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Why My Self-Harm Scars Aren't Beautiful

I think we’ve all seen the posts and heard the phrases about self-harm scars from the dark moments in someones life being beautiful.

But I don’t think they are.

Those scars, on me, are from a time in my life — yesterday, today, whenever — where I felt so uncontrollably broken that I thought I had no choice but to inflict pain on myself.

Those were the days I rifled through my family’s things to find something to use. The days I cried behind a locked door so no one could hear my gut wrenching moans of mental pain. Those were the days I made the choice to limit my fashion until I could pass them off as “old ones” and avoid questions that came from a place of care.

I cringe when people say things like, “you’re scars make you beautiful,” or, “those make you who you are today.”

I’m not saying this to shame anyone who has scars. I have scars too — but they do not make me beautiful and they do make me who I am now.

I am beautiful with my scars, not because of them. I would also be beautiful without them.

They did not make me who I am today. In terms of the accomplishments I’ve made with my mental illness, I am who I am today because of the work I’ve put in and the things I’ve learned. I could still have done that if I had no scars.

I promise, I am not saying this to shame scars. Because, yes, goddammit you are beautiful. But you’re more than that and you don’t need to base your worth off of the healing skin on your body.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of stories that include seeing someone else who has scars that have healed and suddenly feeling some type of kinship with them. The “You too? Me too,” mentality is dangerous.

I am more than my scars. I do not need to feel ashamed about the scars I have. I do need to realize that these scars were not from a place of forming bonds, rather from a place of deep pain.

I’m sorry you went through that pain too, and I would rather connect with you by hearing about the life you’ve had outside of that pain. I will not sit by and let people unknowingly (or knowingly) glamorize depression and self-harm scars as something beautifully tragic and nostalgic.

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.

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Getty image via iodrakon

Originally published: December 12, 2017
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