My Tattoos Are Helping Me Heal From My Depression And Anxiety

My Tattoos Are Helping Me Heal From My Depression And Anxiety

My relationship with my body and myself is improving every day, and I credit this as one of the reasons.

539
views

I'm in recovery from an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. It's safe to say that mental health has become a significant part of my life over the last couple of years.

I have three tattoos which are all mental health related, and I like to think that each one represents a different condition I have and the struggles and triumphs that I've had in recovery. The first is a lotus flower on my arm, which symbolizes something beautiful coming out of darkness, as the lotus grows in dark, muddy water, and turns into something beautiful. This represents my anxiety, and all the dark days I've had with it, as well as all the beauty that has come from me dealing with my mental illness head-on.

My second tattoo is a Maya Angelou quote, "Still I Rise" on my ankle, which I got the first time I discharged from a higher level of care for my eating disorder. This tattoo represents my ongoing struggles with my eating disorder and the fact that even though I've been knocked down several times, I will continue to rise and fight this illness.

My last tattoo is a semicolon on my wrist, which is representative of my battle with depression. It is inspired by Project Semicolon which states that an author has the choice to end a sentence, but when they use a semicolon they choose to carry on and keep going. This is especially powerful in the context of suicide prevention, and my own personal struggles with suicidal ideation.

I believe that these pieces are helping me heal in a number of ways. First, I am extremely proud of how far I've come in my mental health journey, and I love to talk and be open about this experience. I feel I can wear this tattoos proudly, as almost battle scars that show where I've been and where I'm still headed. I feel a sense of pride looking at each of them every day, and believe they keep me going even when I'm struggling.

Second, my tattoos represent parts of my body that I actually truly appreciate, and enjoy. So much of my life has been me hating my body, and my eating disorder really contributes to that. My tattoos give me something on my body that I don't want to pick apart, and this has helped me progress towards body neutrality and acceptance.

Finally, my tattoos show that I am an ally for others struggling with mental health issues, and they also help start and continue the dialogue. Just recently I was out at dinner and explained to a family friend the premise of the semicolon tattoo and why it's so meaningful to me.

My family has known about this tattoo for almost a year and got a renewed understanding about depression and suicide prevention in my talking about it. I am so proud that my tattoos spark conversation about mental health and my own struggles, and show others that I am there for them as well.

I love getting asked about my tattoos, what they mean, and why I got them. They are helping me heal through some of the most challenging parts of this journey, and I'm glad to tell everyone who asks about what I've been through and to remind them that I am a mental health ally as well.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's photo

Popular Right Now

Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
19807
views

This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Love Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Each other, friends, family, YOURSELF

JordynL
JordynL
254
views

During the holiday season, it can be rough. There's all kinds of stresses that take place, and some of which we can't control- and that's okay. With Christmas being around the corner, we always worry about what to get for certain people that are of monetary value, but we overlook the most important gift of all; love.

1. Each Other 

c1.staticflickr.com

In the world that we live in, there are struggles and always will be. Nothing will ever be completely equal and peaceful, though we try so hard and will continue to do so. But around the holidays, our country always manages to pull together as one, United, as we should be. We celebrate, raise money, donate gifts, clothes, etc., all to help out our fellow man. I personally think it's amazing that we can put aside our differences and "love thy neighbor" during these times because it just makes things more peaceful and worthwhile. It's important to be compassionate, understanding, and considerate. We can manage to do this around the holidays, so we need to remember and try to do this all year 'round. Lord knows that'll take some time, but we'll get there eventually. Just love each other.

2. Friends

Giphy

Love your friends. Always. If you're anything like me, you go through moments where some things are just too much. As a result, you don't want to worry or stress out your family, so you turn to friends- your second family. There have been (many) times where I wouldn't let my family be there for me, so I would turn to my friends for love and support. My family knows this and are understanding. My mom was actually the one that brought this up to me a few weeks ago and she expressed that she was happy that I had people to turn to like that; that I have friendships so strong that it's an option. Although she was happy about it, I know she is saddened at the fact that I feel that way sometimes.

Point is, appreciate your friends. Love your friends. Tell them these things. Part of who you've become is because of your friends; past, present, and future. They're always there when you need them, through the good and bad. Along with your family, they tolerate your bullshit more than anyone else, so make them feel loved and worthy- that you're proud to be sharing a journey with them.

To my close friends, some I see everyday and some that have drifted, I love you. I consider y'all my family. You know I don't have any siblings, so you are the closest thing I have and I appreciate you guys more than you know. Some of us have had some pretty heated fights, but we always managed to come back stronger. So Shelby, T, Cam, Faith, and Dalton: I love y'all so much. Thank you for everything.

3. Family

My uncle doesn't like taking pictures. Especially with how long it takes me to take them :(((

Personal Photo

Your family has put up with your shenanigans from day one. Or even before day one when you were kicking and doing all kinds of crazy stuff in the womb. And when you were born? Good lord. Your parents, your family, has dealt with everything that you've done your entire life. They laughed with you, disciplined you, and supported you through everything that you've done (whether it's behind the scenes or right up in everything). From close quarters or from a distance, your family has seen you grow and, more than likely, they are proud of you. They, especially your parent(s), deserve all the love you can give them because, after all, they gave you all of theirs and then some. They didn't do everything for nothing. They want you to succeed, even if they show it in odd ways.

As for my family, they've all had my back in different ways and I couldn't be more grateful (even when it seems like I'm not).

*My mom, my biggest fan and loudest cheerleader, has been there for everything that I've done: band concerts, marching band/winterguard performances, award ceremonies, banquets (even helping the Band Boosters when she could --and when she could tolerate them--), graduation, college tours, and every single move-in day. She's been my kick-in-the-ass all throughout school, ensuring that I do well. She's been my worst enemy, but most importantly, my shoulder to cry on when I'm upset or just so frustrated. She's been my *metaphorical* shrink, voice of reason, comedic relief, hero, and my best friend.

*My dad, my behind-the-scenes and occasional-audience supporter, fellow movie enthusiast, and opportunity provider. He's normally working so he can provide for my mom and I in every way possible, but always tries his best to be there for the super important moments: state championships, banquets, birthdays, graduation, college tours, even participated in move-in day this year! He's always up for a movie, and as far as I'm concerned, is MVP with this one because he got us tickets to EVERY midnight release of every. single. Twilight movie (when I was into it). Not a lot of dads would do that, especially for a midnight showing, but he did and I won't forget that- because we froze our asses off. He provided the opportunity for my trip to Europe, along with spending money (and added more when I ran out -different currencies suck-). He provides my college education so I can follow my dream (along with mom still giving me a kick in the ass so I get good grades). But more importantly, he's my hero (literally- because Veteran).

*My memee (reminder of the whole Midwest/southern term for grandma), my other best friend, my other biggest fan, gossip buddy, home away from home, voice of reason, and inspiration to go to OSU. You know how they say "like mother, like daughter"? (there's the dad thing too, but yeah) That may be true, but I've got a huge chunk of my memee in me and I always have. We were already kindred spirits and it's becoming more obvious the older I get. We never have to go out to have fun. We can just sit in the apartment, watch Law And Order: SVU, and gossip about whatever for HOURS. She's my partner in crime, and my designated "we'll do something even if it's wrong" person.

*My uncle, my designated college football shit-talker (I can't help that he picked the wrong team to support), protector against guys, STFU enthusiast, and another voice of reason. From a distance, and sometimes not from a distance, he's one of my biggest defenders in all aspects, especially when my mom and I are going at it. And at the end of the day, he supports everything I do (even if most of it is at the "wrong" school). By the way, Go Pokes Bub :)

I owe these people specifically the BIGGEST thank you and love. I wouldn't be who I am without these four. They've each pushed me to success and supported everything I've done, being the rowdiest bunch of people in a crowd. I don't normally say gushy things about or to my family, but here it is. I love y'all so much and I couldn't have done any of this without you.

4. Last but certainly not least, YOURSELF

upload.wikimedia.org

If you don't have love for yourself, it's nearly impossible to love anyone else (normally for relationships, but same concept). There's so much negativity in the world that makes us feel bad about ourselves, and it doesn't help that a large chunk of it is personal. Everyone can say whatever they want to you, but it will only bother you if you allow it. Don't let other people knock you off your pedestal, strip you of your crown, or take your thrown. You're a queen (or king) and you need to realize that. Love yourself. ALL OF YOURSELF. You're you for a reason. If you're going through tough times, remind yourself that you're better than that. You're better than what they say. You're better than what you allow yourself to believe. You're you. Embrace it. Embrace the sass, stretch marks, cellulite, whatever. Nothing can bring you down if you don't allow it. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

JordynL
JordynL

Related Content

Facebook Comments