When I See You Looking at My Self-Harm Scars


Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Don’t think I don’t notice. I see your eyes trained on my forearms before even hearing a “hello” from you. You may say I subject myself to that by wearing short-sleeve shirts, but I refuse to be confined to a world of shame and long sleeves, especially with summer coming up.

My scars give strangers an insight into my life and are something I wish I could keep private. Why do you, random stranger at my job or school, get to see the remnants of that tumultuous time of my life, and judge me based upon it?

I’m sick of it being the first thing you notice about me. Not my friendly attitude, my caring side, or even my funny side? Instead, I’m pigeon-holed into the category of a “crazy” and “messed up” person.

I’m in no way shaming anyone with self-harm scars; I can completely relate to your struggle. Though I’d love to get surgery or tattoos to repair my forearms — my battleground — it is extremely expensive. So I live on, doing my best every day to not let your judging and pitiful eyes bring me down. My scars are healing (slowly) and so am I.

So next time you see someone with self-harm scars, don’t shame them. Don’t jump to conclusions. That person is a warrior. That person is fighting a battle inside that manifests itself on the outside.

That person is me.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

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 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash


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