Originally Posted by Pi.R^2
I don't make a huge effort to cover my scars. It's not ideal that they're there and it's not ideal that they happened in the first place but I'm not ashamed that I did what I needed to do to survive. Inconveniently I don't know where this self-acceptance came from or how to develop it but it definitely can exist and maybe it's worth having a ponder about where your shame is coming from. Is it to do with others' potential or past reactions? If so, does someone who would judge you for something that is literally a sign of pain (both physical and mental) deserve for their opinion to enter your world?
I can relate to what Jenna said and what to share a bit related to that. I hope that's okay and not upsetting to you, OP.
At one point I felt more embarrassed and worried about being judged for my scars. This was when I was a teenager and young adult. And what I found was the more I didn't bother to cover them up, the more comfortable I became with showing them and the more people that knew me just accepted and got used to it. I very occasionally get stares or reactions from strangers these days, but most of the time it's a non issue.
I think what did it for me was not wanting to be uncomfortable, especially during the summer. I didn't want to have to cover up and be miserable and sweaty. I decided that my own comfort was more important than potentially making others uncomfortable or judging me.
I get that it's not that simple for everyone, but I too find that I don't have the huge experience of shame, though I once did.
I will still cover up in certain circumstances - like if I am going to a job interview or if I have fresh cuts and around family or getting dirty. But the majority of the time I don't bother. I think there is a way through/past it, but it might take time and support to figure out.
But like Jenna said, once I accepted that the act of self harming itself was a tool that I used for coping, and not in itself anything bad or shameful, that also helped me be more comfortable with my scars and with others seeing them. I also found therapists and providers to work with who see self harm the same way and practice things like harm management and reduction instead of just viewing self harm as this taboo not allowed thing.
To be clear I'm not saying you need to walk up to everyone you meet and announce that you self harm. Just that there's ways to address it if it does come up and be open about it or even tell people that it's none of their business if you don't want to answer questions.
Also a ramble, but I really feel for you and hope that maybe you too can get to a point where you don't feel such shame or feel the need to hide and be so secretive about it.