Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Showing scars, marks and cellulite during summer

(If you want advice about self harm scars in summer jump down a few paragraphs! )

In the Nordic countries - and other parts of Europe - it is beginning to get warmer and soon it will be summer time. Which often means less clothing, showing more skin and maybe even days on the beach in a bikini. For some that is the highlight of the year, the warmth and less clothing. I am one of those people, strangely enough.... i long for the warm days when i can wear shorts and a tank top outside, or train in a sports bra at the gym without anyone thinking its strange because its so cold outside, and also the days on the beach in a bikini. This mindset of course is only a very recent one (the past 1-2 years), before that i hated having to show my legs and arms. My legs have always been my biggest problem area and sitting down with shorts has been something i have hated, but also because they have had stretch marks and cellulite. Despite being a healthy weight and active they came during recovery as well as when i began to strength train and my legs grew. But then also the fact that my arms have self harm scars which have mostly faded but when i get a tan the scars are still a little whiter and so are more easily seen. In the past i longed for the warmth of summer but then when i realised that i would end up showing more skin because i was so warm, it didnt seem so fun. Not to mention that i still didnt have that great self body love when it came to being in a bikini and showing my stomach.

So... what has changed? I still have the scars on my arms and i still have cellulite, the stretch marks have basically faded or maybe i just dont even notice them at all, or that i am so pale so the white marks just fade into my natural paleness XD but I mostly realised that I don't care. That this is how my body looks and the best thing to do is to embrace it. I think many people do get that "summer beach body anxiety" but it is rather silly really,  I mean why to on a 6 week crash diet only to end up regaining all the weight again because it was a fad diet they followed.

Anyway, I was asked about showing self harm scars during summer which I thought I would write a bit about.

The first thing is to not be ashamed of those scars, of course they might not be something you need to flash around and be proud over (?) But from your comment it sounds like you're not so much that type of person. Self harm scars show that you struggled but that you got through that struggle. Many people don't understand self harm, and in a way I guess that's good.... no person should find it normal or ok to hurt yourself or harm yourself in anyway. But at the same time I don't think people should call others "stupid" or worse just because they have self harmed. Self harm isn't something you do when you are feeling fine and happy... but something you do when you are dealing with alot of strong emotions and trying to cope, and also it is addictive. There were times I self harmed just so that I would have scars on my body and even if I hid my scars I knew that my outside would show just how broken I was on the inside.

But back to, how to cope.  Hopefully the self harm is something of the past and only the scars remain? And then you should be proud of your progress and if people ask just say that it was in the past. You don't need to explain yourself and you don't need to answer if people ask.  Some people might look more because they wonder what the marks might be but also maybe try to figure out your story or what it was that caused you to self harm. But you don't need to answer if you don't want to. You are allowed to go bare armed or wear shorts you don't need to hide your body even if you have scars.... you aren't alone with having scars, whether it's personally inflicted or due to injuries or surgery, you aren't alone.

I also have a large scar on my stomach from an operation when I was born and for me that scar is just a part of me and always there, i always feel so shocked when people ask me what happened (the worst was when someone asked me if it was a self harm scar, but also been asked if it was some sort of fat reduction XD ) but it feels like everyone has that scar on their stomach, but they don't. .. but it's just part of me and well, as I've been told by my readers if someone asks - or if children ask I just say that I fought with a tiger!  (Or that is for my self harm scars anyway, the scar on my stomach I say is from an operation. .. most people find that cool and then that becomes the topic of conversation, or my tattoos. .... Hahhaha,  just get a tattoo and that will become the conversation topic instead [joke! Don't do that unless you absaloutly want a tattoo])

I don't know how well I am answering your question, but in time you learn to deal with the stares and people's questions and you learn to not care. Instead you rock it and feel confident and don't let anyone bring you down. But it takes time so even if you feel nervous or worried now, trust me... nobody really cares that much, you are you and beautiful no matter what. And you need to feel confident and beautiful and then people's comments or questions or stares don't matter!

Also, I think there are some creams that might help with self harm scars though that depends on how they healed. And there is also make up to cover tattoos and self harm (once again, depends how they healed... if the scars were very deep and you've had stitches or the skin become sort of bumpy when the scar healed then make up doesn't work so well), but you can always try those and see :)

If anyone else has any advice on this, please comment below :)

7 comments:

  1. The thing that worried me most was lest I should trigger some vulnerable person who happened to see them. I'd love to hear how others have dealt with that concern. In the end I concluded that while it would be better if I didn't have the scars, we are who we are, and the best thing we can do both for ourselves and others is to grow more into the best version of ourselves - not the version we imagine we would like to be, but what we are actually made to be: who we are is a gift, and all we have to do is be thankful and rejoice in it! As someone said to me, that's also the best way to help others engage with who they are. There are things I enjoy a lot, that I couldn't do if I didn't show my scars. Either I could hide and segregate myself, and that would be bad for everyone, or I can do them and enjoy them and hopefully other people will be better able to do the same. I'm glad that Izzy does the things she enjoys and loves; Izzy would not be her if she didn't enjoy wearing shorts and sports bras and working out. I'm so glad she does those things and shares her joy in them here, I always find it encouraging to think of that when I want to do things I enjoy too.
    That's a bit incoherent, but I hope it sort of makes sense. I'd love to hear what others feel about these issues.

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    1. That is very true, I've never thought about "triggering others" but then again my scars aren't super visible unless you look close. But i've always been one of those people who feel like you should do what you want and others need to control their reaction, of course on the Internet I try to avoid triggers as much as possible,but if I'm at the beach I'm not going to worry about triggering someone else just because I am in a bikini. But it is a good point which I have thought about before :)

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  2. Grrr, my big long comment disappeared. Anyway, here's basically what it said:

    I have a lot of scarring from both teenage-years self-harm, and adult IV drug use. I personally do not like any attention drawn to them, and struggled with embarrassment and shame for a long time over them. My best tools for dealing with them are:

    1) Acceptance - I can't change it, it is what it is, and I had to learn to accept and deal with that reality
    2) Dressing appropriately - for both my comfort and for the situation. I don't think people need to be ashamed of it, but I do not feel it's necessary to put my entire history on display at a glance, either. When I was struggling with shame, I covered up, long pants and sleeves, always. I transitioned to less coverage by first only doing it when I was relatively anonymous or not interacting with people much (ie: running errands). Once I was more comfortable wearing less (as at first I felt positively naked without total coverage, as I had been in full layers for YEARS), I started dressing more for comfort rather than coverage in my usual day-to-day life as well. There are still times when I make sure to cover up, as I simply feel it's more appropriate (ie: at work, for interviews, or for important photos) and would rather not invite unwanted attention or notice). In the summer time, I have lightweight loose pants, and thin, gauzy cardigans to help with the heat.
    3) Have an answer prepared - I do get occasional questions, and my answers depend on the situation. For friends/family, a succinct and truthful answer is best. Most know my history anyway and so it's not a shock, and the rest are considerate enough to drop the subject once I've given my brief answer. For strangers or people I don't particularly want knowing my business, well, unfortunately my current best course of action is to simply lie. My go-to fib is that it is from a childhood accident (accident or dog attack or whatever) and that I don't even really remember the event, the scars have just always been part of me. This is my most uncomfortable coping tool, and I hope to figure out a way to not have to lie, but sometimes it can't be helped. To minimize this outcome, I aim to dress appropriately and preventitively. If I don't want questions, then I simply cover up and remove the source of potential questions. This is no longer motivated by shame, but by my valuing personal privacy and respecting the situation I'm in. For example, I keep covered if I'm going to be around children, or with my employers. Some information is simply not anyone else's business. Having an answer planned ahead of time prevents feeling on-the-spot anxiety or panic, and reduces my general stress going into situations.

    So, in short: my tools for coping with scars are acceptance (which doesn't mean showing off or being proud of my scars, but accepting the reality of what my past choices have led to today, as well as the fact that I cannot control or change this reality), appropriate clothing for different situations, and having an answer prepared ahead of time.

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    1. I hate when you write a comment and it disappears. But I'm glad you recommented with your tips and advice!! Acceptance is definitely the best and of course dressing for situation :)

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Thank you, Izzy, very much for answering my question with such a wonderful post)))
    With love,
    Arina I

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    1. I'm glad I could help and also the advice from others above :)

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