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Dating After Self-Harm/Depression

Published on April 15, 2013 by salon1792

I have grappled with depression for many years and am actively working to treat this issue. However, I have a number of severe scars on my thigh from self-harm.

At the same time, I am currently looking to have a more serious relationship with someone and have been working to get myself out there through social events, online dating, etc.

The only men to see the major scars on my thigh are one night stands, and it just wasn't addressed.

I am unsure how to raise this issue with a potential boyfriend when the situation arises, and how to cope if he is turned off or shuns me from this? I am guessing not all men will handle this information well.

ANSWERS

Sharing your mental health is never recommended, because that is personal. However, you can't expect men not to ask. I wouldn't worry about the future relationships so much,yet i would encourage you to get counseling to learn how to cope instead of cutting; the relationships and casual sex is a different subject. A professional,licensed and trained therapist would be better suited to address the long term affects of one night stands and whether you want committed relationships and/or steady dating seeing how the previous (major scarring) from the cutting will possibly be awkward for you to discuss when that time comes. The bottom line is how do you feel about you and your self image. A counselor can help guide you thru this.

Compassion...Love for yourself is key. We all have scars. Some are not visible, they are emotional and psychological. Some your can see. Scars left from self harm can be hard to explain. There is so much misunderstanding and judgement. First our own misunderstanding and self judgement, and then misunderstanding and judgement from others, even institutions and professionals. We need to forgive ourselves. Pain is a messy thing. Sometimes we don't express it in pretty ways. As we heal, we learn to tell our stories. Some stories we choose not to tell to people outside of our closest circle of trusted friends. It is healthy to protect yourself. When a caring partner or potential lover comes into our lives we can be ready to greet it. We deserve to have love and affection in our lives. I would suggest you have a response ready in the event someone sees the scars and asks about it, no matter who they are. You could choose not to reveal yourself at all with a simple, "I'm not comfortable talking about that right now." And change the subject. Or, if you want to talk about it, but don't want to get into all the details, (which I would recommend with most folks), I might say something like, "The scars represent a very pain chapter in my life." And then, "I'd like to share it with you sometime." or "I may share it when I feel safer." or "I don't feel comfortable talking about it right now." The point being you share what you want to share. Cutting and other self harm is not that uncommon. Some people do understand, and it's no big deal. Remember, when someone loves you they do not focus on the scar on your thigh, or the leg that you've lost, or the pock marks on your cheeks from adolescent acne. They see your spirit, I hope. They are attracted to your kindness, your wit, your sense of humor, your intellect. Blessings to you. Be gentle with yourself :-)

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