Scars, skirts and sun
Word on the grapevine is it’s the last day of mental health awareness week today. As you all know I’m very vocal about the subject but I’ve been so busy the last few months I’ve let all the awareness weeks and blog posts pass me by. However there is an area of mental health that’s been on my mind more than normal recently.
In the past few months I’ve lost a lot of weight and the weathers got warmer, it’s put me in some new situations. Like the gym changing rooms, going to work in shorter sleeves tops, being happier in my appearance to wear shorter dresses or skirts, preparing my holiday wardrobe. I’ve been more and more aware of the scars my mental health battles have left me with. I’ve been disheartened that no matter what I do my skin will look like this. I’ve been paranoid that despite loosing weight I’ll never feel beautiful because of the mess I created on my own body. I’ve felt I will always be bored because I won’t be able to do the career I want to do due to my appearance.
I’ve never been one to be embarrassed of my scars, I’ve always shown them and refused to cover them up just for day to day life so this has been a new battle for me. I’ve been lucky, I’ve never faced negative comments or patronising actions as a result like so many people have, but it doesn’t stop my mind turning over the different view points and wondering what to people think of me in the street when they see it. So I’ve had to start a new journey of acceptance, like so many people do. I have recovered from self harm, from what is an addiction and I have learned to be proud of that. My battle with it started when I was 12 and didn’t stop becoming a regular occurrence until I was 24. Even now I remember the first time I found it and wish I could go back in time and warn myself what an issue it became, I wish I could go back and tell myself to stop, to ask for help and that it does get better. Because it does get better.
But it only gets better if we all play our part. It only gets better if we care about each other.
It only gets better if we act as a community, a support system.
It only gets better if we meet the needs we see.
It only gets better when we stop judging and love instead.
It only gets better if we make it better.
Self harm is not an uncommon symptom of mental health conditions yet it seems to be talked about as a teenage girl issue.
But did you know?
– 1 in 10 people self harm
– self harm does not only refer to cutting, it refers to anything done deliberately to harm yourself such as burning, hair pulling, overdosing, drinking and picking skin
– there are multiple reasons for self harm not everyone feels the same or gets the same out of it
– people who self harm are 50x more likely to attempt suicide
– self harm can cause scarring, numbness and even paralysis
– self harm is known to be addictive
Do you have scares? Did you know?
-there is a charity called changing faces, you can refer yourself or your doctor can refer you, they will provide you with a consultation and give you a high coverage foundation not available to buy on prescription to cover your scares.
-if your worried about the summer showing off your scares, having a tan makes scar tissue more obvious as the scars will stay the same colour
-if you want to cover up scars with tattoos some tattoo shops will discount cover ups for self harm, if you feel confident enough to explain the situation
-don’t feel the need to cover up, 1 in 10 self harm and I’ve had a lot of people come up to me that I don’t know and thank me for being real enough to show them
-you don’t have to tell anyone how you got your scares, most people will know without asking and are only asking to open up the conversation either for unhelpful or helpful reasons. One of my favourite responses is ‘I was attached by a shark’ in a serious setting where it’s in appropriate to answer with the truth I go with ‘I got hurt a long time ago’ because it’s not a lie but not upfront about it.
Do you know someone who self-harms? Did you know?
– telling someone to stop can be dangerous. You aren’t a professional and don’t know the reasons why, putting pressure on to stop may lead to the person doing even more damage to themselves.
-removing all the sharp items will not necessarily stop a person self harming but may make them use whatever they can find, which is often more dangerous.
-most crisis lines will talk to concerned friends/family/carers and offer advice to you not only the person in crisis.
-your GP has seen it all before, don’t be scared to ask for help
-asking about self harm will not make someone do it if they don’t already, don’t be scared of having the conversation.