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Why I Would Never Remove My Self-Harm Scars

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I am attached to my scars, like a creation of my mind or an expression of my past.

Most people are shocked when they find out how young I was when I first started self-harming. I was 10. I started after learning that some people did it to feel better about themselves when they were sad, how the older kids coped with their problems. I was a troubled child and it didn’t help me when I was young.

I rediscovered self-harm three years later, only to find myself unable to live without the cravings. I was addicted — it became a release, a sense of control and a sense of identity.

I wouldn’t know that eight years after becoming addicted to self-harm and using that to give myself a feeling of identity that I would be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). I still feel a massive disconnect with my identity, which is why until recently I still used self-harm as a way of expressing things inside of me that I cannot articulate to even the most eager ears.

Someone once asked me if I could stop myself, would I? Of course. I would love to endow myself with the ability to cope in different and more appropriate ways — I’m trying my hardest.

The same person asked me if I could remove my scars, would I do it?

The answer is no. I walk in shame of my bear skin, until the day I’m set free of the judgment and stigma that surrounds the all too obvious expression of my pain, but I shouldn’t. Removing my scars would be like removing the painful progress that I made up until this point. It removes my opportunity to destigmatize mental illness. It devoids my opportunity to help people who think that’s a path they want to take, to discourage them.

I am in no way proud of my scars, but they’re a part of me, just like a birthmark or a tattoo. They’re part of my journey — a reminder of where I’ve been and how strong I am.

I try my best to no longer walk in shame, but the wandering eyes of the public who live in fear of someone who engages in this kind of activity is damaging.

Your eyes won’t make them disappear, just like the freckles on my cheeks or the cellulite on my thighs. I am made up of all different marks and creases and I am proud of my progress, no matter what people think, and you should be too.

No matter where you are in your journey, you’re doing great and I’m proud of you.

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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Unsplash photo via Rocksana Rocksana

Originally published: November 14, 2017
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