Why Summertime Is Hard for Me as Someone With Self-Harm Scars

It happens every year. During the winter, long sleeves and long pants hide the scars that tell a story of a darker time in my life. I don’t even think about my scars. Out of sight, out of mind. No questions from others, no explanations needed. It’s like they don’t exist.

But every summer, I am faced once again with the reality that since I was fourteen years old, I have struggled off and on with self-harm.

When the short sleeves come out, I can see the scars on my arms. When I put on the first dress of the warm season, I see the scarred lines across my leg. In the summer, I can’t hide away my past the way I can in the wintertime. It’s right there, for everyone to see.

Most people don’t even notice my scars. They’re subtle, and only noticeable when you’re looking for them. And even if someone were to ask, I have a million plausible excuses for why they are there. The issue with the visibility of my scars isn’t in the reactions of other people — the issue is myself.

When I am faced with my scars every single day, I have to contend with extra baggage and feelings. I have to contend with the shame that comes from that part of my life. I have to contend with the judgment I inflict on myself. I have to contend with the reality that my body will be marked with the story of my past for years to come.

It’s daunting. But my scars tell another story as well. My scars tell the story of how I fought and won. I didn’t win every battle every time, but I am in a place now where I am stronger than ever. I am more equipped now to face negative thoughts and feelings and come out victorious. My scars tell the story of how I am growing and learning every day and becoming the best person I can be.

My scars are victory.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Jake Young.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Self-harm

sketch of woman's eye

What Do I Do if I Don't Care if I Live or Die?

Editor’s note: This post discusses self-harm and may be triggering to some. If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. I think my favorite (or rather, most frequent) form of [...]
Young woman standing on fallen leaves

Why I Lie About Self-Harm (and What I Need From You)

The cat did it. We have a new puppy. Playing hockey. I fell over. I was in a fight. I don’t know. Decorating. Burned it on the oven. Shark attack. A few of the many excuses myself and other have used to explain away injuries — injuries caused by ourselves. Some are perhaps plausible, others [...]
Child in hospital

To the Nurse Who Saved Me When I Was Self-Harming

To the nurse who saved me, I first met you when I was 18 years old. Scared and lonely, I was trapped in a vicious cycle of self-harm and self-hate. I was the youngest person on an adult psychiatric unit. I felt like a child lost in a swarm of older patients, nurses and doctors. [...]
Tattoo master protective gloves make a tattoo in black ink on the hand of the girl. Close-up.

How My Tattoos Help 'Heal' My Scars

Today is a loophole of sorts. It’s like I’m breaking, but I’m really not. It feels the same. But instead of ugly scars, I’m creating something beautiful I’ll proudly wear. Well, he is. We are. I’m in this chair, my right arm stretched to the side of me and I am happy. Content. Anxious (always). [...]