Looking Back On Self-Harm: Cuts and Scars

A few years ago my psych nurse really pissed me off- to be fair most of the things that she did really pissed me off, but this one took me to a whole new level. She told me that I should stop self-harming because: “in years to come, how will you explain your scars to the men who you date? To your children?”

I wanted to punch her in the face.

Okay, maybe that was a little extreme but I was pretty pissed off at the time- and probably not in the best mental state- I’m not ashamed of my past, sometime I do wish that I had scars. I have dark stripes across my thighs and forearms that are unnoticeable 80% of the time, some people would say that I’m very lucky that I don’t have bad scarring. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to get away with it but I have.

I don’t know how I’d feel if my cuts had scarred; I’ll never know, but I don’t think that I’d be embarrassed by them or ashamed of them. There’s nothing wrong with what I did, I was in a bad place and I did the only thing that I could to make the pain bearable. If I had to live every day of the rest of my life with the evidence of that on my body I don’t think I’d be ashamed.

I’m not saying that it wouldn’t affect me or make me self-conscious; I have no idea what it would be like to live with self-harm scars and I can’t really comment on it.

However, I am very self conscious about my arms and legs, not because I think they look bad, but because I spent a good four years cutting myself in those places I feel really weird when I have them on show. I realised this the other day at work when I took my fleece off and walked around in shirt sleeves; I kept covering the areas of my forearms where I used to self-harm with my hands. It took me a while to realise that I was doing this- it also took me a while to realise that I don’t show off my thighs at all.

Over the years I’ve started to realise that if someone has an issue with the fact that I am/was a cutter then that’s their problem and they don’t deserve to be in my life. It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism that I did and still do my best to fight but at the end of the day it’s my body and my problem.

What made me angry about what my psych nurse said was that she was making assumptions about me, the kind of person that I am and the way that I view the world. She was also pointing out that what I was doing was ‘abnormal’ and would make others have a lower opinion of me.

That is the bit that makes me unbelievably angry. It would be hard to explain scars to someone that you love, but I would bloody well hope that they’d be with you because they loved you and would therefore not be bothered about a tiny physical feature but instead would feel compassion because of the pain and events that lead to it.

’til next time,

Wren x

 

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7 thoughts on “Looking Back On Self-Harm: Cuts and Scars

  1. I’ve scars on my arms, and legs…and some people have stayed with me because love me for me and aren’t bothered by my scars, and other people have not been able to move past my scars, and my past, even though I have. I definitely appreciate your post! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, I was a bit worried about posting- because I don’t have scars myself I wasn’t sure if I could really have an accurate or valid opinion on what I would or wouldn’t feel about them. I think SI has such stigma attached to it that people just don’t know how to deal with it, the easy option is to run away and ignore it.
      Wren x

  2. I think that psych nurse is in the wrong profession. I have more than one therapist and I still do this and they never tell me not to. We talk about it and why I do it and we work on it, but they never tell me not to do it or make any rude comments like that psych nurse you have or had. No one can understand why we do it unless they do it. Maybe if they ever had to live with the level of pain we live with, they would do it and understand why we do it. I don’t affect anyone but myself when I choose to do it. It’s better than a lot of other things we could be doing and involving a lot of other people. I do it. I feel better. Doesn’t hurt me or anyone else. Only WE can understand this. I wish you the best on your journey. I sure hope I can stop one of these days. I use the same places, my forearm is where I started, then switched to my thigh. My scars are very light and no one but me and my guy will ever see them. Well, maybe a doctor. I know it’s not a good thing to be doing, but that’s how I deal with things at the moment. I am in therapy and I hope I can stop one day, but the truth of the matter is, I’m just not ready yet. Good luck to you and remember no one is perfect. We all have setbacks and just have to get up the next day and try, try and try again. Take care. hope your day was a good one.
    Peace,
    Tammy:)

    • Thank you; as always your comments mean a lot. I think that mental health is a difficult profession to work in if you yourself haven’t experienced mental health issues, it’s just not something you can fully understand without going through because most of the time it doesn’t make any sense!
      Good luck with your journey, you’ll know when you’re ready to stop- it’s kind of like a slowly dawning realisation.
      Take care,
      Wren x

      • That’s why I stick with my therapists because some of them share some of their own experiences with different things that i struggle with, they’ve never mentioned anything about themselves self harming and maybe they haven’t, but I know they’ve had their share of struggles because they’ve shared some of them with me. I made an emergency kit box with different items in it and I’m supposed to try to use things in the box before I go straight to self harming. I find I use it more now that I’ve put it right where I can see it at all times. It’s like you say, I’ll stop when I’m ready and I’ll know when that time comes. Thank you for opening up about your own experience and sharing with the world. you’re an inspiration to me and many others, I’m sure. It’s amazing how our own dark experiences, when shared with others, truly educate and help others struggling as we once did. keep up the good work. You’ve been a help to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Take care.
        Peace,
        Tammy:)

      • Small steps are important ones; I’m really glad that you can identify what helps, that’s such an important thing. You’re more than welcome, thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to comment; I appreciate every one of them!
        Take care of yourself,
        Wren x

      • Even though I have the emergency kit box and know there are things in there to distract me, sometimes I still just have to do it, but the box is helping and lately the number of times per week has lessened, which is a huge step. I’ve gone from 6 or 7 days to 3 or 4. Still have a ways to go, but for the moment I am making progress, of course I’ve been pretty sick with this bronchitis and asthma, that’s probably helped to stop me because just the energy to get up and do it, just isn’t there. But, I don’t want to negate my progress because if I really wanted to do it, as you know, I would have dragged myself into the bathroom and done it anyway. I too so appreciate each and every comment you’ve made. You’ve taken the time to help me with something you’ve struggled with yourself. You’ve given me the hope that I can, too, one day stop. As you well know, it takes a lot of support and this isn’t something I can just talk to anyone about. I can’t write about it on my blog because my family reads my blog. A few times I’ve written about it in a round about way that I hope they don’t catch on to what I’m really talking about. That’s the good thing about writing in poetry form. I’ve also posted several songs about it, but my mom doesn’t listen to the songs because she’s not into my kind of music. LOL imagine that! I didn’t do it today. Yay! And the way I’m feeling is just the way I’m usually feeling when I get the urge to do it, but I didn’t. Thanks again for all of your support. It really helps to have people that have struggled with this offering support. I really don’t think this is something any of my therapists have ever done. have a great day, my friend.:)
        Peace,
        Tammy:)

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