I see you pulling at your sleeve nervously. I see the look of horror when I say I can’t take your bloods or check your blood pressure with the thick material hiding you. I see the fear when you roll up your sleeve and stretch out your arm towards me. I see you watching me with carefull trepidation as I put the cuff on your arm or check for a suitable vein. I can almost see your mind forming some sort of explanation but tripping over the words because nothing seems quite adequate. I see it all… But I see no reason to feel shame!
Instead I see someone who’s fighting to keep a hold on what’s going on around them, to eek out some control or a way of venting the pressures in their life. I see the complex maze of triggers building up, checkpoints falling by the way side and other mechanisms collapsing under the strain as you have tried so hard each time not to add to your macabre collection.
And why do I see this?
Well, you probably won’t see my scars, some are faded and some are hidden under my uniform, but I really hope you see the empathy & understanding in my eyes. I hope you can see I’m trying to be gentle and tactful while still giving you the care and treatment you need. If I treat you differently in any way because of those scars you bear, I will be filled with tenderness for the pain they represent.
Although I say scars I realise not everyone’s wounds are healed, this message is for you too. I will express concern and try to help you heal physically as I know that little act of self care can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. I won’t know the right thing to say or have the answers, but I will listen if you want to open up and I’ll be there, not judging, to hold your hand if you need.
The scars scratch the surface of what makes you, you! But I see deeper than that, there’s so much more to you than self harm and I hope you realise that although I see your scars I can also see past them to the truth underneath. I hope in time you can see that too.
This blog post was submitted to us from a registered nurse wishing to remain anonymous. The nurse wanted to share this following self harm awareness day from the point of view of a nurse who has self harm scars.