Hello, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post. I haven't posted before. Basically my next door neighbour is taking her dd and another child swimming next week and has asked if me and my dd want to go along. The thing is I have self harm scars covering both arms (they are more than 5 years old and are white) and I'm now freaking out a bit. I have taken dd swimming before, but just me and her and I go when I know the pool will be quite quiet. It has been ok but makes me feel so vulnerable and exposed. I normally keep my arms covered in front of children. On the one hand I am worried about going and all that entails and on the other hand if we don't go I feel guilty that I am making my dd miss out on something because of my past issues
I've got them on my arms as well and they're all white and is a reason I don't like summer. I've got some also on the top of my arms. Could you go in first or last. I keep my arms to the side and do manage to hide them. It's awful isn't it but I feel ashamed of them and I know reasonably that I shouldn't be I do. I'd go.
Thanks for your reply. I too know in my head that I shouldn't be ashamed, but it feels very uncomfortable still for people to look at them. In summer I'm not too bad as I just wear thin long sleeved tops or I carry around a thin cardigan in case I feel I need it. I have worried about this for a while, imagining invitations to leisure pools etc as dd gets older (she is nearly 4). This has just made me confront it. It has brought into my mind the fact that this is forever, the scars will never go away and no matter how well I am doing they are that visible 'evidence'. I think you can actually get long sleeved swimming suits (I think they are meant for surfing), but would that seem more obvious in a way?
I wear a rash vest if I'm going in a busy pool. When I'm with my dc's I keep my towel over my shoulders until I get in. Once I'm under the water no one can see them. It does require being organised and a bit of deft moment though .
Please do go swimming. So many people suffer from mental health issues. I would make no judgement about you if I saw what were clearly old scars on your arms.
I accidentally put my arm through a glass door when I was 13, sustaining multiple cuts, so I have one arm that is covered in what look like self-harm scars. I don't cover them up. Some people will ask about them and some people won't and I don't really care what people think.
If a child asks you (and children are the most likely to) I would just say 'oh, that's nothing - just an old injury from ages ago' which is true in your case in my view.
Thank you eveyone. I will definately look into the rash vest thing. Children asking is one of the things I worry about. My dd has not asked what they are yet, but obviously she is used to them and she is only 3. I do know they are probably not as noticable as I imagine and they are obviously old. I did used to wear short sleeves more when I was younger. It probably sounds a bit silly but I'm more self conscious of them and what people think when I have dd with me.
I have lots of white scars too, but wear t-shirts and everything. Nobody ever comments, and because I have freckles on my arms, they aren't very visible. Honestly though, it will be okay. Decent people won't ask, or at least if they do, they won't judge.
I think those long-sleeved bathing suits are called 'burkini'. People would notice it even more if you had one of those on. There's a saying where I come from, if you look at your feet, others will too. So, if you pretend it's nothing, others will think so too.
I really don't think anyone will notice in the pool. Take a towelling robe for before and after and say it's to keep you warm while sorting out dd. If a child asked just say lightly "marks from where I hurt myself when I was young" - kids won't realise the full mh implications but it's being honest too.
I've got a long white scar on my arm from an accident. I don't ever give it a second thought. I've also got one on my face from another accident which again I don't even think about. I have various other small ones from an illness. Do you think you are more conscious of them because they were from SH? Anyone commenting other than a small child is exceptionally rude and it is them with the problem, not you. Could you brazen it out? We are not all swimsuit models, I bet most of the other people in the pool will be thinking about how big their bum looks etc rather than your scars.
Re your dd, I'd tell her the truth when she's about 7/8 in a casual tone. Anyone else, you could just say you got them when you were a child if they are rude enough to ask.
Thanks all for your support. I am definately self conscious because they are so obviously sh scars. They are on both arms from half way down forearms up to shoulder height in mostly parallel lines. I am considering getting a rash vest thing with long sleeves but I think I will probably just tough it out and hope for the best. Most situations are far more terrifying in the imagination than in real life. I think I will feel better once in the water, so its just the walk to and from the changing rooms. Maybe a towelling robe would be a good idea.
If its any consolation whatsoever, I noticed scarring on a new friends arms (looks very much like sh - parallel lines both arms top to bottom) during summertime/short-sleeves weather. Figured ultimately it wasn't my place to ask about it (and to be honest, I did have a big "do I acknowledge she's clearly had some shit times and give her a hug, or do I just not mention it" train of thought).
I have 5 cuts on my arms which I never hide, not once have I ever been asked about them. My big ones are on my thighs, 37 cuts all directions, most about 3 inch's, some 6 inches, again never been asked. I think if people do notice they arnt bothered. I think self harm is waaaaaay more common than we know
I saw a woman serving in a shop a while ago who had really obvious, old SH scars all up her arms. I just thought "oh well done you!!" for not hiding them. Think of the great example that you would be setting to all those your women who might see you, that you USED to cut yourself but are now happy and healthy and splashing in the pool having fun as a loving Mum.
People aren't looking at you as closely as it feels, they may or may not notice.
You will feel better about this once it's done. It's just a part of who you are and nothing to be ashamed of. Let your dd see you hold your head up with pride, she sees enough examples of women feeling ashamed of their bodies as it is.
If you must hide them take a towel to pool side because of how cold you feel getting out.