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Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 8th 2017, 12:30 AM

So, I have been cutting since I was 12 or 13. I have technically self harmed longer but it was other stuff. Anyway, my self harm didn't get really bad until I was 17 and I was cutting numerous times at night (it started in the winter). At 17 it got to the point where my scars were too visible. In the past I would cut and after the cut healed the scar wasn't super obvious and even if it was obvious it wasn't outright obvious that it was self harm. It was at 17 so I have been hiding my scars since I was 17 (10 years).

For years I have been wanting to go without the armwarmers and in 2015, just before I stopped seeing her, my therapist and I were talking about working on getting me to a point where I do not cover them. I wasn't ready then but in 2016 I went out into public without my armwarmers 3-4 times. It is not a lot but it was a step in the right direction.

This year, I got to a point where I was able to go out in public without covering them and now I am at a point where I don't cover them much at all.

However, I have difficulty not covering my arms around people I am acquainted with. I went to my book club at the end of august and wanted to go without them but I chickened out. I went out with friend's last thursday and wanted to go without but chickened out again. I am going out with friend's tonight (I am pretty sure it's just going to be my best friend and I). The friend I am going out with tonight knows about my self harm so I think testing out not wearing them with just him might help. But, the place we are going to is a place we frequent so I am worried about some of the staff and the regular customers.

I know this probably sounds odd...you'd think I would be more comfortable showing them around friends and people I know ... but for me I think it's difficult because I would be mortified and crushed if one of these people said something insensitive, rude or down right awful. I don't think they would. I even think that it is likely that most of them already kind of suspect that I have self harm scars but it scars me.

I am curious if anyone else has had similar issues and how they got over it. I am tired of covering my scars. I am tired of being ashamed and I am so glad I made this progress this year and now I really want to be able to do it around friends and acquaintances. I suppose if you don't have experience with this in particular...how have you handled someone you care about saying something insensitive ... maybe not on purpose but simply because they don't understand?

Like, I don't think my friends would do that but how should I proceed if they do? If it is just my friend C tonight I think he'll actually be really proud of me for taking this step but if there are others around it will be awkward at first.

Thanks in advance.


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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 8th 2017, 01:13 PM

It's awesome that this year you've been going out in public without covering your scars. That's a good way to kind of slowly work up towards showing them in front of people you know better. Did you end up showing them last night when you went out? If it helps, you could bring arm warmers or a light jacket and keep it around you so that if you start feeling anxious you can cover them back up again. Even if you do not cover them back up again having those objects could serve as a safety net.

After someone found out about myself harm a few years ago I didn't work as hard to cover them. I wore a tank top and one person did not say anything but the other said it looked like I wanted everyone to see because they were showing. I was younger then so I didn't bother explaining but I felt hurt. Now I cover them around people I know. When it comes to people who don't understand perhaps you could explain things from your perspective, depending on what they say. You could even give resources if you wanted to. If someone who doesn't understand says something explaining could strengthen your friendship. Even if someone is insensitive, perhaps it is because they don't understand and don't know what to say. If someone is insensitive, however, remember that you don't owe them anything.

Remember that if things are awkward for a little bit that feeling likely will be over soon. Hopefully someone with more advice will reply to this thread but in the meantime, best of luck with showing your scars.


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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 9th 2017, 09:12 AM

I'm a lot like you when it comes to showing my scars. I don't mind with strangers but around people I know it's basicly impossible.
I think it's because a strangers judgment wouldn't bother us, since we don't know them, but if a person close would judge you for it, that would be painful. So it's easier among strangers since their reaction doesn't matter and maybe also because we don't have to fear that they might tell others about it.

If you have someone who knows about your SH I would definitely start with them. They will most likely not comment on it and if they do I guess not in a negativ way. So they are best to start with and if you decide to show them around people who don't know, maybe you could do it with a friend who already knows so they can give you some extra support and help explain and defind you if you were to get a negativ reaction.

I've already given up trying but I wish you the best and hope you can do it!


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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 9th 2017, 05:55 PM

I did end up going out without the armwarmers. It was super awkward and I do think my friend was kind of surprised to see how extensive my self harm was and he was surprised to see me without armwarmers. However, he did not say anything and things were relatively normal. The staff and other patrons at the restaurant didn't make any comments either but the lighting is kind of 'dark' (it's a bar so that isn't uncommon) so it's possible that not everyone could see.

If my friend's end up going out next Thursday (September is a very busy month for a lot of them) I might go without my arm warmers and test it out on my other group of friends. I might end up chickening out but I also might do what Cassie suggested and bring my arm warmers with me so that if it becomes absolutely unbearable I can cover them again.

I am hoping for the best with this experience because then maybe in the future I can try to go without to my book club or something.

I am proud of myself for taking this step and I hope that a few years from now covering my scars will be a thing of the past AND it won't make me so uncomfortable to do so.


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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 10th 2017, 11:06 AM

I have seen friends who don't mind having their scars shown anymore. They don't cover up as much as they do after getting through the stage where they feel that these scars also represent a rather difficult time which they have once went through and they should not be ashamed about them since they have overcome it.
   
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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 10th 2017, 08:00 PM

It is awesome that you ended up going without your arm warmers the other night. That took a lot of course and I hope you're proud of yourself for doing that.

Best of luck with showing your scars in the future.


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Re: Do you have a hard time showing your scars? - September 21st 2017, 11:25 AM

I used to hide them all the time, until I would go swimming and then my scars would show. When I was 18 19 I was a diver and was in a bathing suit a lot of the time. SO at one point I was so deep into my cutting but still wanted to dive, so I would hide it until it was time to dive then I would say fuck it and not hide them, and these were fresh cuts. But I do hide fresh cuts still as soon as they become scars or are almost healed I stop hiding them. I have scars all over my upper arms and they are really visable and I don't hide them.



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