Showing Your Self Harm Scars

  1. Tell a close friend or family member and ask them to go with you.
  2. Realize that you’re in control. Bring along a sweater that you can put on if you start to feel anxious, or wear long sleeves pushed up that you can roll down when you feel uncomfortable.
  3. Try showing them around strangers first. You don’t know these people, you don’t have to talk to them, they’re not going to notice your scars, and if for some reason they do? They have no reason to comment on it. And, besides, you’ll probably never see them again.
  4. Visualize showing your scars and having it go well… if you tell your brain that it is going to be ok? Chances are it will start to believe that. And believing that you’re going to be okay is going to increase your chances of actually being okay when you’re in that situation (:
  5. Think of a few replys you can use in response to any possible questions you might get. If you are worried about someone asking about  your scars (which again, chances are most people won’t) it helps to feel prepared by keep in mind a simple answer or two. And remember that you DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER. This is your body, you’re in change, and you don’t have to share anything that you don’t want to. A simple, “I’d rather not talk about it” and then changing the subject is fine. Something I plan to use if anyone ever asks me what happened is, “I got in a fight with myself” and leave it at that. To me that feels comfortable. So find something that will work for you, it can be witty, serious, sarcastic, or maybe your answer is to NOT answer. It’s whatever works for you!
  6. Before hanging out with groups of your friends it might be helpful to (in a calm, one on one, neutral setting where you are comfortable) explain about your self harm to a few close friends first, so that they’re not surprised when they see them and can be there to help support you when showing them around others.
  7. Consider hiding or drawing attention away from them. Bracelets, bandages, makeup, jewelry, creative clothing choices, haha whatever it is, might not completely hide your scars but they can make them less noticeable. Do you plan on swimming but have scars you can’t cover up? Draw a stick figure on a different body part. Sure the scars are still there but theres something else for others to look at. Paint your nails! Get a tattoo! Wear an outfit that you feel good in! I don’t know! Just do whatever you feel will make it easier for you (:
  8. Accept your scars. Yes they’re there. No they’re probably not the most attractive things ever (although I know some people like them). But they show that you have gone through something difficult and made it. You haven’t given up and you’re still trying. You should be proud of that.
  9. Think of something you enjoy doing, that requires showing your scars, and start looking forward to it! Make plans and think about how much fun it will be and all of the things you’re going to do. Look at the big picture. Your scars are just a small part of that day and don’t need to interfere with the rest.
  10. Go try it! Take a chance and go somewhere, for a few minutes or a full day and then tell me how it went! (Here’s how my first day of showing scars went) You can feel good about yourself for overcoming such a big hurdle (:

What has helped you to brave the public eye? Why do you want to be able to show them? Or why do you not?

A Trip to the Therapist

medium_9992907753I just got back from my weekly therapy session and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Usually, if I had enough energy, I would write about it in my journal and hope to make some sense of everything we talked about. But, today, I thought I would share my thoughts here instead, in case anyone else can relate. So here are some not-very-well-organized musings of my time at the psychologists.

As I said in my last post the past few weeks have been really tough for me, harder than they have been in a long time. Even so, I don’t always realize how bad things are until I hear myself describing it to my therapist and listen to her responses and questions. That’s where I got a little scared today. Usually I come out of my session with a motivational jump start… enough to keep me going and out of a major mood drop for a few days. This time though, I heard the words “major depressive episode” and “severe depression” several times. My therapist seemed concerned about me this time, making sure I wasn’t going to be by myself and trying to come up with some more intense outside resources that might help to get me feeling better.

She said that when depression gets to the point where it is affecting every part of your life, (sleep, relationships, eating, motivation, work, school ect) that it’s important to decide how long you’re going to wait before taking more drastic measures to lift you out of it. She mentioned other forms of therapy, even daily ones, and medications (which really scare me because of bad past experiences), family therapy, and a few other options that I could consider.

We talked about my cutting and how it has gotten substantially worse over the last couple weeks. She told me that I needed to make sure I was extra careful if I cut while having any suicidal thoughts. Speaking of which… those have been pretty bad lately too. Not to the point of having a plan and trying to get the resources to do it but definitely thoughts that everything and everyone would be better off without me and I wish I had never existed. Honestly, if it didn’t take so much effort and I could do it without hurting the people I love, even more than I am already? I quite possibly would have done it already. Knowing how it would destroy my family and friends, though, has kept me from acting on it so far.

I was told to make sure that if it does gets to the point where I feel unsafe and think I might go through with it to tell someone, my parents, boyfriend, best friend, or to call her. I am not living by myself anymore because of my issues which is good I guess as far as this goes. It keeps me a little safer. She told me that if I ever feel like going through with it that I have options, texting a friend, calling a suicide hotline, or checking myself into a hospital and getting assessed, and to remember that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.

At one point in our conversation she mentioned that if I remained in this severe of a depressive phase that a “live-in” option of some sort might be something to think about. She only mentioned this briefly but it has me really freaked out.  What does that even mean? That I get sent somewhere to live with super strict rules that I’d have to obey? I don’t know but it’s unnerving to think that it could get to a point where I would need that.

Overall this session was much more serious than usual and left me with a lot to think about. I am supposed to see how this week goes and if I’m not feeling better and decide I want to, I’ll sign a release form and she is going to contact a medical doctor that specializes in mental illness and I’m going to set up an appointment to go see her and explore ideas as to what I need to do to keep going in life. Because right now I am stuck.

Thank you so much for reading… just knowing that someone is reading and cares about what I have to say has helped me so much in the passed few days. I have a small purpose now and it feels good (:

photo credit: Neighborhood Nini via photopin cc