Should you cover up self harm scars?

Summer’s here and we’re having more than our usual 3 days of sun this year. Everyone is wearing dresses and shorts, the men are topless and we’re all just soaking up the rays. The question is, should you have the same right to do this if you have self harm scars?

I have scars on my arms and my right thigh. I’ve never really been bothered about people seeing them, other than when they’re fresh. Most people in my life know about my mental health issues so it’s not exactly a shock to the system when people do see them.

I’m quite lucky in a way. I have only ever had one bad reaction to my scars and that was from a complete stranger, when I came out of hospital in April. Due to my Borderline Personality Disorder (or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, I prefer BPD), I didn’t take it lightly and ended up in A&E that night feeling suicidal.

Self harm scars are a part of a person. You wouldn’t tell someone to cover up a mole, or a birth mark, or even scars from an operation, just because you didn’t like the look of them. So why should it be any different for those who have self inflicted scars? For many people self harm is a physical representation of the pain they feel inside. If mental illness wasn’t so highly stigmatised, then there would be no problem with people expressing their pain.

For the people who say that self harm scars are triggering, you can’t go through life putting a filter on everything that may upset you. If someone has healed scars and they have plucked up the courage to wear them out in public, we should be reassuring them, not making them feel more uncomfortable, because believe me, they do feel uncomfortable.

I’m very pro showing scars if you feel comfortable doing so. It can get annoying having people ask ‘what happened to your arm?’ But you do get used to it. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter. Just be happy in your own skin and don’t cover up out of fear of being judged.

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