A year or so ago there were several articles and pictures that circulated around the social media platforms where people who struggled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or other mental health concerns got tattoos to remind them of their strength. There was one in particular that started a conversation among our readers… you can read it here.
A concerned and confused individual send us the following message:
I get the message… But why would you want to be constantly reminded that you suffering. Even on your greatest day all you need to do is look down and know that you are in fact not okay, that every day you will be depressed…?”
Here’s our response for all those who may have the same thoughts or concerns.
By getting a tattoo or other reminder of your mental health struggle is a way of taking control of the situation. It’s not a reminder that we are broken or suffering. It’s a way to remind us that it’s okay not to be okay and a reminder of our strength as we go through each day with our struggles. For some people it’s a way to take control over the situation. Some people get tattoos, others get a piece of jewelry or something else tangible.
Personally (Nichole), I have a ring that reminds me of a struggle that I went through. At the time I didn’t think I was going to ever get to a place where I wouldn’t cry whenever I thought of it. I felt like I needed closure, but it wasn’t a situation where that would come easily. So I went out and bought a ring to signify the closure. I wanted something that would stay close to me and tattoos weren’t an option for me. I figured a ring would be the next best thing for me. When I look at the ring it doesn’t remind me of the pain that I went through during that struggle, it reminds me that I made it through and is a reminder to stay strong – even when it feels like my world is crashing down around me.
Here’s another story submitted to us by our readers…
Hi my name is Rebecca. I found interest in the reminder of my strength because I personally have a tattoo that does it for me. It originally started when I was 4. I burnt my hand on hot embers of a fire and was hospitalized for a month. I had many surgeries, it was a long month. It was the first time I had to be strong. My family and friends always gave me the thumbs up and I returned the gesture to say “I’m good” without having to say anything at all. It became the symbol.
A couple years ago, in my second year of university my grades started dropping and I continued to skip class and lost all motivation. Depression hit me hard. Leading up to this point there was a lot of deaths and change in my life that finally broke me.
Years of loss took its final toll. I was diagnosed with depression a year ago and finally dealt with the losses I had buried deep down.
My tattoo is a thumbs up behind my right ear (for my burnt right hand) and reminds me of that strong little 4 year old. It reminds me of my family that was there for me in that time and also now. It reminds me that with them I can get through anything. It reminds me that as much as I would like to try to handle it on my own I can’t and that I need my family and friends to give me that thumbs up.
What is your reminder of strength? Share it with us in the comments below!