Two In Two Nights

It was a bit of a 'stabby' weekend, I don't normally do 'sexy' calls but for some reason I had two stabbings on two consecutive nights.

The first was a young man who had been stabbed in the street. His main injury was a stab wound through his thigh, he'd leaked a fair bit of the red stuff, but not enough to particularly worry us. He also had a slash wound across his chest but this was fairly minor. What made the job tricky was that there was around 40 youths all milling around, all wanting to talk to their 'bruv'.

Our patient was more concerned with getting his mobile phone back from one of his friends. I'm guessing, given his demeanour, that he wanted to arrange a retaliation. Meanwhile more and more of his friends were arriving and causing trouble for the police. For some reason the people of Newham seem to enjoy ignoring 'Police:Do Not Cross' tape.

We blued him into the local A&E where he was treated (and probably discharged later that day).

The next day had another stabbing, this one somewhat different.

The patient didn't want his girlfriend to leave him, so he stabbed himself in the stomach.

(No, I have no idea either, especially as this was the third time he'd done this to himself).

What made it annoying was that the patient was pretending to be unconscious. As it was difficult to see how deep the wound went, and we had been told that it may have been three inches deep, we blued him into the local A&E. After the doctors there poked a metal probe into the wound they discovered that it was a minor injury. I left him in the A&E still pretending to be unconscious.

The police officer who came with us just wanted him to admit that it was self inflicted, then he could leave. He was only there to check that it wasn't the patient's girlfriend who had stabbed him.

50 thoughts on “Two In Two Nights”

  1. I think what we have to think about here is more “not what is the man saying (or in this case doing) but what is he trying to communicate”This is true of many people who self harm, for many reasons, whether they are threats or actions. For example, someone who says “if you leave i will kill myself” may not actually mean that he will hurt himself, or that he actually wants to die, he could easily be saing that “If you leave i will feel so hurt and abandoned i feel that i will not be able to live”. this IS i guess what people are calling 'attention seeking' but i feel that its more a legitimate cry for someone else to understand and to experience how deeply someone is feeling.

    I don't know how well that reads, lol, or if it makes sence, but i've been quite shocked at a very few of the comments here, and felt i would like to attempt to put across my viewpoint!!

    Rx

  2. Another way of looking at though, would be, “What is he trying to ACHIEVE?”Take away the victim shield and it looks a little different.

  3. There is also a huge difference between some self harm & threatening suicide to actually stabbing yourself in the stomach.Yes, I have met control freaks, (my grandmother being one of the best!) but I also work damned hard in reducing stigma in this kind of area.. damned hard and unpaid I might add. “Oh. lets not offer that person any help, they're obviously just a control freak / bad / a freak / desperate for attention” etc etc.

    It wasn't this guys first time, thats all we know, and personally, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. To me 3 is a pattern of behaviour..

    You're lucky in that you can cope with the end of a relationship / friendship without feeling like you simply cannot live without that person.. not just in a “oh I really really want to live with them still” but in a truely phobic kind of way (in the same way an agorophobic simply cannot go outside).

  4. Sorry, I'd just also like to say that I didn't intend to be patronising with my last comment.The thing is that this is a case that even psychiatric nurses and consultants would disagree on. (I've seen that before too) So although it's fine for everyone to have their own opinion on it, I really don't think it's something worth falling out over. I suppose none of us are really right or wrong, we just differ in our experiences and opinions.

  5. I've felt that way over one horrific breakup, but I didn't try to control the other person's behaviour. Doesn't make me a saint – I hit the bottle pretty hard at points and didn't get out of bed at others – but I didn't make it be about trying to control them.I'm not saying this to argue, because it sounds like you've also had a pretty ghastly time of it and I feel for you, but am posting just to offer an example that even the times when sanity and well-balanced reasoning aren't available, not all of us reach for the knife drawer.

  6. ok, here's the difference for me.I knew one person who had an eating disorder and attempted suicide. She hid it really quite effectively, and the suicide bid might have been successful if it hadn't been for her flatmate leaving the house for a weekend, and then coming back after half an hour because she realised she'd left something behind, and walking in on the attempt in progress, and cancelling plans and going to the hospital instead.

    That person was definitely ill, and definitely needed help, and when the help was offered, she took it, and things improved.

    I also knew someone who made a big song and dance about how they had an eating disorder and were suicidal. She would make a scratch on her arm and then show it off to everyone as “this is from when I tried to off myself”. She'd show someone a half-full bottle of pills and say “I took these” and then a week or so later her mum found, ooh, about half a bottle's worth of the same pills in the pocket of the coat she'd been wearing on that day.

    The tin lid on that one was when she was at my house and didn't realise I was reading in my bedroom, next to the upstairs toilet. I heard someone (her) come upstairs, I heard the door shut, then I heard nothing, then the door opened again and footsteps went back down the stairs. I thought “that's strange, no noise, not even a tap running or a flush, why would someone go to the loo just to sit there?” so I went downstairs too, and found everyone making a fuss and phoning a doctor and texting her boyfriend to come back from his day out with his family and so on, because she'd told them she'd made herself sick and there had been blood in it. I told them I hadn't heard puking or flushing or even a tap running to rinse her mouth. Nobody was amused.

    Can you imagine the effect that had on people who cared about her? How anxious and worried she was making them, and with no justification? We cared about her, but she didn't give a toss what she was doing to us.

    When professional help was offered to her – pills, counselling, etc, her parents were even prepared to arrange for her to go to a private clinic – she refused it, both before and after the incidents I've described. I don't know if things improved because frankly I wasn't prepared to be a marionnette in her personal puppet theatre any longer. I don't consider that to be “desertion of an ill person”, I consider it preserving my own mental health.

  7. Good one………and perhaps “shocked” was too strong a word for me to use…..*mental note (haha) made*………I guess I'm just a bit frustrated/disappointed/sad when I read what looks sometimes like a comment or opinion which contradicts my own experiences on the subject, both as recipient and dishingouter (ooh new word!). “….not everyone who self-harms is mentally ill…” is a bloody good way to put it….. i wish sometimes I could be as succinct!!! /j

  8. What on earth good is repeatedly harming yourself supposed to do in terms of “making people love you” and changing their minds about leaving you?”I'm leaving you. I've thought about it and this just isn't working.””No! I can't face life without you! If you leave, I'll stab myself again!””Sorry. I have to leave. This relationship is making me unhappy/I can't handle your dependency levels/The idea of spending any more time with you fills me with dread. I hope you find someone who can give you everything you need. Goodbye””Noooo!” *stab*”oh, that's changed my mind, you're obviously the ideal person for me to live with forever and I think we should have babies”????I guess the question is, does he have mental health trouble, or is he just a drama queen? Tough call.

  9. Stabbing himself probably did him no good at all, but you really do have to have some sympathy, where is your heart.Maybe or maybe not to the answer of mental health, there are varying degrees of it, he does not have to be what you vision as mentally ill, depression is classed as a mental illness, even mild cases.

    Another huge cry for help, although not probably the best way to do it!!

  10. Well presumably it worked the first twice if this was the third time he'd done it! (Unless that was with previous girlfriends, of course).It's impressive if he still faked unconsciousness even with Drs poking a metal probe into the wound to measure it's depth…

  11. Batsgirl wrote: “I guess the question is, does he have mental health trouble, or is he just a drama queen?”Having had a lot of experience with both, I would say he's just a drama queen – which I have no sympathy for at all. Usually drama queens are self obsessed and not likeable people, so trying to emotionally blackmail people in this way is the only way they can get anyone to want to stay in their company for more than five minutes. And it works – when someone has just stabbed themselves you won't walk out of the door and leave them, you at least call an ambulance, so you end up staying with them – at least temporarily.

    I would say to anyone who knows a person like this: after the first “suicide attempt” end your friendship for good. It's never going to get any better and you'll only end up hating them, yourself, or both.

    (I'm not talking about teenagers who are inexperienced in life and think they'll never love again when their partners dump them, and so get drunk and take loads of tablets. I have sympathy for these. I'm talking about people who deliberately try to “kill” themselves in front of an audience – it's obvious that they won't be left to die)

  12. Second shelf on the left.It just reads to me like he was trying to manipulate his girlfriend with mind games – hell, maybe that kind of manipulation was what she had enough of, was the reason she was leaving. His intention was not so much to harm himself as to make her do what he wanted her to do, to control her, to exert power over her, to upset her.

    I am perfectly aware, thank you, that depression is classed as a mental illness. I have been there. Please do not presume to have any idea what I “vision as mentally ill” as you put it.

    I am also aware that people – with depression and other mental health issues, or sane as anything, or anywhere in between – are not saints, can be inclined to “drama” (eg pretending to be unconscious), can have trouble keeping hold of the idea that it's not all about Them, and are often quite capable of recklessly manipulating other people for their own ends.

    Not every superficial self-harmer has a clinical mental health problem, not every troublesome child has full-blown ADHD, not every young offender had a tragic upbringing. These things exist, for the unfortunate minority, and when they exist then they should certainly be taken into account – but I don't think they should be presumed to exist in all cases, or even most.

  13. I fully agree.With the classic 'cries for help' all they want is attention. In a never cycle now matter how much attention they get (or don't get) their only answer is more of the same. It's the same with jumpers on a ledge. If the whole street was cleared they would soon come down fo their own accord.

    Many months ago I saw a program on C4 where this fellow filmed his wife walking out on him. She had since settled with someone else and was happy. Yet every night this chap sat in front of the TV playing the recording over and over again and crying all evening – every evening. And he wondered why his wife never wanted to see him again.

    Some people just can't see they are they are cause of their own troubles.

  14. Luckily, when I was very ill with a psychiatric problem that caused such behaviour, my friends didn't desert me. They helped me get the help I needed to stop. Otherwise its likely I wouldn't be here typing this now.I wasn't an “attention seeker”, I was ill.

  15. At 20, I married the girlfriend I had loved since 15. She was all I wanted, and we were totally content with one another – which is why I allowed her systematically to cut me off from my friends, through her refusing to socialise either with them or with their new wives. Within a year, she was getting her own way in everything by taking to her bed, and refusing to wash or to eat until I gave in. I always did, because I was young, I loved her, and I hated to see her unhappy.After 11 years, our son was born. This offered her the opportunity to put more pressure on me. Returning from shifts which kept me away from home for 1-2 days, (which – simply to be manipulative – she had wanted me not to do) I would find the baby screaming and starving, in a filthy nappy, and my wife in her bed with her face to the wall. With no family, friends, or acquaintances, nobody ever knew, and I simply had to work around it. It wasn't easy, and, looking at it now, I don't know how we survived.

    We had two more children, both girls – the first, because I was persuaded that our son should not have to be an “only”, and the second – a “wee mistake” – but nonetheless loved for that. (If this seems odd, you need to know that I was very much in love with my wife. I wanted a “normal” life, and, and for most of the time, things were OK). However, her ability to blackmail me was now extended, and, eventually, I had to give up the job I loved so that I could work nearer to home and be available to my children.

    (This turned out to be fortune in disguise; I got a job with the ambulance service, and have been doing it now for 17 years.)

    Our son left home as soon as he could (though I spent a lot of time and money making sure he was never “stuck”). Our daughters and their mother became ever closer, and I – as are many fathers of girls – was marginalised. (Don't get me wrong, I had – and still do have – an excellent relationship with my daughters). However, the three of them monopolised the room that had been our bedroom, but, because the house was very large, I was able to do some re-modelling and establish myself a “pad” downstairs. I also used my time to pursue my own interests, and, as a consequence, acquired new friends.

    When my younger daughter eventually left for university, my wife wanted me back as the compliant, subservient being I had been before. Unfortunately, I had been living a different life for about 4 years, and I wasn't about to give it up. The only blackmail weapon my wife still had was suicide.

    In less than a year, she: tipped a gallon of petrol over herself – soaking the lighter in the process; twice attempted to gas herself in a car (the second time phoning our elder daughter because she couldn't contact me); overdosed seriously on prescription medication 4 times; and twice attempted hanging. She was sectioned , in total, three times. She also indulged in bizarre acts typified by her cutting the telephone lines inside the house into 3inch lengths, smashing the telephones, and throwing them into the bin, – because I had been talking to my friends on them. After she attacked me with a daisy grub (have a look at one in your garden centre), I took to locking myself in my room, and – on really bad nights – sleeping in the garage.

    During the second hanging, I stood looking at her, dangling unconscious 5ft off the ground, and seriously thought about walking.

    But I saved her life again – and THEN I walked.

    She divorced me for desertion. I argued about nothing. I gave her the house, the cars, and everything we owned, except for two changes of clothing and my uniform. When I had somewhere of my own, I took the cats and the bees. Freedom is worth every penny.

    We were married for nearly 37 years; it took a year or two to adjust to leaving, and I've been on my own now for nearly four years. I don't think that I've been so happy since I was a kid. The woman who would have been my mother-in-law (she died 6 months before I married her daughter) once said to me “You'll never be happy, because you're not the marrying kind”. Well, 37 years is giving it one hell of a shot, but, how I wish I had listened to that wise, wise woman!

    My ex-wife is an intelligent, attractive woman; she is a Theatre/Recovery nurse with 25 years' experience, as well as an accomplished church organist. The line between tantrum and mental illness is very blurred, and drama queens do sometimes die.

    If you're in tow with an emotional blackmailer, hearken to the voice of experience – LEAVE NOW!

  16. Good grief!Maybe he was mentally ill or maybe he was trying to manipulate, my point is you can not jump to conclusions.

    You have read the comment of 'vision as mentally ill' too deeply, I mean in general not just YOU

    As for the depression part you are not the only one , I am fighting a winning battle with it so we will have to share the T Shirt on that one!

    I think you have read my comments too personally. It was all meant to be in general.

  17. Fimb, I hope you don't think I was referring to cases such as yours. What I'm trying to say is (which obviously doesn't come across very well in a short post) that I have seen both. I have experience with people trying to commit suicide for real or self harming because of mental illness, and I have experience of people “trying to commit suicide” or self harming for attention, or as Batgirl put it, to control others.If someone is seriously suicidal or self harms because of depression or another mental illness, of course they deserve every bit of sympathy, and I would be disgusted if those close to that person deserted them (and I've seen that happen too). But, I think it's fairly obvious that the person in Toms post was trying to control his girlfriend through emotional black mail, and in that situation the person needs to get out and not look back, because the effects of that kind of relationship are damaging to all concerned.

    Please accept my apologies if I have caused you offence by not making myself clear in my first comment.

  18. Wow, what an experience. In the case of your wife, emotional blackmail and mental illness was very blurred indeed. Maybe it's not all as clear cut as I thought it to be.Currently I am married to a Schizophrenic who has both self harmed and attempted suicide, but this in no way ever feels like emotional blackmail, and I would never consider leaving him. Actually, he has often resisted self harm even when the feelings were very strong because he didn't want to upset me.

    I suppose that's the difference, he tries hard to resist for my sake, rather than making these attempts to “get at me”.

  19. Batgirl, good comment. Is it just me or can i smell a hint of attention seeking here. If its worked before then chances are Mr Stabby Stabby will carry on doing it. I feel sorry for the girl in the relationship. Did he get a referal to Social Services.

  20. The point Batsgirl made about dependency is the core of the issue. No-one can live with anyone who is totally dependent 24/7. You may as well have a new born baby who never gets any older.The whole issue with these characters is whatever you do they just get worse.If you give in they believe their tactics are working so they increase the dose.If you resist they believe it's not working yet so they increase the dose.Catch 22.

  21. Interesting reading your London blog–shows city life in the Uk is pretty much the same as that in the US. I live near Philly where there are shootings and stabbing every night

  22. The line between attention seeker and mentally ill is hard to draw..If you want attention, most “normal” people shout, scream, p'raps kick the furniture, sulk.. whatever.

    If you want attention to the point that you harm yourself (or others), your brain ain't working the way it should be. End of.

    This person was ill, and an attention seeker. He's both. Cos someone who wasn't ill would not harm themselves.

  23. >>After the doctors there poked a metal probe into the woundI really hope they didn't.

    Incidentally, the boundary between drama queen & borderline personality disorder is seeing a psychiatrist.

  24. I'm sorry, I have to disagree. It's obviously not normal to want to harm yourself or others, but that doesn't mean the person has a mental illness. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths to get their own way. Mental illness is present all the time, it doesn't only surface when the person wants to manipulate someone.

  25. Try looking into personality disorders.What that guy was doing was pretty damned typical of borderline personality disorder. Yes, its horrible.. yes, it hurts so many people. But, its still an illness. Can you even begin to imagine the pain that must be caused for someone to stab themselves in the stomach?

    I guess we see his behaviour very differently.

  26. My life was made hell for months by an ex who threatened self-harm/suicide after I broke up with him.Have some sympathy for the girlfriend as well – she knows a guy who considers stabbing a legitimate form of negotiation is obsessed with her.

    Self-harm under these circs CAN sometimes be used deliberately as, or experienced as, a threat.

    “I'll hurt myself if you leave me” is not a million miles away from “I'll hurt you if you leave me” – the cases of guys who've killed their kids then themselves when a relationship breaks down illustrate that.

  27. In my experience, normally it's when they think they'll gain an advantage from it – one that can't be had by any less extreme route. It's the same as saying “all murderers are mentally ill, because only a mentally ill person would want to kill – so let's be nice to them, they're obviously suffering.”Nice in theory, in practice likely to cause a real mess. And obviously it ignores the majority of people who are mentally ill and don't harm a fly, even those who struggle to overcome violent urges at times.

    JMO.

  28. I also disagree. It's not normal to want to have intercourse with children, but not everyone who does that is acting out of an uncontrollable psychological urge and therefore incapable of making choices.I agree that this is about manipulation – if he was a chronic self-harmer, he'd have been doing it throughout the relationship, not just when things didn't go his way.

    The obvious benefit of feigning unconsciousness is he gets to mess up the ex's life a bit more by making the police consider bringing her in for questioning – since it's likely that in his worldview she IS to blame for the injury by “making” him do it, that's totally in line with the desire to manipulate and control the other person.

    Domestic abusers often believe that the other person makes them get violent, this is no different.

  29. Oh I do, I feel desperately sorry for the girlfriend, she has been put in an awful position, I would not wish that on anyone.My point was that you can not automatically assume he was just attention seeking, he may need psychiatric help ( hopefully he would get it as three times stabbing yourself!) Maybe another one slipping through the system.

  30. Dear Gp2b,Please see my lengthy posting above; for over 30yrs, by allowing myself to be blackmailed by my wife, we managed alone. However, when, late in our marriage, I refused to toe her line once again, she sought psychiatric help. I had thought that your throwaway line (above) was merely glib, but then I realised it was true. Psychiatric assistance changed my wife from being a drama queen into someone prepared to die.

  31. You've obviously not met a control freak before – lucky you.As unbelievable as it may sound to you, there are people who would do this sort of thing just to try to control others. I know this must be a sensitive subject for you, but not everyone who self harms is ill. I've met both. Where do we draw the line with mental illness?

  32. While I agree that on the basis of one paragraph we cannot “condemn” this bloke, we also cannot rush to assume a medical disorder that somehow makes his behaviour “okay”.Medical diagnoses of long-term conditions are the exception, not the norm – I just know you're going to tell me about how one in three people have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, that is still a minority.

    We should never assume a clinical illness as “the benefit of the doubt”. At best we can say, he was being thoughtless, with no regard for the feelings of the woman he purports to “love”, and record that there is a possibility this was exacerbated by mental health difficulties which he may or may not have.

    If you work in this area you will know the difference between “being a bit depressed” and “having clinical depression”. That's what I'm talking about. Not everything has to be clinical. Sometimes it can just be human.

    You say “three is a pattern of behaviour”. I say, true, but it's *learned* behaviour – he did it once, it worked, so next time the situation arose, he did it again, and it worked, so next time the situation arose, he did it again… To break the cycle it has to Not Work.

    And demonstrating learned behaviour is not being mentally ill, it's normal, it's the basis of everything from potty training onwards.

  33. when they learn that they can make a mess without doing any lasting damage, and the behaviour is rewarded by them getting what they want (in this case, the girlfriend stopping saying “I'm leaving you” and reverting to Happy Relationship).It's along the same lines as toddlers throwing themselves on the floor and beating the ground until their fists turn red and screaming until they make themselves puke – it's not nice, in fact it hurts, but it makes mummy/daddy run round and fuss over you and worry about you and clean you up and Make It All Better.

  34. Whilst normally I wouldn't touch this one with someone ELSE'S bargepole, your end line struck a chord with me and is in fact the only post I personally would choose to respond to.I too am shocked by some of the comments, although on further analysis I don't believe anyone means to be mean or demeaning, know what I mean?

    “…these characters…” is the phrase with which I am most uncomfortable though, Vic. What's wrong with calling them “people”? It just feels a bit dehumanising, especially when I realise that I am, by any loose definition, such a “character”, with a history of self-harm and so-called “attention-seeking”.

    Definitions time – (personal) – Self harm is, more often than not, done purely for the “benefit” of the abuser and not directed at anyone else. That's why most self-harm is HIDDEN! I am surprised no-one else has picked up on that, unless I missed it. “Attention-seeking” is defined further on……

    Yes, academically the difference between one and the other might be a psychiatric review BUT such a review doesn't necessarily come down on one side or another………..I see the difference as simply as this……….attention-seeking is exactly what it is – seeking attention through an action which is quite often self-destructive in some way or other.

    Self-harm is not necessarily the same thing – by default, self harm is both a cause and effect of low self-esteem and that can affect mood and social ability. Such personality-affecting disorders often cause external signs which in themselves draw attention to unhappiness, despair, etc BUT the act of secretly cutting or what have you is not, because by definition it is not seen.

    A deliberate act of self-harm in an attempt to emtionally blackmail another person is very possibly a mixture of the two – and in my view both deserve compassion and understanding, for they are both acts borne out of a sense of emotional despair.

    I have done both in my 36 years on this planet and I can confidently assure readers that neither achieved any “goal” – quite the opposite, especially given the distaste one is often faced with, whether it be by misunderstanding the motives of either act or just pure revulsion at the sight of blood (I won't comment on stereo-typed judgementalism – it wouldn't be fair).

    But once my “condition” was diagnosed, I set out to find the right support group and peers, as well as treatment, and I no longer find it 'necessary' to do either. Neither does my partner. We both arrived at the same point from more or less opposite directions and we have formed a relationship which is not in the least bit co-dependent and we have succeeded in effectively treating the others' conditions (they differ slightly yet sufficiently significantly!).

    I hope that's brought some inside knowledge to the debate. I guess this subject cuts a little bit too close to the bone – yes the pun is intended – so sorry for waffling on.

    /j

  35. and while he's shouting “try to understand and experience how deeply I am feeling!”, his girlfriend is not only trapped in the relationship but also is unlikely to be able to get anyone to help *her* as next to him, she cannot get her voice heard.He's not just harming himself, he's harming her too. Can you imagine the mental impact it would have on you to have someone's suicide on your shoulders? The level of guilt that goes with thinking you, in some way, could have prevented a death? To not only have to deal with grief that someone you knew intimately (even if you didn't love them) has died, but to also have all the friends and family looking at you as the cause of his death? Good. Now imagine you have a choice between that, or staying in a loveless, thankless relationship that stresses you out and makes you miserable. Opting to stay in the relationship has a different kind of impact – more “slow-burning” – but both scenarios are damaging.

    And who does the help go to? Who does the sympathy go to? Why, to the one who makes the most noise. To the one who makes a big fuss. To the one who doesn't consider anyone else's feelings, only their own.

  36. That's grim reading, batsgirl, and sadly also very true in many ways…….Sympathy though – sympathy doesn't treat the underlying causes of the problems – not on either side (although it's possibly more likely to work on the pther partner).

    What's required is basically what you say – both sides need to be seen to be suffering – and there *are* ways to ensure both sides receive the treatment and attention they need! Trouble is, the guy who shoves the knife into his stomach might not get the attention he *wants* – and part of the problem also lies in the fact that the actual attention he needs might be a 12 month waiting list down the line…….if he's lucky!!!!!

    There's your problem – too many freaks like me, not enough resources to treat us all.

    So – as you rightly point out, the other side suffers too. No-one wins.

    Note – I am not disagreeing with anything you say – just steering the emphasis to where I believe the debate should look……..the root causes of mental illness are multifarious and often hard to diagnose/treat – so successive governments' answer to this is to cut back and cut back and cut back – the only people who “win” are newspaper owners who get to write wonderfully-dramatic and eye-catching headlines whilst Middle England tuts and sighs into its corn flakes and coffee, silently yet smugly assuring themselves that thank god it's not them………..

    (Told you this one cuts a bit close – sorry – I am currently going through a personal battle of guilt relating to incidents where I have doubtlessly caused distress to others and I cannot get out of my head just now how unhappy they must have been – this is my condition's way to fight back against the happiness I feel about my forthcoming wedding to my own Miss Right……..mental illness can be a cruel bastard at times…….)

  37. oo don't get me wrong, i don't for an instant think that it is a good relationship, or that the girlfriend should stay in it for the reasons of preventing his suicide, how could anyone live with that?What i would say, is that once these feelings have been identified then appropriate help for both parties is the order of the day.

    I also appreciate what 24/7 is saying about self harm normally being a private experience, and i understand that for most self-harmers it is, i think i should have talked about suicide attempters rather than self harmers, my bad. it is recognised that some suicide attempts are meant to be failed ones… its not somehting i know a huge amount about, but can i never see these things as 'attentionseeking' as a negative, but a cry for help.

    x R

  38. I am shocked that so many people are shocked. Obviously there are a lot of misunderstandings in this thread of comments.I don't think anyone here is trying to say that all people who self harm are attention seeking. That would be very wrong.

    I think what people are trying to say is that not everyone who self harms is mentally ill, particularly those who make half hearted attempts, or do it in front of an audience when carrying out a threat.

    I can see the problem is that those who are offended by these comments are ones who have self harmed in the past and have possibly been accused of attention seeking themselves, but they were not, which is why these comments hurt.

    I can also see that the people who say that not all self harmers are ill, are the ones who have experience with others who were/are not ill, but self harm to control others.

    I know it's hard for people to understand why a person would ever do this, but there are lots of awful things that people do that I will never understand – it doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

    Fimb mentioned earlier that she works hard in trying to reduce stigma about this sort of thing. I think that task is made harder for her by people who self harm for attention and not through mental illness.

    I think maybe what Tom said is true – if it can be treated it's an illness, if it can't then it's not.

  39. To 24/7Be happy

    I wish you and your Miss Right health and happiness (physical and mental) always

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, I get a fresh perspective each time I visit this blog.

    Betterlate

  40. I volunteer and train for a phone helpline service very similar to the Samaritans. Our philosophy (and training) has always been that self harm is always “real” self harm, whether it's private or public; the stereotype that anyone who doesn't go to great lengths to cover up their self-harming isn't doing it “for real” can be very damaging. And, as my old trainer used to say, if someone is “attention-seeking” then the question we should be asking ourselves is, what's making them need attention so very badly?Having said that, I agree that this man was being deeply manipulative. I'm not sure I'd class him as “mentally ill”, and I certainly wouldn't absolve him of responsibility, but he certainly doesn't have a healthy coping ability, and all concerned could use some help with that.

  41. Cheers for that! Overall I am happy, yes – let's just call it the first few miles on a long road of happiness….the further I go, the less the past's crap should affect me/us…..

  42. Very early on in my years of self harm I realised that there should be a kind of self-harmers-code-of-conduct. Nobody made me self harm. Perhaps their actions or words triggered me so that I had the desire to self harm, but in the end, it was still me who made a (often conscious but not always) decision to do whatever it was I did. This is very unlikely to have been their intention when they did or said whatever it was, so the reaction “you made me …” is unacceptable. On a lot of self harm related message boards, there are rules against that kind of thing, and against leaving suicide notes.

  43. I like the thinking behind this. Thanks for posting it, one of my exes was a self-harmer and reading your post has made me feel a lot better about the stuff he threw at me.Thing is, he was okay with describing himself as a self-harmer, yet when I upset him by breaking up with him, guess what? I made him self-harm. Plus threaten suicide, dive headfirst into a can of White Diamond* and suchlike blah.

    Surely a contradiction. Joeiy, I wish you all the best and thank you again, sincerely.

    * White Diamond – the white “cider” that makes White Lightning seem like vintage champagne.

  44. Aww, that made my day :)No, you didn't make anyone self harm. It's entirely possible that you upset him, and that as a result of his being upset he turned to self harm because that's the coping mechanism he prefers or currently uses. However, being upset is part of life. I'm sure you had good reasons for breaking up with him (apart from anything else, self harmers are often *not* easy people to live with), and I'm sure you weren't doing it just to hurt him. Break ups happen, people get hurt. It's part of life. Self harm can be, for some people, a useful coping mechanism in those situations (please note, I don't want to encourage it at all!! If you've never done it, don't start. This isn't the place for a list of reasons but honestly, it causes a lot more angst in the medium term than it solves in the short term). But your ex might just as well have said “you're awful, you *made* me turn to my friends for support, get therapy I needed, and find the perfect partner”. Gosh, you wicked person.

  45. I just want to make it clear, all I talk about isn't just from my own experiences.. but mainly from the work I do in this area, and from friends experiences.

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