6 Tools and 15 Minutes | When Time Doesn’t Heal Quick Enough

*Trigger Warning* Pictures of Self-Harm scars.

This post is a tricky one to get right. I want to get it out there that I am not of the opinion that people should have to cover-up scars but I do; I can’t deal with the potential questions and wandering eyes. Rather than stress over a long-sleeved top that might ride up my wrist a little too high when reaching across a counter, I like to utilise my make-up bag.

For readers in the UK, camouflage make-up can be requested as a prescription through your general doctor or accessed independently. There is an amazing charity called Changing Faces who provide free individual sessions at specific locations where they can teach the art of applying such make-up and colour testing for your skin. I highly recommend doing this if you can.

You have to be realistic in terms of how much these products can do. As much as their coverage is amazing, they will not be able to flatten scars or remove them completely.

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I have decided to show both sides of my arm as my under-side has more keloid-like scars as opposed to the upper-side. So here goes…

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The process is simple and accessible to even the make-up avoiding beings out there. Using specially designed camouflage products are often more effective as they last longer on the skin, offer a greater range of colours and also do not leave marks on clothing when applied correctly.

To achieve the coverage that I did, I first applied the lighter of my two creme colours all over with the sponge to provide a base and even my skin tone. I the used the darker one on the upper side of arm.

I then went on to use a small brush to apply a greater coverage to the larger scars in a cross-hatch pattern and in the creases at the edge of the scar before blending out.

I left this for five minutes to set before adding to bits that I had missed then generously coating with the loose powder.

The loose powder needs to be left for another ten minutes before being brushed away and then you are ready to go! You can purchase water-proof fixing sprays to make it last longer or for areas, such as your hands, that may be more prone to water-exposure. Mine can last up to three days providing I leave it alone.

I hope this will prove to useful to a few or provide relief to others who were otherwise planning on boiling in their long-sleeves and trousers as summer approaches. It has been amazing since I have been able to cover my arms but I want to emphasis that make-up is no alternative to self-acceptance and professional help.


Thoughts That Weigh Me Down

My therapy session this week didn’t start off all that well. The uniform that my work had ordered for me had sleeves that halted before my wrists. I felt humiliated and disgusting; some of my scars were on show.

After my shift I went to get food as it was coming up to 3pm and I hadn’t eaten all day. I chose a very nice, fragrant Mediterranean vegetable pasty. I brought that back up only ten minutes before the session started.

I shouted at her (my psychologist) and I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about throwing up in a public toilet, something that I haven’t done for years. I also feel guilty about allowing myself to be so self-absorbed and self-indulgent when it come to these therapy sessions. I am scared that after only four sessions, I am too attached to her.

She is of a similar age to my mum who is no longer present in my life. I want her to give me a hug. I want her to tell me that I am not just another whiney brat who should stop clinging on to their teenage angst. I want her to be able to just step inside my head so that my emotions and reality aren’t lost in my translation of them into words.

I hate that I only see her every seven days. I also hate how she has made it impossible for me to write a journal for this week. She made me talk about things that I don’t talk about when I am sober and made me question my own perception of my past and present. How could I have been so stupid to allow someone to affect so me much? I have made myself vulnerable to her and I don’t like it.

In My Skin

My skin is too tight and too sensitive.
It crawls with electric currents that don’t allow it to be at ease.
It prickles and puckers as the breeze blows by and kisses my scars,
But worst of all it hugs and clings to my sins.

The mirror, it frightens me.
All I see are my fears and disdain,
I want to break free of my skin,
Shed it and start anew again.

Work, Work, Work and Too Much Self-Doubt

So I’ve got a new job. Not a very taxing one but still enough to freak me out. I’m so happy that I have now been there a week and THEY HAVEN’T FIRED ME!

Yeh I know. I have kinda low expectations.

I’ve been surprised that apparently people “like” me and no one has yet realised that I am a complete invalid with no brain…. there is still time though!!!

Apart from a slight mis-hap when they ordered me a short-sleeved uniform rather than a long-sleeved one (they then told me not to worry, they wouldn’t ask why I wanted sleeves…. wtf?! subtle) then this week has been fine. In the summer sun, I have been sweating and smelling in a uniform jumper over my shirt but hey! Who really cares?

I’m fighting the inner critic who is trying to convince me that they want me out. I was  given additional responsibilities the last few days and immediately presumed that this was a sly way of telling me that I wasn’t pulling my weight and needed to do more….

So what have I learnt over the past seven days?

For one, that you have got quash, or at least ignore, that niggling self-doubt. You will never achieve if you give in to it.

Secondly, you should give yourself an opportunity to prove yourself. Every-one feels like a fraud but that does not mean that you can not do it.

Over and out!

Being the New Girl

I started my new job on Monday. Hands shaking, eyes twitching and feeling sick to the stomach I walked in and nothing went horrendously wrong for the entire shift! Hooray!

Retail, as much as it is easier, I don’t think it is my cup of tea; I much preferred the long hours and back-ache of when I was a care-assistant at a nursing home. The sad thing is, is that I am paid more in my current job than I was whilst working in the nursing home. I had vastly more responsibility and not just over wether things were correctly priced or that I was able to advise people on our latest launches and  special offers, but over peoples’ wellbeing.

Grrrrr it makes me angry. I loved my job assisting the elderly and infirm.

People are so stupid. Of course you aren’t going to retain staff if they are paid minimum wage, have long working days and are often short-staffed!

I couldn’t go back though. My arms snaked with scars for one. The other being that everyone waived me off to uni and I couldn’t face showing my face there again. I would also do a typical me thing of working ridiculous hours, signing up for every shift going and letting my job become my identity.

I think it would be too anxiety provoking as well. Too many questions. I want to go back so bad though. Ahhhhhh!!!! In truth, I think I just want to avoid being the new girl again.

Detached, Distorted

So I’m sat on the top of a hill in the local park. My dog is sate at my feet gnawing at a stick and yet again I feel disconnected. Have you ever seen the child-line video on depression? Probably not but that is pretty much a great way of explaining the bizarre things that are going on in my head. There is some invisible smog surrounding me that is multiplying and muting simultaneously all of my colours and senses.

I am lost. I want to cry and yet I can’t. I know that I should stop wallowing and retreating into myself and yet I can’t. I can’t help but feel that I am somehow lying to my psychologist as I am pathetically shit at putting anything into words. I am turning myself into a victim; a victim of absolutely nothing. I know that I can, it is just that I won’t.

My new job starts on Monday and I honestly couldn’t care less. I don’t  care about the job nor for the money. I am just shit scared that I will be serving people that I know and grew up with. I fear that they will be able to smell my failure.

Worst of all, I’m having nightmares that my mother will waltz up to me and not recognise me. She will pick up a bottle of her perfume and pay for it and say to me “I had wanted my daughter to get this for me for Mothers’ Day”.

I sat and pathetically scraped at my arm. I am no longer causing much, if any, damage when I self-harm and I hate myself for it. Both for damaging my skin and for not committing to my self-destruction. Now that it is summer, everyone has migrated outside into my sacred territory that I had claimed over the winter. There is no solitude.

My arm is swollen from it’s recent assault and my stomach bloated from my recent heavy drinking. I want to let go. I want to let myself free-fall, I can’t though. I crave control too much.

Hello Mr Sunshine….

It would appear that as the sun has finally reached the UK, I have scuttled in doors and shut myself away from everyone and everything. A bit like woodlice or, as I used to call them when I was younger, cheesey-bugs.

I just don’t know what to wear. Simple as that really. Summer seems to signal to the rest of the world that you can suddenly re-emerge from your winter woolies into your tight tops and vibrant colours. At the moment I am very much in denial as to the seasonal changes. I am proud though, I have managed to move from wearing mostly black and bleak clothes to mixing it up with lighter greys. I know, impressive!

It is something that I have always had a problem with. Before the scars and the acne. It comes from a fundamental discomfort in my own skin. I hate the fact that I can’t be comfortable as I am. I know that it is not an issue with my appearance, it is an issue with self-acceptance. I now look back at pictures of my younger self where I truly thought I was ugly and obviously larger than my friends and wonder why?. What a waste.

In therapy on Monday, I was asked what I wanted to get out of the sessions. I said ” I want to be able to get through Medical School”.

Yeah, a tall order. She commented on my high expectations and told me to think about it. I now know what I want to sort. Actually need to sort. I need to start to respect my body and stop abusing it. I want to wear skirts and dresses and stop being afraid of looking ‘like a girl’. I should embrace my youth and imperfections and dance into the sun. Happy dancing guys!

A Different Kind of Hangover

I’m not talking about alcohol. I’m talking panic attacks. Well maybe a little bit of both.

Last night, for the first time in four weeks, the monster returned. Because it had been a while since my last one, this one caught me by surprise. Yes, I’d had a drink and was not sober but I feel that as much as that wouldn’t have helped, I can’t understand what caused it. That is the most stressful part of the whole situation. I am shattered and vulnerable. I’m short of breath, dizzy and shaky. I call it my panic attack hangover.

I don’t suffer much from alcohol hangovers as ibuprofen, water and carbs usually sort me out pretty quickly. I’m not sure what to do with the other type.

I do have propranolol, but it is a beta blocker and my heart rate is not elevated so I feel that that wouldn’t sort anything. I think the only cure for this one is time, a good shower and my cosy cardi.

If anyone has any advice as to how to deal with this, it would be much appreciated.

April Fools and Dog-napping

For the first time in a long time, I actually remembered April Fools Day before being fooled myself. Impressed by this I thought I’d give it a go and see how scarily easy, albeit uncomfortable, it is to lie.

I went out last night clubbing and, whilst still under the influence of too many shots of vodka, I met a woman with a german shepherd so text my dad telling him that I’d fallen in love with it. Yes I am that person who will be guaranteed to find the dog at a party! Using this to further convince him, whilst hungover this morning, I messaged him saying that I’d woken up with this german shepherd and had no clue how I’d come to be in possession of it. Needless to say, he fell for it hook line and sinker, rang me and began searching for the nearest RSPCA or police station. He gave me a background story that I’d found him wondering around so took him home for the night and everything.

Thank you Dad for believing that stealing a dog would be the kind of drunken thing I’d do. At least I now know who I can turn to, to help bury a body should I ever need to!