Ask Angela: I suffered from depression, should I hide my cutting scars for my mission?

Published: Monday, March 10 2014 2:10 p.m. MDT

A reader asks Angela whether she should cover her scars while on her mission.

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Dear Angela,

One of my arms is covered with self-harm scars. I usually use this cream/makeup that helps blend them and make them less noticeable or I just wear longer sleeves. I'm OK with my scars. They are my battle wounds. But I get lots of questions and stares if they are visible. The makeup is expensive and I am not bringing that much. Plus, I will be serving in Tampa so I can't wear long sleeves year round. I am great at hiding them in the winter but I don’t know about hot summers. Would it be bad to just let them be scars and not cover them at all?

Thanks,

Sister Missionary

Dear Sister Missionary,

Congrats on your mission call, and thank you for sharing your question!

My immediate answer is that your instincts are right, let your scars be.

I think a lot of men and women who leave for their missions worry to some degree about the past that they bring with them.

"I've been less active," "I don't have very much education," "I've suffered from depression," etc., etc.

We've all experienced the vicissitudes of life before we put on that missionary badge. It was my experience, however, that everything that I felt a little uncomfortable about, by the help of the gospel, transformed into something that helped me to better understand, relate to and serve God's children. I'm confident that you'll have similar experiences.

Bring your makeup and a few long-sleeved cotton shirts, just in case you feel like you need them. Also, talk to your mission president and his wife and get their counsel on this topic. They may have helped other elders and sisters in similar situations.

And lastly, keep your eyes open for the person in Tampa, Fla., who needs to see you, meet you, and hear your specific and unique testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can’t wait to interview you when you return!

Love,

Angela

Readers: Did you bring any "baggage" with you on your missions? What advice could you give our Sister Missionary friend?

To read more Ask Angela like our Ask Angela Facebook page and visit the Ask Angela Blog.

Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the young single adult Mormon experience. Twitter: askange_column

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