James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

Dr. James Hicks
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She said she'd come over right after work, but she still isn't here. You call her office and then her home, but no one answers. You're convinced she went out with her old boyfriend.

You light another cigarette. It was stupid of you to get involved with her. You knew this sort of thing would happen. Your head is pounding with anger, and you feel like it will lift right off your body. You lay your arm out on the table in front of you. Your other hand turns the lit cigarette around and brings it down at the end of a row of puckered little scars.

The searing from the cigarette nails you in place. Your eyes focus, and your head stops pounding. A wave of warmth courses up your arm and down to your legs. You breathe deeply and toss the cigarette out the window.

You walk over to the front door and double-lock it. When she shows up, let her knock until her hands are raw.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Self-Mutilation
  • Self-Mutilation Is Often a Sign of a Personality Disorder
  • Self-Mutilation Can Occur in Several Other Psychiatric Conditions
  • How to Cope with Self-Destructive Behaviors


This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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