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Scars: To hide or not to hide?


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Good news: It is almost summer!

Not-so-good news: As temperatures continue to rise here in the Golden State, I've been mourning the tank-tops and t-shirts that used to keep me cool. I've been sporting 3/4 length and long sleeves to cover scars.

I go back and forth. Some days I am happy to roast because I feel ashamed of my scars. However, there are other days in which I want to accept myself as I am, scars and all.

My roommate keeps telling me to stop caring about what other people will think. I would love to do that, but I am also aware that my scars are shocking and make other people feel very uncomfortable. People have actually told me that it looks like I got into a freak accident or have Kaposi's sarcoma (aren't people *so* kind?!).

Has anyone faced this dilemma? Is it wrong to do something that causes other people to feel uneasy? Will anyone take the chance to get to know me if I'm not in long sleeves?

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I have scars ranging from the time I was twelve until about three months ago on my hands and arms. I actually don't make an attempt to hide them, although the most recent one I certainly hid in the winter. Told everyone it was an accident if I was asked. But that with the other scars (some in freaking patterns) makes me a little self-conscious that someone will take note that these are actual SI scars. However, no one has ever said anything rude to me about them! I could see your reasoning to hide them because people are assholes.

I just don't hide mine because I guess they aren't totally obvious. If they were, I don't know what I would do. I probably wouldn't hide them because it freaking sucks to wear three-quarter length sleeves in 90 degree weather!

So I don't hide them. If it makes someone feel uneasy, that's their problem that they have to deal with. If it doesn't make you feel uneasy, then don't hide them.

You're more than just those scars. There are people out there who WILL look past that. And there are people who won't. But if you want to be yourself , then be you. . . in a tank top if you want! I don't think it's inappropriate for you to wear shorter sleeves just because you have scars.

I'm just going to say to do what makes YOU happy. If you aren't ready to wear short sleeves, then don't. If you really want to but the only thing holding you back is that it makes OTHER people uneasy, then try and let go of that because a LOT of things make people uneasy, they just have to deal with it on their own. You're not hurting anyone by revealing your scars.

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during the 10 years i was actively cutting i never, EVER wore short sleeves. which is hella suspicious living in the desert as i do. but now that they're all somewhat faded (although still fairly obvious - especially the ones on my upper arms), i have started wearing short sleeves. i get awkward questions sometimes, and it sucks, and i usually blurt out something about an accident "a long time ago"...but i also feel more free. and the 100+ degree heat is a lot more bearable.

what it comes down to is, you should do whatever is most comfortable for you. because if you want to hide them and don't, you'll be preoccupied all day trying to hide them when you can't, and no one wants to live like that.

take care!

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I used to hide my scars religiously. It took me a couple years after I stopped cutting every day to get to the point where I wanted to not have to hide any more. That was a few years ago. I still get strangers wanting to lay hands on me to save me (quite unsettling abd people seriously have tried to touch them, such an invasion of space), ignorant medical personnel freaking out when I unselfconsciously say the scars are from self injury, and lots of stares. Especially now that I live in a tropical climate and wear sleeveless things often. For me it was a good decision, I don't ever want to go back to feeling like I have to hide myself because I'm afraid of what others will think.

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Guest Vapourware

I think this is a pretty personal choice. I hid my scars for a bit until they faded enough that they weren't obvious, but it was uncomfortable when the temperature rose. I think if you are willing to wear short sleeves, then you'll have to tolerate stares from others, and questions about what happened. So, it depends on how ready you are to answer questions about your scars.

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I really think that this comes down to personal choice as everyone seems to suggest. Whilst I would encourage you not to make decisions based on what people will think, the one thing I would consider is do you have the coping strategies should awkward comments/conversations arise? Back when I used to cut my arms alot more than I do now I figured that I wasn't ashamed so I would wear short sleeves... but then when friends made comments and wanted more info I realised that for me it was better to suffer through the summer than face that. I wasn't making that decision for their benefit though, I was making it for mine.

I hope that helps and you manage not to melt!

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It really is a personal choice as everyone has already said but I think it also comes down to how you are feeling at the time too. I was doing really well mentally about a year and half ago and when I was in this mind set I was able to easily wear short sleeves and I didn't really ever get any bad comments, sometimes people stared but occasionally I had people ask me about (I worked in customer service) not in a rude way just in an interested way, one of the technicians at work even told me about his own experience with SI and gave me his number to call him if I ever felt down and another person was a father of a teenager and wanted to know if there was anything he could do to prevent his child from feeling as though they needed to do that to feel better. Although now I'm not in a good place anymore and can't bring myself to not wear long sleeves because I feel to overexposed.

In answer to your question it is not wrong to wear short sleeves because of other people, most probably won't even notice as most people don't make a habit of staring at other peoples arms and people will still talk you and want to get to know you regardless, and if they don't they're probably not a person you'd want to befriend anyway. :)

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Personal choice, eeyup. Lots of my oldest scars are still very noticeable, they keloided and stand out from my body in a way that new ones don't for some reason.

I used to hide them, and when my newest relapse cuts were still healing I covered them. But I have so many on my forearms, just used to it I guess.

Personally I rarely have people make comments. Those closest to me may do so, but I seem to take on an external 'blasé' attitude, not that it isn't worrying but I don't want them to worry. 'Just a bit of a relapse, mom, still working on my health.'

Sometimes strangers ask, and most try to be sensitive yet say something akward which is okay, I flat out say my scars are from a (former, always stress former no matter how recent my last relapse,) self injury problem. Younger teens and kids I get more vague, saying I had an accident, the older ones are smart of course but if I don't want to divulge details I change the subject.

People are never rude to my face, I have had nasty comments come back through the grapevine but they were always from judgemental asshats I don't give two shits about. They know nothing of what it is like to live with something so personal displayed for all the world to see, ignorance is bliss and all that.

Rarely a stranger will identify what my scars are and then proceed to make comments trying to... save or educate me in some way, talking like they know all about me and where I am at mentally, trying to reassure me, etc. I know they are trying to be nice but it is really patronising and akward, because they don't know me at all, so I tend to get annoyed and snark at them.

I do get more self conscious of them sometimes depending on mood, but I guess I have a whole lot of practice dealing with questions and comments. I keep my answers short, but I also have always been more of an 'open book' sort of personality and I like being able to educate or at least raise awareness (not everyone has to do this.) Sometimes, like situations with co-workers, a topic of discussion will travel into depression and MI and I will bring up my scars first, I have encountered a lot of people with friends or relatives with SH problems or old scars and they usually notice mine but have been uncertain if asking would be rude or not.

Edited by Miron
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I hid my visible ones with a big tattoo (thankfully they were all in one area, although that tattoo is quite large). I understand that that's a bit extreme for most people, though, and leads to needing to hide the tattoo in certain circles.

It is a really personal choice, I find. It depends on how accepting of them you are, yes, but it also depends on who is around you. Grandmothers don't take as kindly to them as 20-something indie rockers, for examples. It depends on climate (there isn't much a/c, here) and on your personal heat tolerance. You'll do what you have to, I'm sure. You've gotten this far :)

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I have scars on one arm and one leg. The arm scars are very mild and could pass as a particularly bad mauling from a cat, so I show them most of the time, and people have stared but I usually don't care. Sometimes I do care though and quickly cover them. I don't show the scars on my upper arm because they are obvious SI scars (in a pattern), I'm not brave enough to answer questions about them.

I will probably never show the scars on my leg. I'm too shamed and I really don't want to answer questions. Plus, none of my scars are faded, my body takes forever to fade scars. So, I would feel way too awkward and paranoid if I tried to wear shorts. The scars are also pretty shocking, so I'm sure people would stare. :( Maybe one day when the leg scars are loooong faded, I'll wear shorts.

I hope people would still take the chance to get to know me with arm scars, I never really thought about that.

ETA: I don't show my scars in any professional setting though.

Edited by Parapluie
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Thank you all for sharing your own experiences and for giving me some solid advice. I realize now that it really is a personal decision.

I have decided to cover the scars for the majority of this summer, in the hopes that they might become less bright and eye-catching in time. Maybe I'll start by wearing short sleeves when running errands or going to the gym. I am just not ready to talk to new people about them.

My friend wants to set me up with a guy she knows, and all I can think of is how disgusted he'll be with how I look. *sigh*

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Guest Vapourware

Apparently vitamin E can help with reducing scars, and there are some creams out there specifically for scar reduction. You might want to look into using those creams to quicken the healing process.

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Yes like vape said, I find the vitamin e capsules from the chemist which you crack open and rub the white stuff inside particularly good. Also bio oil is helpful in getting the colour to fade out a bit. Whatever you do, stay out of the sun, or wear high spf sunscreen, sun will make them stand out more.

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Yes, vitamin E is so good. I can find pure vitamin E oil at local drug stores.

Sometimes, mind you, colour can fade, but, well, like I said a lot of mine literally stand out from my body and have texture, the wider scars stand out the furthest. I tried some silicone strips to help flatten them but it didn't seem to do anything. Sometimes scars just don't fade. I don't mean to be demoralizing, but it is a possible reality.

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Thanks for the suggestions about scar treatments. I have a feeling that these ones aren't going to change, but I am going to try silicone sheets. Even if they don't do anything, I think it will make me feel better knowing I tried.

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Honestly, when I was in school when a girl had scars from cutting she was just seen as a person with "issues" or "depressed" or both.

However when a guy had scars from cutting he was just seen as a weirdo and an attention seeker. COZ with guys we are stereotyped to be tough and hard while girls are stereotyped as the emotional ones.

Edited by waypills666
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