I am so glad that you were brave enough to share this, and that the circumstances of my day lead me here to see your post...
The AMA and APA consider all gestures and evidence of self-harm to be indicators of 'BPD,' which I am sure you've heard and read over and over and over again. Screw that. I think your scars show that you have endured enormous amounts of pain, pain that you did not feel safe to express in 'typical' ways, pain that would not have been relieved through any other means of 'cutting' them out. I think that you should not be ashamed of your journey and the pain it included. Grieve your pain. Investigate new ways to express your pain if you wish to leave your skin out of it. Find other women who understand this journey and have chosen paths to healing that do not include labels, meds (?) and shame. The Icarus Project is a great place to begin looking. Also, peer-based, non-medical model counseling centers are very helpful. 'Radical' mental health collectives, etc.
I'd be totally willing to share my story and specific coping strategies, if you think that would be helpful to you.
Thank you for your response. I was diagnosed with BPD at one point but I do not believe I actually fit the symptoms. I do have a severe anxiety disorder and low-grade depression that has also been severe at some points. I am not depressed now but I am living with a lot of pain. I was physically & sexually abused and things come flooding back to me at the most random times. I'm also dealing with a chronic illness, a high-needs kid, and an unemployed spouse, so maybe the stress is just getting to me. I do need to consider therapy again but I guess I'm having trouble finding somewhere to go and don't have much money right now so I don't see how it will be possible, not to mention I have major trust issues and problems opening up so I don't know how effective therapy would be. If you are willing to share, I would appreciate if you shared more. I am just hurting so much.
Oh, Sister. I know what you're going through. I've been there and 'there' comes back to me even more powerfully during times of profound stress/fear. My spouse is also under-employed and threatened security (safety) is a big provoker for me. I HAVE to make sure to take care of myself. I know that sounds trite and pop-psych but what I mean is that I must participate (alone or with others) in activities which engage my mind (and values, and aesthetics) and also *relax* me. I can get MAJORLY balled up if I'm not careful. I read your life circumstances and totally understand where you're coming from, from old wounds to 'high need' - I've got very similar stuff here. So, actual coping strategies: I watch foreign films and documentaries after the kiddo has gone to bed. I learn about the lives of mad-brilliant women poets and artists. I walk the dog. I pick wildflowers with the kiddo (who always wants to do whatever is is that is making me feel better, and learning something SO valuable from that). I belong to and GREATLY benefit from a peer (free) mental health collective. I write in my journal. I doodle. I listen to the same music I listened to when I had a purple mohawk. I freely speak my truth and expect that the people around me, the people that love me, understand what I'm saying and care about me. If I didn't have that sense, that certainty - I'd be bashing my head in. There might be people who are not as sensitive to safety as I am. I grew up the way that I did and I cannot feign being typical. I will never be typical. I need to have reliably safe and predictable (as humanly possible) routines. I need warm baths and comfort foods. And you know? It's OK to indulge the myself with 'excess' healing gestures. The better I care for myself, the better mother/worker/daughter/lover/friend/activist I can be.