Tattoos are known conversation starters, and a 20-year-old Oregon woman’s new ink is doing just that.
Rebekah “Bekah” Miles, a junior at George Fox University, in Newberg, got a tattoo symbolizing her struggle with depression and posted about it on Facebook on Sunday, Aug. 23 to raise awareness of the mental disorder. Since then, the post has gone viral— garnering over 324,000 shares, 398,000 likes and 37,000 comments as of Tuesday morning.
The tattoo is on her left thigh and reads “I’m fine” to people facing her but “Save me” from her viewpoint.
“To me, it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all,” Miles wrote in her post. “It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves.”
Miles told Fox 12 Oregon that she was inspired to get the tattoo after one of her psychology professors at George Fox, Dr. Kristina Kays, spoke about her plight with depression.
“I decided a few years back that it was something that would be important for my students to know that It wasn’t just other people but it’s people they know and there is a way out,” Kays told Fox 12 Oregon.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 16 million American adults suffer from depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) says depression carries the heaviest burden of disability among mental and behavioral disorders.
Miles wrote in her post that she hopes her tattoo helps eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
“Mental illness is not a choice and will likely hit everyone at some point in their life,” she wrote. “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.”