My self-harm scars are something, which I have a love/hate relationship with. At times I love them, they remind me of my journey, the strength it has taken to stop self-harming and to deal with the reasons why I would harm, they represent my story and have become part of me. Other times I hate them, I hate the very fact that I have destroyed my body, marked it for life, and created something for people to look at, for people to associate with mental illness and stereotypes. My scars are without a doubt a part of me.
I have never been the kind of person who has easily gotten into a routine of using creams and moisturizes and while I have used many different creams and oils to help with the appearance of my scars I have never used them for much longer than a few weeks. Why? Well besides forgetting and not bothering it is has always been something I wasn’t sure I want to do, it has very much been something which I wasn’t sure I could do, could I erase such a huge part of my life? Well as it turns out I haven’t needed to use any creams, oils, moisturizes or whatever else you might find to help reduce the appearance of scars as with time they have begun to fade away. They are in no way almost gone, they are still quite obvious but the comparisons from today with how they looked a year ago is something quiet significant.
My feelings about my scars fading away are somewhat mixed. While my scars do not define me I feel as if they define my story, provide proof in a way of what I really experienced. Without them did I still suffer? Yes, but without them is it clear to other people I suffered? Do I want people to know that I have suffered? Will people know I went on a journey? That I came out the other side? Without these scars how will people know that I am living proof that things can get better? Without these scars am I still Siobhán? While they don’t define me they are part of me and I feel as if my scars are fading away so too is a part of me.
It is hard for me to understand my thought process around this issue, do I want my scars gone or do I want them to stay? Do I want people to know I used to self-harm? Does it make me feel like I am part of a group? I don’t know, to be honest I really don’t understand it at all. It somehow feels that my scars represent that I am a survivor and without those scars am I still a survivor? I know the answer is yes, I know that just because there is no physical evidence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen but part of me needs that physical evidence, its almost as if I am clinging onto it, scared to let go, scared to let self-harm complete loose any hold it may still have over me.
I have come a long way over the past 4-5 years since the peek of my mental illness and while I still live with my mental illness everyday I feel as if I am in control but with my scars, somehow my scars still have some control over me, somehow self-harm still has the control I have being trying to take back. Don’t get me wrong, I have control over my self-harm, it no longer controls me in the sense that I must do it in order to function, it has actually almost been a full year since I have engaged in any self-harming behaviour but somehow the fact that my body is still covered in self –harm scars it is almost as if it still has some control over me.
I’m scared to read back over this post to see if it makes sense because there is a good chance that it doesn’t!
Part of me wishes that I no longer had scars, that they would continue to fade away so I could regain full control over self-harm, so that I can say goodbye to it once and for all but I know that may not happen. I know that self-harm may always be a factor in my life, it might not be and while I’m positive it wont be I am aware that even now, it still does enter my mind, it still does creep back into my head when I’m at my lowest and I still battle with urges, not often but I do. I’m realistic that there is a possibility I could go 5 years without self-harm and without urges and then suddenly something distrusts my world and I will find myself contemplating making that cut, I know that may happen but I feel that if all my scars faded away I could finally put it fully in the past, will that ever happen? I’m not sure.
Part of me wants my scars to stay and sometimes when I notice they are fading away I panic and I inevitably find myself contemplating adding a new scar, just to keep them there, so they never completely disappear. Why? Its hard to image my body scar free, its hard to imagine that one day I may have very few scars and without these scars will my journey and story have the same merit, will it still have as much meaning? Of course it will but I feel as if I need these scars to prove I have had these experiences that I have come out the other side. Its almost as if my scars fading away is like a piece of me fading away and I’m not so sure I want that piece of me to fade away.
I’m totally lost as to where I stand on this situation, I want them gone and I don’t want them gone, I’m scared that if they do go I will self-harm to get them back and I’m scared that if they don’t go they will define me and control me. It’s hard because at the end of the day they do have a significant meaning and they represent both positive and negative parts of me. How do I let something, which has such positive aspects fade away? Is it possible to let self-harm leave me altogether?
P.S I didn’t reread this post, I was feeling rather confused after writing it and I’m sure there are plenty of contradictions in the post! Sometimes I wish it was a simple as me writing that I hate my scars and want them gone rather than having such a complicated relationship with them.