Summer – You do not have to hide away

Hello wonderful people,

Summer is rapidly approaching us, with this brings warmer weather, long walks in nature, holidays and unforgettable memories. Summer is a favourable month for the majority of people as the sun is said to boost their mood; this isn’t the case for everybody.

This may seem exciting and will be an enjoyable time for most. Though, unfortunately, Summer also brings huge masses of anxiety for some of us. It brings judgement and tears, isolation and sadness. This is down to the fact that people can be extremely judgemental when it comes to certain issues that they lack a knowledge and understanding of.

Self harm. 

Even when I’m at home I struggle with showing my arms and will often cover them with my cardigans. But this isn’t down to embarrassment, it’s because I am aware of the impact my scars have on my loved ones. Not because they’re judgemental, but because they hate seeing me hurt and they hate being unable to take it away from me. Though, I must praise my friends and family for being continuously supportive of the struggles and difficulties I have.

People will stare, people will make comments and people will throw horrifying looks your way and that’s just a part of life sadly. Although we don’t have the ability to control everybody and their actions, we have the ability to learn how to pass off their negativity. And we have the ability to learn that we are strong and powerful, despite what others may think.

When the weather becomes warmer, people begin questioning you or giving you strange glares if you’re not dressed a certain way. Ie- dressed in shorts, dresses and short-sleeved t-shirts. Believe me, I know. However, most people choose to wear less ‘revealing’ clothing to hide their self harm cuts or scars because of the stigma surrounding the issue. People may also just prefer to dress differently, which is perfectly okay and acceptable too and nobody should be pressured into wearing things that they dislike.

My advice is: If you want to wear long sleeves, wear them. If you want to wear short sleeves, wear them. Wear shorts, tights, jeans, skirts or dresses. Wear whatever YOU feel comfortable in, not what society wants you to feel comfortable in.

The most important person is YOU and this involves caring for yourself and working on regaining your health and happiness.

I struggle with self-harm; I am working on learning healthier coping mechanisms with the help of my amazing support worker. I have scars, as do many people and I am not ashamed or embarrassed to have them on show if I choose to. Why? For one, it’s a huge step to show your scars because you’re unsure of how others around you will react. In addition to this I believe that my scars symbolise that I am going through a difficult time in which I have survived. To me, they signify strength and determination and they are definitely not a form of attention seeking like most people assume.

My scars do not define me, they do not define anybody in a negative way or make them a bad person either. 

If people have a problem with your scars or attempt to belittle, or judge you, in any way – you simply move on and remove these people from your life. Not everybody will understand but you need to surround yourself with supportive people who have your best interests at heart.

It’s important to remember that you do not need to hide away during the summer months (or during any point) in order to avoid harmful comments. You do not need to wear long sleeves if you don’t want to, you don’t need to hide away at home as a way of isolating yourself either. But you do need to accept yourself and distance yourself from negative people who bring your spirits down. You do need to show yourself love and compassion and you do need to hold on to the belief that things will get better.

Things to remember regarding self-harm

  1. You are NOT alone in this. Lots of people use self harm as a coping mechanism for the difficult times they are going through.
  2. You are NOT a bad person for self harming. You’re only Human and life comes with difficult times alongside the easier times.
  3. You may self harm now, but this doesn’t mean it’s forever. Eventually a time will come where you recognise that you don’t deserve to hurt or suffer and you will become stronger whilst learning better coping strategies.
  4. There is support available to you if you’re struggling, or know of anybody who is. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to a family member or friend, perhaps speak to somebody else you trust (such as your GP or a Teacher) or alternatively you can contact The Samaritans who have services you can access anonymously.
  5. Keep safe whilst self harming, keep it clean and make sure you are aware of the signs of infection. Urgently go to your GP or to A&E if your wound becomes infected or if you become concerned or in pain.

 

Lots of love and hugs,

Laur x

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