Tattoo with a double meaning helps stop stigma around mental health

Mental health tattoo (KATU News photo)

When you first meet Bekah Miles you're immediately at ease with her. The 23-year-old comes off confident and together, but she says that hasn't always been the case.

“I just slowly started declining,” Miles said.

While a sophomore in college at George Fox University, she started noticing changes -- she no longer felt like herself. The things she used to love no longer held her interest.

“I wasn't getting out of bed, I wasn't going anywhere or hanging out with friends, I wasn't doing anything I used to enjoy,” Miles said.

In 2014, Miles was diagnosed with depression. She began getting the help she desperately needed.

“In retrospect, I definitely was depressed. I just didn't realize it. I thought it was normal, I thought it was normal what I was feeling,” Miles said.

Nine months later, she got a tattoo, one she says perfectly described who she had been all these years.

“It was that facade that I always had all the time, that I had it all together and everything going right, I wasn't struggling,” Miles said.

From one side the tattoo says, 'I’m fine' a phrase Miles often used.

From the other side it reads, 'Save me' - a feeling she often felt.

“It just captured my mental illness and depression perfectly,” Miles said.

From there, she took to Facebook, to tell her friends and family the secrets she had been keeping.

“I posted it to my Facebook with the single hope of at least helping one person,” Miles said.

Now, three years later, it's her life’s work to help others and stop the stigma.

“Because there is that normal expectation that people wont talk about this so when you do break that silence you are so brave,” Miles said.

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