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,