Summer and Self-Harm

With the limited amount of accurate information you can find on self-harm, most of it relating to summer is full of "Your scars are part of you. Go out in the sun and relax and lay on the beach and don't let your illness get in the way of your life!" While, yes, your scars are part of you, that doesn't make it any less sucky to go out, vulnerable into a world that doesn't often understand. There will be days when you feel bold, confident and comfortable not covering your scars. That is wonderful. And there will be days when you feel small, weak, and ashamed for your scars, unable to go out into the world without covering up and protecting yourself. That is okay, too. 

For the last several years I have spent summers covered up. It's not pleasant, puts me in a horrible mood, and often provokes unwanted questions and attention. People have asked me in the past "If it bothers you having the scars, why cut in the first place?" or "Why did you cut there? You knew someone would see it". Le sigh. 

When you self-harm you are not thinking about the long-term consequences. Self-harm is about coping in that moment and for many it becomes a way of surviving. When you are struggling to cope with even being alive, your priority is to get through the pain that you are feeling. Long term consequences, like swimsuits and summertime don't really enter the equation. 

Scars aren't easy to cope with. It can be hard for you to cope with seeing them yourself, and even harder to cope with other people seeing them. My heart drops each time a new nurse reviews my information, grabs my arm for a blood test, and tells me I'm "far too pretty to hurt myself."

My goal if you for challenge the fear if you want to. You don't have to uncover your scars, but you also shouldn't feel like you have to hide them if you don't want to. 

Fading Scars

  • You can run vaseline onto scars twice a day to help them fade. It’s recommended by some doctors and nurses for minor surgery scars.
  • When your wounds from cutting are healed, make peeling using anything grainy (like corn grits) and olive oil, it will remove dead cells. After that take little bit of honey, add few drops of lemon and put it on scar, honey will regenerate skin and lemon will make it lighter. Don’t forget to rinse it after 5-10 min. Do this two or three times a week.
  • Sugar scrubs can help rid the skin of dead cells and fade scars. Here’s a page on how to make your own, or you can buy them at places like Lush or Bath And Body Works.
  • Bio oil fades scars.
  • Vitamin E is used by surgeons to help fade surgery scars. To get vitamin E, buy capsules, poke a hole in the tablets with a needle, and spread the vitamin E on the scars. Vitamin E oil is also available at most general stores.
  • There are creams made specifically to fade scars, available at most drugstores or general stores such as Target and Walmart.
  • Lotions and body washes with coco and shea help to fade scars.

Covering

  • You can cover scars on the limbs with long sleeves or pants, or legwarmers/armwarmers.
  • You can purchase heavy duty/waterproof concealer here, here, here, and other places.
  • Cardigans are awesome because they’re light enough to keep you cool and summery enough to go unnoticed even in warm weather, but can cover injuries great. Get a light, thin one to avoid suspicion.
  • Tights are your best friend. Seriously. They’re light enough that you won’t overheat and it’s likely nobody will question them, and if you get them opaque enough, they’ll cover them pretty well. Wear them under shorts for a stylish (and convenient) look, or with dresses. You can pull them to be more dense where the injuries are (for example, pull them up if they’re on your upper legs).
  • Of course, bracelets are always an option if your injuries are focused on the wrist and lower arm area. Put something thick on first, like a headband wrapped around your arm, so the bracelets will stay in place and if they slip, nobody will see. Then, stack bracelets and wrist bands. This method works, but might arouse some suspicion, so watch out.
  • Sweatbands work like bracelets: they’re fairly thick and can cover a decent sized area. They also work well in gym settings and are usually a better option for guys than bracelets are.
  • People forget that knee-length shorts are a thing. Seriously, you don’t have to wear booty shorts in order to wear shorts. 
  • When swimming, you can wear board shorts/swim trunks to cover scars on thighs. Swim skirts would also work.

What To Say When Someone Sees

•    I had an accident when I was very little. I don’t like to talk about it.
•    It’s a skin discoloration (for scars that aren’t raised or pink/purple)
•    I’ve had that forever. I honestly can’t remember.
•    Biking accident.
•    Please don’t ask.

•    I forgot the stove was on. (As you can see, I am obviously a skilled chef).
•    I fell off the swings (bruises).
•    My curling/straightening iron is a killer.
•    Please don’t ask.

•    Cat scratched me.
•    Freaking bushes. 
•    I am not good at cutting vegetables.
•    Biking accident.
•    I have NO clue. It just kinda turned up.
•    Please don’t ask.

•    Werewolf attack, the usual.
•    Voldemort marked me. I am the chosen one.
•    What are you talking about? There’s nothing there. Move along with your day, now.
•    *Gasp* you can see it, too?
•    The Hunger Games were really intense this year.

Moral of the story? Be comfortable. Protect yourself - whatever that entails. Show your scars or don't. The choice and power is yours.