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Coming out in more ways than one

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So, as the days are starting to heat up, it's becoming increasingly difficult to wear long sleeve shirts. 'Why are you wearing long sleeve shirts?' you might ask. Well...


Not too long ago I started self harming. Initially it was easy to "hide" it as I just wrapped my arm in an elastic bandage that held gauze/non-stick pads on the wounds and simply told people I got a burn from messing with fireworks, messing around in the kitchen, etc.


The elastic bandages soon became to cumbersome and too much trouble to go through just to hide some scars (by the now the wounds had healed). Thankfully, the colder months were coming which meant I had a perfectly valid excuse for either wearing a sweatshirt all day or long sleeved shirts.


Well, that time has passed on we're into the spring season and are quickly headed to the hot, dry summer months. As of right now, only a few people know about the scars, family, a few friends, and my doctor of course. So far they've been cool about it, not asking or mentioning them which is good.


The problem is is that I'm not sure if I want to necessarily show them to the public just yet, my employer especially. I'm most worried about my employer since my boss has a very alpha-male personality and I work in a police station. So if I come in with scars up and down my arm, there's bound to be questions and they may even try to get me 'help' (I've already been to a psychiatric hospital and while it was not a bad experience, I just don't want to go back voluntarily or involuntarily because it is very much like a medical jail/prison even though you committed no crime) despite me already getting help.


I'm also worried about what other students (I'm currently a senior at college) are going to say/ask.


2nd thing, I'm also bi and that's something I want to get off my chest. I know that shouldn't be a problem as it's widely accepted now, but I'm just worried about what my parents will think, my mother especially (she's very religious).


Any advice would be much appreciated!

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  • 1 month later...

Hey I wanted to share with you I've been thinking of starting a similar post but I didn't know what to say, I've been having the same problems with scars like you for years and it wasn't until recently that I decided screw it! I'm going to wear short sleeves. I've spent the better part of 9 years completly ashamed of my arms and legs and finally I feel like I can wear short sleeves in public, what are people really going to say?

I've had a few people stare and one lady looked downright mortified but I can't be bothered worrying anymore what people think.. my legs are considerably worse though and in my dumbest of dumb teenage moments I carved a swear word up my calf, so I still understand where you're coming from in wanting to cover up. But I hope you find the courage to forget what people think and just be free! I live in canada and it's damn hot in the summer lol not sure about you but it's just not worth the shame anymore.

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I went through a really rough stretch recently where for the first time in my life I seriously considered cutting myself, just to see how it felt -- or at least that's what I told myself at the time. I never did but I've been in therapy for a while and have gone to plenty of mental illness group meetings, in addition to reading up on psychology, and understand a little bit about it. I think it's great you have a therapist -- that's the best thing you can do for yourself right now. Cutting often has its roots in the past. The more you can learn about yourself, your past and what got you to where you're at, the better. Going to groups and talking about it with strangers is also a great way to introduce yourself to talking out loud about it. Same goes for your sexuality. People in groups do not judge the way outsiders do. Perhaps you could get comfortable there then build your confidence and work your way up from there. 


From my own experience, I actually take pride in my dark times. If it comes to it, I'll totally talk to people in the grocery line about my struggles. For me, being as open as possible helps the most. I know this isn't the preferred method for everyone but I've found that when I hide things it then gives those things more power and makes the hiding all the more difficult. These things are often like a beachball inside a pool. You can push the ball under water but it's going to take effort and eventually it will come up no matter what, so often you're better off not avoiding the inevitable forever. 


The best piece of advice I can give is to try and keep in mind how insignificant this will be in the end. Your boss, your coworkers, even your family and friends -- they all come and go during certain periods of your life. The only constant is you and how much love you have for yourself. As long as you have you and that love you can do anything. Just remember to prioritize your view of yourself over the view others may have of you. 


If you need to chat feel free to direct message me. I've been through a lot of heavy stuff recently so I'm pretty versed in all this. Keep your head up though and remember to be proud of who you are. :)

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