My scars are a mark of a difficult time that feels now, almost unimaginable.
I went through a pretty serious bout of depression for a few years, starting quite suddenly when I was around fourteen or fifteen.
I had no severe childhood trauma, no messed up home life, but I felt (and I understand now how much of this was down to those pesky teenage hormones) like I was completely and utterly useless...
I started to self harm because it 'made me feel alive' (and I cringe as I write that because it sounds so clichéd, but I can't think of any more accurate words to describe it) - it wasn't enjoyable, just a reminder, I guess, that I could still experience some sort of sensation from something.
All of this was made worse by the constant internal reminders that I really didn't have anything to be depressed about.
Thankfully, I had some amazing friends who dragged me through my teenage years and helped me sort my life out. They helped me through coming out, dealing with an eating disorder, going through counselling...not careering off down the road of self-destruction basically, was down to the support (and kicks up the arse) from my friends and family.
I don't even know how to explain that feeling to someone who has never had it. Almost like being in a trance mixed with a hangover, just complete zombie mode.
I remember lying in bed staring at the wall for hours, and cutting was a way to make that numbness go away.
Now I have these scars that sometimes, for weeks on end I don't even look at or remember, and then sometimes I am intensely aware of them.
I think I might get some tattoos around some of them one day.
I actually don't mind them so much anymore.
I used to wear trousers and long sleeves all the time.
Now I guess I'm not as bothered and they're not as visible.
People (young people especially) sometimes go "WHAT ARE THOSE ON YOUR ARM?!" - that used to make me flinch and mumble something nonspecific, now I can talk about them.
It was something I was incredibly secretive about, and asking for any sort of help felt like it was made harder by the fact that a bit of a culture had built up around self harm.
There was a sort of status attached to it by some people (people putting pictures of their cut wrists on myspace) which made me desperate not to be included in that camp of 'attention seekers'.
I don't think my story is particularly unique, but I think the voices (especially male voices) stepping up to talk about these things are pretty quiet.
I am trying to be brave. I hope other people will too.