My friend (15) recently has came out as gay to me, not being gay myself I didn’t fully know how to deal with it but still tried to support him through it. I thought I was doing a good job but around three weeks later he told me he was cutting. Having never done it myself I didn’t know what to do.
Our school is not very supportive towards people in my opinion and he does not want to tell them. His relationship with his parents is shaky, he hasn’t told them he’s gay but also hasn’t told them he is depressed. I don’t know what to do as I am not qualified to tell him the best way to go. I think he should tell someone but he’s adamant he can deal with it himself.
I don’t know what to do and id like an experts opinion.
Hello, Tom. You are in a difficult situation and really want to help your friend. Let’s first understand what could be the reason for this behavior.
Cutting is a popular way of the teenage way of hurting yourself, without the intention of committing suicide. This problem takes on a mass character.
Why do teenagers cut their bodies?
Various specialists agree that teenagers often do it and that cutting is a way to experience strong emotions and pain, and also that children who have difficulties in expressing their emotions, isolation, suffering from dissatisfaction with themselves and their position in society. All of them have mood swings, a wavy state of rest and explosion of negative emotions that can not be cope.
Adolescents seem to freeze in a certain “half-dead state”, and cutting their body gives them the feeling that you are “alive”, at least for a while, and physical pain distracts them from the pain of the soul that they experience constantly. For them, cutting is a way of getting rid of the accumulated emotions, when the thicket of their patience overflows.
Teenagers who have chosen such a path of liberation from accumulated emotions tend to feel very lonely, helpless, they live in constant stress and anxiety, cutting their bodies, they seem to release their emotions and unwanted feelings, as if they are opening an abscess, but not a physical one , but sincere. This way of getting rid of emotional suffering quickly becomes a habit for them.
A teenager can, suffer from mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, he may have chronic depression, with such disorders possible physical damage to himself or another. However, this does not apply to anyone who suffers from mental illness.
Compulsive disorder in which, when injured, the brain receives the necessary amount of endorphins, which is, in its own way, a neurochemical stimulator providing a sense of well-being, it also helps relieve stress or emotional pain. When teens realize that cutting can instantly alleviate his mental pain, they develop a habit or compulsive behavior. Whenever they experience mental pain, they unconsciously develop an uncontrolled desire to inflict injury.
Some teenagers feel like heroes capable of such actions, it even elevates them in the eyes of other children. They are united in social networks into support groups on the basis that each member of the group has experienced both painful emotional problems and the way to get rid of these torments. They feel special, not understood by other people.
All children who harm themselves need love and help. Therefore, I do not advise you to try to calm your friend, urging you to pull yourself together. They can not do this under the pressure of their emotional state. But first of all, you need to identify or exclude a mental illness from your friend, so he must visit a psychiatrist.
Since you are close with your friend, the best solution to the problem is to talk with his parents and hint at the situation. You do not need to tell a friend’s parents that he’s gay. Leave this decision for him and focus on a problem of a self-harm. Here are some signs that parents can pay attention to:
- The child wears clothes only with long sleeves, and also flatly refuses to wear short pants or shorts, even on hot days.
- He gets angry and leaves conversation when he is asked about cuts on his body.
- Refuses to wear a bathing suit, does not go to the beach, the river or the pool, although I did it with pleasure before.
- The child keeps in his room a razor, a lighter, objects with which he can damage himself.
- Becomes secretive, spends a lot of time in his room or in a bathroom.
- If the child keeps clothes with blood stains.
- He communicates with other children who also cut themselves.
What can not be done when communicating with a teenager who cuts his body:
- You can not shout at him and make him not do it.
- It is impossible to apply parental measures of influence, such as depriving him of what he likes to do.
- Threaten him by telling everyone what he does, to shame him.
- Show him your rightness in any matter, just because you are his parent.
A teenager is no longer a child, but he is not yet an adult, he needs the guidance of a reliable adult – parent – friend. To help a teenager, parents should become reliable friends for their child. Put any pressure on a child in this situation – is a bad idea.
I wish you and your friend best of luck!