08 Feb What are the signals that someone is cutting?
Self-harm can be difficult to detect. People who cut can seem perfectly okay on the outside when really they have a storm raging inside. And just as they are afraid to deal with the emotions, they are also likely to be afraid to admit to cutting. As such, they will often go to great lengths to hide it.
Here are a few warning signs that may signal that someone you know may be cutting:
• Frequent “accidents” – does your friend seem to have a lot more accidents than other people? Does she tell you how clumsy she is to explain the cuts and bruises?
• Unexplained wounds – does your friend have cuts, bruises or burns that she can’t explain? The most common places for cutting are the wrists, arms, thighs and chest.
• Sharp objects – does your friend carry sharp objects? A razor, knife, needle, broken glass?
• Long sleeves and long pants even when the weather is warm – does your friend always wear long sleeves even when its 93 degrees out? He may be covering up scars.
• Blood on clothing – does your friend have blood stains on his clothing? Often found on collars and sleeve ends.
• Wants to be alone often – does your friend make frequent trips to her bedroom or bathroom and spend a long time there?
As always, if you have a friend who seems more distant or irritable than usual, don’t be afraid to reach out. This does not mean that he is cutting but distance and a foul mood are signs that something is troubling a person. Most likely knowing he has a friend to help will be a source of support.
Remember: cutting, and all self-harm, is a coping mechanism, a way to “deal.” The habit was developed to help a person deal with intense emotions. If you know someone who cuts, try to view the situation with empathy and remind yourself that making him or her feel badly about cutting will likely only add to the situation. Cutting is never an optimal solution for your friend or for you. Other solutions to problems exist!
Have you noticed signs of cutting with someone? What were/are they?