I feel like a fraud. It has been around two years since I SIed. I am going for an advanced degree in the hope that I can help others. But I feel like I am hiding a huge part of myself all the time and it is really starting to get to me and make me incredibly self conscious around my peers.

I SIed on and off for 15 years and it is quite visible on my body. I am becoming more willing to wear short sleeves if I just run to the store, but at work or school I have never shown that part of myself. I feel like if my professors and classmates saw they would think I am some incapable fraud and pass judgement on me.

It seems acceptable that recovering drug addicts go and work in the field of counseling. But part of me feels like it is unacceptable for someone who has SIed to go into a similar profession. Am I always going to have to hide my past and what I have done? Am I allowed to go into a helping profession? It is discouraging to think that I might never be fully accepted because of my past actions even though I feel I have overcome and healed so much. It is discouraging to think that others in the profession may look negatively at me and say this isn’t the right field for me because of my past SI. This is what I want to do. How am I supposed to be happy if someone tells me I can’t do it – that I am not right for a job because of what I have done and overcome.

I have worked so incredibility hard to be where I am today. But I feel that all anyone will see my scars and not see who much I have grown. Although I feel like a teenager sometimes, I am not that girl I used to be. Will others in my profession be able to see this and not be afraid of me or my ability to do a good job? I have such a passion for what I want to do and I would hate to think I have to give that up or always hide a part of myself in order to be accepted or successful.

I don’t know who to ask about this. I am scared of the response I will get. I struggle even talking about this with my counselor. Will she secretly think that I shouldn’t go into a helping field and not tell me the truth? Although I know counselors are not supposed to judge, I am afraid that as a counselor counseling me -a future counselor- that she will pass judgement and think I am not fit to go into the profession. I know what I want to do with my future, but am I allowed to do it?