Aside from running an Etsy store, tutoring high school students, and pouring my heart out on this website, I also work in a bakery. Which requires me to wear short sleeves.
I have scars. They are battle scars. Some people don’t like to call them such, but I’m fighting a hard fucking battle, it’s given me scars, so thus, they are battle scars. And yes, even though I did this to myself, I am ashamed of them.
I am ashamed of them, but not ashamed because of them. I’m ashamed of the stares, glares and glances. The whispers, murmurs and mutters. I’m ashamed of a society that prefers to gossip about mental illness, than sensitively ask questions.
I would rather be asked “are you okay?”, than stared at. I would rather respond “not really”, than feel guilt and anxiety over the only coping mechanism that really works for me. I would rather people talk about my scars openly, and in front of me, than behind my back and closed doors and whispers and vicious murmurs. Sometimes I selfishly hope that people will ask me about them. I don’t self harm for attention – not at all. It’s for punishment, and pain I deserve mostly, and an emotional release. But still, there’s that little mutter (the BPD mutter) in the back of my mind that says ‘if they see them they’ll think you’re brave, and strong, and worthy’. Which is just another lie my illness feeds me. Because I don’t feel brave, or strong, or any semblance of self worth at all. I feel shame.
I am so ashamed of my scars that I refuse to wear shorts around my family. Which I guess is a little strange, considering that actually produces more anxiety than wearing a bikini to the beach (despite the eating disorder and body image issues – which I think is because the beach is my happy place).
The first time I went to the ER for self-harm it was actually an accident. I had intended to cut, but nowhere near as deeply as I did, and certainly not to the extent I would need stitches, antibiotics, and have to deal with a hard-core scar. The doctors and psychiatrist who saw me were fine with it. Not fine; it was self-inflicted, and I was distressed, yet they were politely concerned and professional. But I could hear the nurses gossiping through the thin partitions, and simply didn’t have the energy to snap a retort. It hurt me though, it hurt me that I was seeking help and being punished for it. I punish myself enough already.
I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of my scars, but I’m pretty fucking ashamed at the way society treats me because of them.