Last week, Bekah Miles, a 20-year-old woman from Canby, Oregon, took to her personal Facebook page to show off her new tattoo. But this was not the typical “look at me” social media post motivated by vanity. On the contrary, it was a brave “listen to me” post in which she selflessly exposed her personal struggle with depression hoping to “save another”.
On her timeline, Bekah posted the above photo of her wordplay tattoo, which reads “I’m fine” from an onlooker’s viewpoint, but “Save me” from hers. She accompanied the already thought provoking image with even more powerful text; a candid account of the battle that wages on inside of her because of her depression, coupled with an impassioned plea centered on the importance of talking openly about all forms of mental illness.
What Bekah wrote struck quite a chord that echoed well beyond her immediate circle of “friends”. In just over 9 days, her post has already been “liked” by nearly 430,000 people, shared almost 350,000 times, and has received over 40,000 comments.
Her words speak for themselves.
(Dear mom and dad, please don’t kill me over this permanent choice. I want you to hear me out.)
Today, I am coming out with something that only few of you know. I am ready to have a conversation about my mental illness.
Last year, I was diagnosed with depression. And in all honesty, I believe it was a problem for quite a while before that, but I think it just got worse to the point of hardly functioning.
So today, I got this tattoo. I feel that my leg was the best place for the meaning behind it. 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, may be at battle with themselves.
To me, depression is the days that I feel sad for no reason. Depression is the mornings that I don’t feel capable of getting out of bed. Depression is the sleeping too much, or sleeping too little. Depression is the homework that I never completed, simply because I didn’t feel like I was capable. Depression is the break downs I have over absolutely nothing. Depression is the eating too much, or eating too little. Depression is the nights I begin to cry because I feel so overwhelmed, even though everything is going right. Depression is the 50 pounds I carry in my chest at all times. Depression is the need to constantly be distracted (being on social media, playing video games, watching movies or shows, or working all the time) because I can’t trust myself with my thoughts for longer than 3 minutes. Depression is the friendships that have suffered because of my inability to function. Depression is the hurtful thoughts and actions I have towards myself. Depression is the tears I have because I don’t know why I feel so worthless, when I know I should feel happy.
This is one of the most difficult things to open up about because it’s extremely hard for me to feel vulnerable…but this needs to be talked about. Mental illness is serious, but so shamed in our society. We care so much for our physical health, but hardly a thing about our mental state. And that is seriously messed up. Mental illness is not a choice and will likely hit everyone at some point in their life. If it’s such a huge issue, why aren’t we having this conversation about it?
That’s why I got this tattoo; they are great conversation starters. This 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.
Maybe this is part of why I am so interested in psychology. I want to help people who feel the way I have—and still do—because it’s hell. And I don’t wish that upon anyone.
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” – Robin Williams
**Also, THANK YOU to the ones who have helped me in this battle. I would not be where I am without you.**