Scars

Scars are usually a touchy subject for a lot of people, given that the majority of us have one or two. I remember when I was younger and I tried to talk to a friend about scars and she laughed and said “oh yeah! I think I have one of those”. Until that point I hadn’t quite realised how abnormal it was to have more than “just a few”. This talk had happened just before I turned 18 and at that point I was pretty damned pleased with myself that I would turn into an adult without a 3 figure number of scars. Sure 97 wasn’t that different to 100 but at the time it felt like it was a world of difference.Now my number is over 120, and at that point I relatively gave up on counting them. I keep a rough tab for no particular reason.

The main thing I have learned with talking to people about my scars when they have asked is that, well people seem to place a certain hierarchy on scars. “That’s tiny, that doesn’t count”, “That’s only a white one, I am sure that didn’t even hurt” or “You did that to yourself”, “oh god how did that happen to you”. People only want to take certain sizes, colours and causes seriously, they only have sympathy for something they deem to be worthy. If it was an accident, doesn’t count. If its self inflicted, its your own stupid fault. Surgery and animal related scars I have found tend to get the kindest reactions from people, but even then everyone has to put their own value on it.

The majority of my scars sit on my arms and hands, these ones are odd little shapes and most of them are white. I found out at the age of 12 a friend had avoided touching my hands because she thought I had a skin condition because of how they looked. These ones came from my brother mostly. He has severe autism and developmental delays and when he was younger it was hard for him to express his anger when upset so he lashed out. I have plenty of other scars on my legs from pure clumsiness and dyspraxia. Those ones are purple and bigger, mostly from falling over or slipping while shaving.Anyone with dyspraxia or hand tremors will know that shaving your legs quickly becomes a daunting task, getting through it without a single cut or graze becomes a huge personal success. After these I have my medium shaped scars, some on my arms one on my hand. Those are from my panic disorder. When I first had daily panic attacks I couldn’t cope, without noticing most of the time I would just start scratching myself until I calmed down. It was soothing weird as that sounds. Then there are my surgery scars, most people will never see those as they are pretty low on my pelvis.

All of these scars look different, feel different and have different stories behind them, and people will react differently to each of them. Some people will insult me, or pity me or completely misunderstand me based on these small coloured patches on my body. None of them are particularly big or noticeable but still people want to judge me by them sometimes, and that use to get to me. I use to wonder about which ones were valid, which ones aren’t, which ones should I be honest about or lie about and shouldn’t I just try to cover them? But what ever value other people put to a scar, or you put to it, its going to be there. Odds are it will fade with time but that can take years, so its much easier on yourself to learn to accept it rather than to fight it.

All scars have different meanings and stories behind them, and honestly there is nothing wrong with any scar.A scar means something bad happened and you made it, nothing more. There is nothing wrong with you just because your skin healed a slightly different colour, and that’s all it is, a different colour. If it has to mean anything let it mean you are interesting, that you have a story however big or small. Scars don’t have to have the huge negative connotations society and other people want to give them. My favourite reaction to any of my scars was my 4 year old cousin. When she was 3 she took my arm and twisted it around to look at them and after a while announced ” they are pinks?” and I just said “yes, pretty cool right?” Because that’s all they need to be, if you will let them. Pretty colours on skin, nothing more nothing less.

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Rock bottom

Lots of us know what it feels like to hit rock bottom. Its scary, defeating and just plain depressing. Whats worse is when you hit rock bottom and you just keep going and going and going and going. These are often the times we feel most alone and most scared, and always almost seem to follow some bugger saying ” Hey it can’t get worse” and when it does get worse they remind you ” hey it could be worse”, reminding you that things can and probably will get worse.  So for anyone out there who might feel just a little less along from hearing it, I am going to just blindly express my current experiences with rock bottom. I say rock bottom, I am pretty low and keep getting lower, if I really do find a “bottom” to this situation, I will let you know. Also – Trigger warning- I will be talking graphically about my anxiety and a tad of info my endo, so if regular period talk grosses you then seriously don’t read this on a full stomach though I won’t be getting graphic with this part of things.

Its hard to believe just a year ago I was doing amazingly, and honestly happier than I had been in almost a decade. I had a new boyfriend who was wonderful, had just gotten rid of all the toxic people in my life and I had been accepted to a brilliant university for which I just missed out on the grades. Things had never been so good, and clearly I opened my big mouth and said ” Roll on 2016!”. No stupider words were ever spoken. Honestly this is a year I feel we as a society just need to forget, never even mind our personal issues this year.

Just before 2016 started I started to get sick. Like really sick. I had a serious “period” for want of a better word that lasted over two weeks so I had to go to a walk in centre. This was followed by more doctors than I can count and not an awful amount of help. Since then I have had surgery, but things sadly could still get worse. Before the surgery I had a pain in one of my tubes and an ultrasound tech told me the tube looked blocked. Now the doctors are telling me its nothing, that I imagined this in my head and that I should take anti depressants. That’s right, because when you are not depressed and in chronic pain anti depressants are going to do so much good! Nhs logic for you there folks. Friends can see from looking at me that side is still swollen, and its bringing more symptoms than I should mention in a non endo focused post.

From here on out I just lost all faith in the chance I would ever get better and ,as anyone else with anxiety and panic disorder will know, doubt is just food for the paranoia fire in your mind. My anxiety made a comeback in a big way with my panic disorder reaping havoc right before my exams. My course work grades are constantly below my level from the pain and the anxiety, and I barely make it to my exams with this bloody fatigue, it almost feels like it would be worth dropping out all together. When these thoughts take over I honestly just get the urge to rub my hands together until the skin rubs right off, I wind up having to submerge them in cold water to avoid washing them raw.

But the thing is whether you are mentally ill, chronically ill or just going through a royally shit time, nothing lasts forever. I know right now my life is pretty messy, but it will get to a point where I can cope, and to anyone who can relate to this post- you are not alone. Life is horrible and it sucks sometimes, but I know it got better before, so it can get better again. So knuckle under until it does get better and try to steal as many good minutes as you can to make this time meaningful and to take back a bit of control. Doubt may be one of the things that can wash over your mind and ruin everything, but hope is what carrying you through.