General attitudes and behaviors surrounding mental illness are testament to how little people actually understand about the different mental illnesses affecting such a large portion of the population–which turns out to be around 44 million people in the U.S. alone (or one out of every five adults).
This is largely due to the fact that most people suffering from mental illness don’t feel comfortable talking about it with friends and family. “I’m fine” is the go-to phrase and attitude, when in reality, ‘fine’ is the last word they’d choose to describe how they’re feeling.
20-year-old Bekah Miles wanted to start a conversation about her mental illness, and decided the best way to go about doing so was getting a tattoo that adequately describes her every day struggles.
The tattoo rests on the lower part of her left thigh and reads, in a beautiful handwritten typeface, “I’m fine.” That’s what everyone looking at the tattoo will see, but what Bekah sees, as she looks down at it from her perspective, are the words “Save me.”
Bekah of course wanted to show off her tattoo, but she also decided to finally open up about her mental illness and the difficulty it places on her life every day.
“Today, I am coming out with something that only few of you know,” Bekah wrote. “I am ready to have a conversation about my mental illness.”
While Bekah’s depression has been with her for years, an actual diagnosis was given to her just last year, after she was so depressed she could barely function on a normal level.
“So today, I got this tattoo,” Bekah continues. “..When everyone else sees it, they see ‘I’m fine,’ but from my viewpoint, it reads ‘save me.’ To me, it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all. It reminds me that people who may appear happy, [sic] may be at battle with themselves.”
Bekah’s whole reasoning behind getting this tattoo is so that it will serve as somewhat of an icebreaker in social settings, saying:
“[The tattoo] forces me to talk about my own struggle, and why the awareness of it is important. You’d be surprised by how many people YOU know that struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. I may only be one person, but one can save another… and that’s all I could really ask for.”
The stigma people feel around their mental illness is something that often silences them. But Bekah thinks that this issue is bigger than we want to recognize, and it should be something we discuss on a big level. Her Facebook post has been shared over 350,000 times and has over 42,000 comments, most of which express a great deal of support, gratitude and love for Bekah’s message and goal.
Bekah’s tattoo might just be a little bit of ink etched into her left leg, but for her and millions of others around the world, it represents the war that they wage every day of their life. It represents the pain and suffering of people who are silently crying out for help, unsure of how to get the help they need and feeling shamed because of how they feel.
Thank you Bekah for having the courage to bring up a topic that needs to be talked about, but rarely is