I still have a few more thoughts on scars so please consider this a follow-up to my last post. After writing it I looked for all the scars on my own body. There are (were?) so many I can’t see anymore although I can remember exactly where they used to be. I also looked for scar-free spots but every time I thought I found one it suddenly hit me: No, there actually was a bad bruise there and it wasn’t an accident. Oh, wait, I scratched the skin until it bled – it looked like a small burn and faded quickly. But no, this is not an unharmed place – I can remember pricking it with a needle whilst listening to a teacher.
And then I wondered if all this was “enough”. Please don’t ask me what “enough” means because I can’t tell you. Please don’t tell me there is no “enough” when every single incident is too much already. Please don’t say it will never be “enough”.
I always used to think that I could stop when certain things in my life were over but then I couldn’t. I used to think I could stop if I just wanted to but then willing myself to stay calm only worked for a certain time. I always used to think I could stop after creating a single remaining scar but now I look at them and wonder if they will be gone in a few years’ time – just like the other ones that have already vanished. I don’t even know why it scares me that they’re fading. I still do believe that stopping would be easier if only I knew that the visible scars I have now could stay that way forever. And yes, I know this is sick and incomprehensible and sad. It is also the reason I don’t care for the wounds the way I should. I know exactly what I have to do if I want everyting to heal in the most clean and pleasant way possible. But I do the opposite just to make sure the scars don’t fade too quickly. Stupid, right?
Anyway there’s this saying about a tear saying more than a thousand words and a scar saying more than a thousand tears. So when I show my scars to someone I tell them more than most people ever tell anyone else about their mental health. I never really understood why people worry when taking off their clothes in front of others – what could people possibly find strange about a body? What’s the big deal about being naked? The only thing I wonder when I take my clothes off is if the other person considers me as completely…insane? Broken? Crazy? If there’s one thing I hate even more than prejudice it’s pity. And you can count on getting one of those two when you have self-harm scars. There are few people who don’t assume a thousand things as soon as they get what happened. Even fewer who see you for the same person you were before they knew. Self-harm scars are one of the very few ways to make mental illness visible and I think that’s what’s so scary about them. We’re all used to mental illness being invisible and if it isn’t that’s what’s freaking all the people out who think that depression is just a lack of motivation and that addiction can be healed by pure discipline and that borderline is a fashion diagnosis. Watching someone injure themselves is not a nice thing. It makes it hard to pretend that mental illnesses don’t exist. Which is exactly why showing our scars could be an important step towards breaking the stigma.
I’m sorry if I got a little too focused on this topic but as my therapist decided it was one of the most pressing matters I have a lot of thinking to do and writing is the best way for me to get things straight inside my pretty little head 🙂