Today is March 1st which for the last 18 years has also been Self Injury Awareness day. The scars in the photograph are mine. The ones that are always on show because they are my arms. There are more, on my legs, on my stomach.
Once upon a time I tried very hard to hide my scars, especially when I was still cutting myself. I wasn’t looking for attention, I didn’t want anyone to know. Now if someone asks about my scars I am generally honest and say I did them myself, that I didn’t always cope as well as I do now. The first time my daughter asked me what they were she was very small, I told her that I got them from fighting a tiger. She knows now that the tiger I fought was myself.
Self harm wasn’t about hurting myself, it was my way of making myself feel something, anything. It has always been entangled with my depression and mental health. If depression is like walking through treacle while you die inside then self harm was an actual feeling that I could hold onto. A pain that was physical instead of mental.
It is over a decade since I last cut myself but it is much more recent that I dismantled a razor blade. I didn’t use it, I hope that I never will again but It is one of those things that maybe I will always carry with me. It was my coping method for so very long that even now it is one of the first things that crosses my mind when Im struggling.
If you need help I highly recommend contacting http://www.lifesigns.org.uk.Lifesigns also have a huge amount of help and information for people who would like to understand more about self injury. They work to raise awareness about self-injury. Awareness leads to understanding and empathy, banishing judgment and fear, and reducing the number of people who feel alone and suffer in silence.
I am not ashamed, my scars are mine and while I often wish I didn’t have them I no longer hide them. It is part of who I am and a testament to the fact that I am still here fighting.
#SIAD1stMarch #selfinjury #selfharm