August 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm #35784
So as some people on here know, I just started dating this wonderful guy. He’s sweet and funny and a very interesting person to be around. However, I went on a fun date with him and he came back to my place to grab some iced tea and chill for a bit before we had to go our separate ways for work and such. It was ninety degrees in my apt (I have no a/c) and I noticed he was wearing a long sleeve button up shirt over another shirt. Trying to be the nice hostess I can be sometimes I suggested that it was 90 degrees and he could take his button up off if he wanted to. He seemed embarrassed and said no. He’s always wearing baggy sweaters and long sleeve shirts to class and I always just assumed it was to keep the charcoal off. I jokingly said “I promise I won’t steal your shirt if that’s what you’re worried about” He said okay but that he didn’t want me to worry or be upset, which immediately made me nervous. He took off the shirt and his left forearm was covered in cuts. It made me feel a little sick. He explained that he can be depressed and that he had had his usual med’s switched and that it was a bad fit for him and he’d had a relapse about a month ago. He also said it was the first time he’d done anything like that in 2 years.
I personally don’t feel it’s an issue if he’s seeing somebody about it and helping himself, I just worry because I work in a hospital and I see a lot of “frequent fliers” with these issues. I don’t know if that is something anybody can just grow out of. I don’t want him to feel pressured to tell me about it if he doesn’t want to which brings me here. Does anybody have any experience with this sort of thing? I don’t want to dump him for such a superficial thing since I’ve had my own issues and I feel everybody has some form of baggage.August 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm #35794
Ohhh this is tough! I mean, he is trusting you, to show you this vulnerable side of himself, and it’s really tough to know how to react to this! If he is currently getting help, and seeing someone about this, all I can say is show your support. At the same time, you don’t want to become his therapist or his parent about it.
As for whether anyone can grow out of this sort of thing, I think so. I have a friend who used to be a cutter (for years and years), and they’re fine now (though it took a near-death experience to sort of.. shake them out of it). The way I Iook at it, cutting is a form of self-soothing, and if he’s having a rough time with medications and depression right now, so is using it as a crutch.
Anywho, this kind of sucks, because I know you don’t want to go around pushing anyone’s emotional wheelchair forever. If he is, however, getting help, seeing a therapist, and talking to you on occasion about this issue and it is resolved within a few months, then I think it’s fine. If the problem seems to continue and/or get worse, try and get him more help, and remove yourself from the situation. I understand wanting to help, but it’s up to them to do it. You can’t fix anyone for them!
Good luck! That’s a difficult situation.August 6, 2012 at 12:17 am #35807
I used to cut and I know several people who used to as well. For the most part, we all stopped by our late 20′s (one notable exception, but honestly, cutting was the least of his problems). Part of it is getting whatever underlying mental health issues under control, but I also think a lot of it can be about growing up, gaining more agency in your own life and finding other ways to cope.
I know for me, and I can’t speak to everyone’s experience, but a lot of the stuff behind the cutting was frustration with my home life, but still being dependent on my parents, I didn’t have a lot of options on how to deal with them. And their answer to depression was to tell me, “Stop being so morose.” So when I got to college, I started seeing an on-campus therapist and she sent me to a cognitive behavioral therapist– then my primary care physician got me on birth control to help stabilize my whacked out hormones and well… I stopped needing to cut so much and I had stopped altogether by the time I turned 25. I learned other ways of dealing with those feelings.
So, is it possible to grow out of it? Absolutely. It may just be that that’s how he learned to deal with certain feelings when he didn’t have a lot of other options or the maturity to see another way. I’d say, seeing as he’s aware of the problem and seeking help that it’s not going to be an immediate deal-breaker (if it becomes more like a yo-yo instead of a one-off, then you should worry). And I think most of us who have been on long-term medication for anything have had to deal with changes that didn’t work– insurance quits covering the one you’re on, something new comes out that the doctor wants to try, etc. Sometimes those little experiments can be costly.August 6, 2012 at 1:02 am #35809
Aw, man. He sounds like such a nice guy. I HATE it when someone who seems so perfect drops this kind of bomb on you, and then you have to make a decision about whether or not it’s a dealbreaker. On one hand, dude is so great and everything seems to fit just right. On the other hand, dude has a serious problem that could very well affect his ability to have a stable, long-term relationship.
I’m with the others who say go with it for now and with caution. It really does sound like this guy is trying to take care of himself and is embarrassed about cutting. His reluctance to let others see his scars means that he knows what he’s doing isn’t good. And if he hasn’t inappropriately unloaded on you at this point, it’s likely that he’s getting the help and the support he needs from professionals. Only more time with him will tell you whether or not he’s really on the road to recovery and how often he changes or goes off his meds and experiences these terrible lows.
I have a rare pain disorder that is difficult to treat with medication, so I end up cycling through all kinds of crazy drugs, some of which are anti-depressants meant to change my brain chemistry and the way it perceives pain, to see what works and what doesn’t. I can tell you that these medication changes can cause all kinds of bizarre side effects and emotions-gone-awry. Developing a vocabulary with my husband to talk about what’s happening with my body and my medication was extremely difficult, because I hate being vulnerable and weak like that. But if you guys can do it – and it seems like he’s being open and inviting conversations about his health – you can have an awesome relationship between equals who understand each others’ needs very well.August 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm #35898
Yikes. My advice is to not talk to him about it, but be receptive if he wants to bring it up. Obviously you can’t be this guys therapist, but don’t fully shut the guy out for being vulnerable. For me, telling someone was the incentive I needed to stop doing it. Once I decided I wasn’t going to do it again, I didn’t. But to be honest it’s something that crosses my mind every couple of months or so when things go downhill. And I haven’t done it in 9 years. A lot of my friends that were cutters stopped on their own as well. I think part of it had to do with not knowing how to handle stress or other intense emotions. Once we got older, we found more constructive ways of coping with things. I wouldn’t say this is a deal breaker for now, but I would be aware that it could be in the future.August 7, 2012 at 9:27 am #35918
I used to cut and sometimes, though rarely, I still do. I did it in areas where no one would notices like in my hip or arms but only when it was cold out. From my experience I never ever wanted to talk about it. If anyone saw it I would be deeply upset that they saw my innermost turmoil. Idk if this helps but I never reached out to normal people only people who were cutters like me. You can’t understand what goes on inside us to make us want to do it. If he wants to talk about it he will but don’t pressure him to talk.
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