It’s finally finished!

a cure for what ails you, major depression, self-harm, stigma, three hopeful thoughts

It's Finally Finished!

There’s really not much else to say about this tat, other than I’m really glad I had it done (and am finished with it now). I sat for 6 1/2 hours during my first session, 3 1/2 for the second, and two yesterday. I’ll have to go back for a touch-up, since I lost some color on the purple sections, but I’m quite pleased with the result. :3

If anyone’s in the market for a tattoo and lives in the Madison area, check out Ultimate Arts. Jim did this entire complicated, beautiful piece, and he’s an awesome person to chat with as well.

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I can make it through anything.

self-harm, suicidal ideation, three hopeful thoughts

I can make it through anything.

I lost my job on Friday due to excessive absences…too many doctor’s appointments, and I was unable to make up my hours. It’s very upsetting, but I understand the decision.

Yesterday, my best friend took me to Ultimate Arts to begin my thigh piece. I sat for six hours and started the color work before my body had had enough; I started getting shooting pains up through my hip and decided it was time to call it quits. I’m going back on September 16th to finish the color. I think I’ll go with bright blue, green, purple, and perhaps a bit of yellow as well.

I woke up this morning feeling very depressed, like I’m a burden to my husband and a failure for losing my job. But then I looked at my thigh and the tattoo on my wrist and realized that I’ve made it through so much already…this is hardly the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

I’m feeling a little emotionally raw but still hopeful.

Flashback: Resilient.

major depression, ptsd, rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, self-harm, stigma, suicidal ideation, three hopeful thoughts

Flashback: Resilient

Text and photo from January 5, 2013:

“This is my new wrist tattoo!

I chose the word “resilient” because my very first therapist, who I started seeing when I was 18, frequently used it to refer to me. It is the frank acknowledgement of a hard and often brutal life and a symbol of everything I have endured (an abusive alcoholic mother who wound up in prison when I was seven years old, years of bullying after that, a relationship in my teens that was abusive in every sense of the word, and my struggle with PTSD and MDD that began when I was very young).

I’d had suicidal thoughts for years, starting in my teens, but they were more abstract in the sense that I wanted to have an “escape plan” for if life somehow got messed up beyond repair–I never really intended to use it. When another major depressive episode began last July, I began to have the thoughts more and more often until dying was, more often than not, the first thing I thought of in the morning. My casual indifference to my own existence turned into a full-blown death urge, and the knowledge that I would hurt people if I “eliminated my own map” no longer mattered to me–all I could see was the pain, and I was tired of fighting it.

On September 10, 2012 (Suicide Awareness and Prevention Day), I actually decided to participate and wrote “LOVE” in tall, thin caps on my left wrist. I did so ironically, not believing it would actually raise awareness or prevent anything, but that night I got low enough again that I was considering going into the bathroom and quietly opening a vein while my husband slept in the next room.

But then I saw the word on my wrist and thought, “No, you can’t do it tonight, it’s way too fucked up (even for you) to finally do yourself in today.” From that moment, I decided to find a “motivator” each day to stay alive–one thing that made me feel, at least for the moment, that being alive was still worth it and that I should keep fighting the darkness in my head.

There have been countless days where just getting out of bed and staying alive has taken everything I have, and I have no doubt that there will be countless more. But this tattoo is a promise to myself that when I do die, it will not be by my own hand. I have survived being hurt by almost everyone I have cared about. I have endured some pretty unspeakable acts of abuse. I have fought against some of most hideously dark thoughts imaginable. When I have another dark night of the soul, I need to look at this tattoo on my wrist, inked right over the veins I’ve considered slicing into more times than I’d care to say, and remember that it would be a filthy goddamn shame to give up now.

This is a physical symbol of my commitment to getting well and staying well.”

Ink.

self-harm, stigma

I have a consultation at Ultimate Arts for my thigh piece tonight at 6:00. Rad! As I mentioned in a previous post, I have some self-harm scars on my right upper thigh. The habit was actually very recently acquired (January of this year) and aside from two slip-ups, I haven’t done it since mid-April, so I’m making progress. However, I want to get a big, colorful tattoo to cover the scars and also to deter myself from doing it again.

My therapist was pretty surprised to hear I hadn’t started earlier. She thinks that the tattoos (the one on my wrist was basically a “suicide prevention” tattoo) are more of a Band-Aid than anything. However, I think anything that will keep me from hurting myself while I work on addressing the emotions that prompt the self-harm is a good thing.

I’m planning on getting a big paisley cluster with floral designs and tree branches/roots worked into the shapes, as well as the first stanza of “Elm” by Sylvia Plath. I’m thinking 5″ x 9″ is a good size, though I might go larger depending on the artist’s ideas and guidance. I know fuckall (pardon my French) about tattooing, so I prefer to defer to the experts when it comes to the specifics.

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:

It is what you fear.

I do not fear it: I have been there.

Aside from the text and the concept, I’m giving the artist free reign to experiment with paisley as well as colors. I have absolutely no color preference (aside from not-orange and not-yellow). Blues and greens might look nice, but I’ve been drawn to violet lately. It’s an adventure!

Readers, are you painted? Do your tattoos have any special meaning?