My SI is making me feel like an outcast. I went to the gym the other day (I am trying to start exercising as another positive way to deal with stuff). I was wearing short-sleeves since no one is ever at the gym during midday and most times I don’t care if someone I don’t know sees me. But I was walking home and this elderly man sees me, and I know he sees the scars and he gives me this disgusted look and avoids walking past me. It hurt – a lot. Then at school, I am surrounded by mental health professional and soon to be mental health professionals, and I have to hide my SI every day for fear of judgement and stigma. Although we are taught to be not judgmental, conversations about SI (even from the ones who have been in the field for a while) are negative and have a lot of stigma attached. So how am I supposed to share this piece of myself knowing what they think about it? I have more free time this time of year and I want to socialize and be more assertive in making/developing friendships. But when it is summer and people want to go to the beach or some other outside activity, I decline because I am too afraid of what will be said if I wear long-sleeves (and definitely what would be said if I didn’t).
I tried to make an appointment to go to counseling at the university. Nothing major is going on, but it would be helpful to talk to someone. I am not allowed back. My issues are deemed more than they can handle. I can maybe understand some of that, but I don’t see it that way and I felt stupid and brushed aside. I have no one else to go to now.

I did this to myself and I can’t take it back or try to erase it. I understand that this was my way of dealing and that it noticeable. I recognize that I grew up in an abusive home and because of some of the stuff I dealt with my only means of coping was SI. I know I am not a bad person. But sometimes I can’t help but feel stupid, and like a lost cause when it comes to healing me and working through some of my issues. My scars are defining who I am – and that definition seems to be mentally unstable, stupid, incapable and hopeless. But this is what I feel others think and it is hard to not think the same. I want others to see them for what I want to see them as – a testament to what I have survived, strength, recovery and the ability to have compassion and understanding for those who are going through something similar. SI is not healthy, and there are so many other ways to positively deal with things. I have learned that (although sometimes difficult to put in practice) through these past several years. My SI has healed and what is left is everlasting scars. But people don’t see scars for what they are – healing. They see it as the injury and the ‘crazy’ person who would do that.

I don’t want to be an outcast. I don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t want to feel like I am too far gone that no one can deal with me anymore. Because I am not. In fact I am present, motivated and in a relatively healthy place. I have bad days, like we all do, but I am managing much better. My past and the visibility of my past actions are dictating my future and I don’t know how to change or deal with it. It makes me so sad to think about. I hate living with this visible secret all the time. It is exhausting to hide.