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Woman uses clever tattoo to address mental illness

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CANBY, Oregon — One in four American adults suffers from mental illness.

Bekah Miles is one of them. She suffers from depression.

To bring awareness and perspective about her mental illness, Bekah decided to put a mark on her leg to portray what it happening in her mind and her heart.

“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,” she wrote in a Facebook post revealing her new ink.

The tattoo, when seen from any passerby, says “I’m fine.” But from Bekah’s view, it begs “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,” she writes.

Miles goes on to express her feelings of depression in poem form.

“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.”

Bekah admits that it’s “extremely hard for [her] 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?”

So she got a tattoo…to start conversations. And that’s exactly what she’s done.

Once Miles’ story started going viral, she wanted to clear the air about certain criticisms she was getting for her tattoo.

“I did not make the design for the tattoo. And no, I did not copy anyone else’s. Yes, other people have this tattoo, but it’s not the tattoo itself that is going viral…it is what I have said about it and the meaning behind it. That’s why it resonates so well with people.”


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