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When Bekah Miles of Newberg, Oregon, was diagnosed with depression last year, the 20-year-old George Fox University student decided to make a bold statement to help people understand how it feels to live with the disorder. She got a tattoo that seems to say "I'm fine" but, when read from her viewpoint, actually says "Save me."
She posted a photo of the tattoo on Facebook along with a explanation of its meaning.
"To me, it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all," she wrote. "It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves."
After a poetic description of what depression feels like, Miles wrote that the reason she chose a tattoo is because it's a great way of getting the conversation started about an illness that is still considered taboo.
"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," she wrote. "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?"
She ended with a moving quote from Robin Williams that reads, "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."
The Facebook post quickly went viral, inspiring Miles to put up a follow-up post that urged people to keep the conversation going.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, call the United Way Helpline at 1 (800) 233-4357 or visit the National Network of Depression Centers (opens in new tab) today.
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My writing has regularly appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Salon, VICE, Guernica, The New York Observer, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more publications.
I was previously the Senior News Editor at Best Life Online and the Viral Content Editor in the Newsroom of Hearst Digital Media. My portfolio consists of a vast and diverse body of work that includes personal essays, lifestyle articles, breaking news posts, and viral content. My areas of expertise, however, are Russia, sex and relationships, and mental wellness.
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