


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