Healing, happiness and the beauty of my recovery

I was sat in the autumn sunshine at the weekend. I was feeling happy. It’s a rare feeling for me, any happy I have usually has a small undercurrent of my ever present anxiety running through it. But the sun was shining, I had a pint in my hand, was in great company and I felt relaxed and happy. Carefree almost.

I sipped my drink as I listened to my companions chatting away, it was warm and I was wearing a t-shirt. I’m not so self conscious of my scars these days, they’re part of me and my history and whilst I regret one or two of them, I don’t hate them so much.

The sun lit up the silvery lines of my scars and made them shimmer slightly in the bright light. For a moment I ran my hand across them, trying to hide them or rub them out so the others wouldn’t see, but I can’t erase them, so I paused and made a conscious choice to admire their beauty rather than be ashamed of them. I looked at the shimmering silver on my arms, like rivulets of precious metal running over my flesh and I was reminded of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. It literally means “golden joinery”. It’s a beautiful thing and rather plain and ordinary bowls and dishes become breathtaking and rather astonishing works of art when they are repaired in this way. I am Kintsugi. I am an ordinary thing made beautiful by my scars; the rivulets my of scars in shades of silver and platinum show the world my recovery. They tell everyone how I am healed and that I am stronger because of these shimmering silver lines, not in spite of them.

I am Kintsugi. I am beautiful.


How I Minimised My Cigarette Burn Scars

When I’ve struggled with my mental health, I’ve self harmed. I’ve burnt myself with cigarettes and I have the scars to prove it. Read on to find out how I Minimised my Cigarette Burn Scars.

During the depths of my depression last year I self harmed. I’ve always found ways to hurt myself, but these were probably my first acts of visible violence against myself. I’m not proud of my actions, but I’m not ashamed of my scars either, they tell a story about me.

When you have a blog you can see what search terms people use to find it, most days someone somewhere taps “cigarette burn scars” into Google and lands up on my blog. Hi there if that’s you, welcome, you’re not alone. I’ve burnt and cut myself, the scars will never disappear, but they have faded. I suspect that’s what you want to know.

I burnt myself and am I scarred forever? Yes, probably, but do read on.

It depends entirely on how you burnt yourself in the first place. I used to rest a lit cigarette on my arm until it bubbled up. Thankfully I never ground it into my flesh. I guess if you’ve done that your scars will be worse.

My scars (pictured below) are about a year old now. I can still see them, I know what they are, I know what they represent. I have very mixed feelings about them. It’s worse for me in the summer when I’m wearing t-shirts and my scars are always on display. They’re less obvious now, they probably look a bit like blemishes. Winter and long sleeves are easier, the reminders of my struggles with depression and anxiety are less evident.

Cigarette burn scars

Like me, if you’ve burnt yourself with a cigarette then it can take up to two years for the scar to fade as much as it ever will. If you’ve just burnt yourself then it’s advisable to treat it immediately as you would with any burn; which is apply ice or run under cold water for at least 15 minutes. If it looks bad or infected then please see a Doctor.

Once you’ve burnt yourself there are a few things you can do to help the healing process. What you use depends on your skin type. Some products will work better than others for you. Vitamin E oils and capsules applied to the scar regularly can help reduce the scarring. Bio Oil can help too and Aloe Vera is renowned for its healing properties. If the scarring is bad then microdermabrasion could be an option, but you’ll probably have to pay for that yourself.

I doubt my scars will fade any more than they have done, so I need to learn to live with them, they’ll serve as a reminder to me of how far I’ve come. Your scars are your own. Like me you might have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. Remember they do tell the story of you; of your pain and how you’ve survived and continue to survive.

Note: I am not a doctor. This does not constitute medical advice. This is just my experience of having and trying to minimise cigarette burn scars.


How I Minimised My Cigarette Burn Scars

Mental Health Awareness Month 2014

This May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the UK we have Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year is 12th-18th May. This year the focus is on anxiety which is something which affects a huge amount of people, me included.

Given that a lot of people who Google “Anxiety” seem to end up on my blog, reading about my struggles, mainly with anxiety, but also depression, self harming and suicidal thoughts, I thought it was about time I pulled together an anthology of my misery and musings on mental health.

Some are hopeful and positive, some are me bouncing off the walls bonkers, most are me just getting things out of my head and making me feel better. Have a root around, please have a read about what takes your fancy, ignore what doesn’t. If you find something useful, or something that resonates then great.

If you’re struggling reach out, reach out to a friend, a lover, your GP, The Samaritans, anyone. Someone will listen and although it might not feel like it right now or when you’re in a dark hole, someone will care. You are not alone.

So in no particular order…

mental health


rejectionIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I have some issues around mental health, most of which centre around my self esteem which took a tumble when I was about 3 years old and never quite recovered.

As and when issues occur, it’s not hard for me to trace their roots back to my self esteem or lack of it. I have a monumental deficit of self-worth and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

This week in the cray-cray mind of Miss Jane, I’ve been wrestling with the thorny topic of rejection. This is not new, I talked about my feelings about rejection in therapy last year, like most things discussed in therapy they take a little while for me to process, this has taken 3 months.

Everyone faces rejection; it’s a fact of life. But not everyone magnifies and twists it like I do, so it becomes something much bigger than it ought to be. Some examples…

I fancy a pint, I say to a friend “let’s go for a pint” my friend says they’re busy but maybe tomorrow. The little voice in my head suggests that my friend hates me because I’m a selfish cow. I’m ugly, unattractive, terrible company, I’m not really their friend, that I’m pathetic and don’t deserve to live.

I ask my husband for a cuddle, he says no because he’s tidying the kitchen. The little voice in my head suggests that he hates me because I’m a selfish cow. He’s bored of me and our marriage. He finds me physically repugnant and can’t bear to touch me. He’s ashamed of me, being with me was a mistake and I don’t deserve to live.

Just two examples there of just everyday brush offs which I mentally work up into massive issues in my head. I know that my husband loves me and is just cleaning the kitchen; I know my friend is busy elsewhere. When I’m sane and thinking straight then it’s all ok, but when self esteem is biting, I really struggle not to have dark thoughts.

When something bigger happens, a greater rejection or a betrayal, then my world crumbles. Then my dark thoughts become a self-harming, suicidal reality.

I almost certainly have Daddy issues (who doesn’t? Take a ticket and get to the back of the queue lady). My Dad is the most difficult man in the world to please. I will never, ever make him happy or proud of me, not overtly anyway, not so he’d ever be moved to tell me or show me.

When I was growing up he rejected me over and over, this and lots of other things destroyed my self esteem. So the little voice in my head that tells me I’m worth so little I don’t deserve to live also, tells me that my Daddy doesn’t love me, and I’ll never, ever be good enough for him or for anyone.

So each and every rejection, small or large just underlines the fact that I am unworthy, I am a terrible, unattractive, miserable, pathetic waste of an existence. Those all might well be true. They might well just be the nasty little voice in my head. I’m trying to find another voice who can defend me, who’ll tell me I’m ok and funny and a little bit cute. It’s a whisper right now, but maybe someday it’ll become a roar.

Learning to live with and accept my scars

I am covered in scars. Sign of a life well lived or recklessly lived I don’t know. I only really regret one scar and I’m working on learning to live with and accept the rest. What is the story behind my scars and what do I really think of them?

I’ve got a number of scars on my wrist from when a glass panel fell out of a door when I was 6. I was lucky not to be cut to ribbons, but the scars are bad and I clearly remember seeing the white of the bone. For the record, bones are very white.

I have a cesarean section scar which is a reminder of my boy. I don’t regret that one bit. At the time, it was the only way for him to get out as he was stuck and we were both in trouble.

I have my back surgery scars. Twice this year I’ve been sliced and diced, so the scar is a very ugly one but hopefully will fade in time. A necessary scar because without it I’d likely be in agony and paralysed. I don’t regret that.

I have had many and various skin conditions so my legs are scarred. To figure out what was wrong I had a biopsy, so I’ve got that scar too which looks like a strange dimple in my calf, as well as marks from the skin conditions which are horrible.

My feet are in a shocking state. Years of secret self harming and picking at the scars have taken their toll. Look at the soles of my feet and you’d be shocked.

But the only scar that bothers me is the one on my hand. I cut it with the blade of some scissors, running the blade repeatedly over my flesh until it opened up. I wanted a visible reminder of my pain. Of that moment in my life which was both beautiful and terrifying. I cut it in June and the scar is still obvious and unlikely to ever really go away. I want it to fade because of what it represents but equally I want it to stay forever as a reminder.

Learning to live with My Scars
Self harm cigarette burn & the scissor scar

I look at my scars and I don’t think they’re ugly. I think they’re me. Others might think they’re ugly or disgusting or shocking but they are part of who I am. They are the map of my progress through life.

Read more ⇒ How I Minimised My Cigarette Burns
Read more ⇒ Healing, happiness and the beauty of my recovery


Learning to live with My Scars

Mental Health: Feeling insufferably bleak

Today I’m feeling low, really low. I’m feeling insufferably bleak. I woke up yesterday wanting to die but got on with my day. So I’m doing what I usually do, I’m writing all of the dark feelings out of my head and hoping I feel better on the other side of it.

My struggles with my own mental health are pretty well documented on this blog so feel free to check the mental health category if you want my back story.

Fact is if someone really want to kill themselves telling them how special they are probably wont stop them doing something unspeakable. It may help some, but I think that’s probably a rarity.

My life has been touched my suicide. Several people I know and love have taken their lives or tried to. It’s about the most horrific kind of pain you con inflict on your loved ones. I’ve seen both sides and both are awful places to be.

I’m feeling low right now and my answer is to blog it. A huge number of blog posts I’ve written I’ve never published for fear they were too bleak. They probably were but to write down my feelings got them out of my head and that did help.

I’ve had a good four weeks, I’ve been feeling chipper. I felt my balance of meds was alright and I was exercising and getting stronger. I’d cut my drinking right down and I’d started eating reasonably regularly too. I saw my GP last week and they wanted to increase my meds. I nodded sagely and agreed but I didn’t want to increase my dose. Things were fine, I felt fine, so why mess with the balance.

Yesterday, suicidal, wanting to self harm I realised they were right. But I’m not going to, not for a few days, I want to see if I can work it out myself, dig myself out of my bleak depressive little hole.

My self confidence is so fragile that all it takes is a small knock for me to be bruised inside. I’m working hard to improve me, why can’t others see that and appreciate me. At the same time I feel so immeasurably selfish for thinking that way. Why should anyone notice or pay me a compliment. Why? I’m worth nothing to them so why is my self worth so bound up in what they think? I’ll work it out.

So if you know someone on the brink, someone depressed, do tell them what they mean to you, how irreplaceable they are and what a wonderful, beautiful human being they are. It might help, it might not, but if the worst happens then at least you know that they knew what you meant to them. It could save a life.

Mental Health: Feeling insufferably bleak

Read more of my mental health posts here.

Internal Dialogue

What to do? Should I listen to the destructive voice in my head? Just now I had a conversation with myself that went like this.

You’re hungry, eat.

No you’ve not eaten since yesterday and you ate a full meal.

You’re hungry, eat.

No, you’ve lost another pound since yesterday, keep it up.

But you’re really hungry, eat.

Maybe I could have a plum. No if I eat that it’ll make the hunger worse.

It’s just a plum. Eat it.


But you’re going to do some exercise now, you need the energy.

No. I’ll drink some water instead.

Fair enough. You really are ill you know.

I know.