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self harm and being a mum

(10 Posts)
starlover Tue 08-Mar-05 22:00:48

I was just wondering if anyone else self harms? or used to? or knows anyone who does/has?

I used to a lot (have been much better the last year or so)... and basically my arms are absolutely covered in scars. Some of them are very big and still red, even after 3/4 years. You can't help but notice all the scars if I am not wearing long sleeves.

How do I explain to ds what it is when he is old enough to ask? How do I cope with it when we are out and people comment on my arms...?
Is it better to cover up so that no-one sees it? I am worried that when I take him to school the other children will pick on him if they know about me

I don't want to hide it from him, and obviously it's very hard to wear long sleeves all the time, but I am still incredibly private about it...the only person who ever sees my arms is DP, I don't even like my parents or my best friend seeing them...

Any advice anyone???

Christie Tue 08-Mar-05 22:16:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarrieG Tue 08-Mar-05 22:28:42

Used to. Stopped after death of first husband.

I tend to cover up - when my arms are on display, there's a few prominent scars & I tend to lie about them (to my students, if they ask) - I also have a rather grisly operation scar which distracts most people, & I let people assume the others are related.

I do have a policy of NOT lying if anyone asks me outright, as don't think it should be a taboo subject, but usually I find the easiest thing is just to wear long sleeves.

Not sure that's helpful at all...

Nemo1977 Tue 08-Mar-05 22:50:48

i have sh and have some scars on arms and some on stomach etc. Havent thought how i am going to explain them but dont think it will be complete truth until my ds is older. But will prob look at it from view that it is a result of when i was very ill.
The scars on my arms can be passed off as other stuff but stomach couldnt be. I try not to sh now but urge is there but luckily i havent for 4mths.
i agree about the taboo subject aspect and it is amazing how many people have sh to some extent
hope this helps

stupidgirl Tue 08-Mar-05 22:59:00

I started self harming as a teenager suffering from depression but stopped hadn't done it for years until recently. I've just started again, a few weeks back, last night was the last time.

TBH, I've never thought how to explain them. I always keep my arms hidden as far as possible, although the scars had faded. Not sure what I'm going to do when it gets to summer.

I'm always very careful to make sure my kids don't see my arms, but as they get older it will obviously get more difficult. I guess honesty is the best policy.

fostermum Wed 09-Mar-05 06:28:56

how will you help your children if they selfharm?

HellKat Wed 09-Mar-05 06:51:58

Saw this and had to post.
Glad to see we're not alone. I sh for years after severe depression but after meeting my wonderful dp I managed to stop the physical side and the ads, once in a while the feelings of utter worthlessness kick in yes it's tempting but so far been 2 yrs since I have.
Have'nt got any advice on who to tell or how but totally agree with Carrie. I'm the same. I tell people if they ask and my ds (aged nearly 13) knows what my scars are from. (have them on arms and legs. Legs are worse though, very deep).
Once again, fantastic seeing this thread (does'nt make it seem so "taboo" now).
Well done Star for posting hun you're not alone!

morningpaper Wed 09-Mar-05 08:38:16

Hello, I have several hundred scars on my legs and a few prominent ones on my arms from where I was v ill with a breakdown during my late teens/early twenties.

I ASSUME that my dd won't ask about these until she is much older. I would imagine that by the time she is 8 or so she will be old enough to know the truth - that's about the time I started self harming myself.

Fostermum: In answer to your question (how would I help my children if they self-harmed) I would try to keep it an open topic for discussion, and not taboo. I would give her literature (the Bristol Crisis Centre for Women produce some brilliant leaflets which really helped me understand what I was doing). It's a good question and isn't something I've thought about before. I think I would help her understand that counselling is normal and that I would help her find a good counsellor if she wanted that. I would try to encourage her to self harm SAFELY and to have a first aid kit with paper stitches to avoid long-term deep scarring.

Other than that, I wouldn't try to persuade her not to do it. I don't think that self-harming is a totally dreadful thing - sometimes it can be a useful temporary outlet when people have no other way of coping. People who self harm are in a very bad place in their heads - that needs to be dealt with, rather than the self-harming, which is a symptom of their inability (or perhaps ability) to cope.

Smurfgirl Wed 09-Mar-05 12:16:28

I am not a mum but I have scars galore I hate more than anything that I cut my arms urgh. It just makes me so sad that I runied myself forever.

BUT! When people ask I am always honest and I think that makes it easier, but obviously its different with children. The cat scratches excuse works remarkably well with very naive people so it might be appropriate for kids.
I don't cover my arms and even in the moments when I find it almost too much to bare when people stare I just repeat in my head that I am more than just some scars and that does help.

My friend's mum used to SI and she said she never thought much of it because it was just part of who her mum was.

starlover Wed 09-Mar-05 15:51:12

WOW.. never thought I would get so many replies!
I have been thinking about posting this for a while, but kept getting scared to!

DS is only 4 weeks old, so it isn't something I need to really worry about just yet... but I have been thinking about it a lot.
I used to think I could never ever have children because of my scars, and because people would think I was a bad mum because of it.

I think that my issue isn't so much about telling him why I have scars, but that he will get flak from other people for having a mum who's mentally ill and cuts herself!

Am glad I have found some other people to talk to!
I have a website at which has a message board, if any of you are interested!

I have only ever really cut my arms, which is why they are such a mess (started at 12/13 and stopped last year at 24). Have had stitches several times, so have a lot of nasty looking scars. The hundreds of lesser ones have faded but are still visible and make my arms kind of wrinkly looking. It's kinda gross...

Morningpaper... I totally agree with you about not stopping people self harming. It may not be a great coping mechanism, but it is perfectly valid... and if it stops you doing something worse then that's all that matters. I think if I hadn't been hurting myself I would probably be dead by now.

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