Rebekah Miles is a 21-year-old college student in Oregon. She got a tattoo and posted it on her Facebook page and it got about 450,000 likes. Her post went viral because it’s a tattoo that clearly says one thing to other people and something entirely different to her.
The tattoo was designed by a suicide prevention group called Samaritans of Singapore, and Rebekah says it represents her daily struggle with depression.
“It means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, it is not okay at all. It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves.”
Rebekah’s Facebook page starts with an apology to her parents about getting a tattoo. And she follows up with a confession that she is “coming out.” That would probably set most parents back, but Rebekah goes on to say that she’s coming out publicly about her mental illness, depression.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness.
In her Facebook post, she talks about how difficult it is for her to open up and be vulnerable about her depression. She included a poem that she had written which reads, in part…
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.
Rebekah hopes her tattoo will raise awareness of mental health issues like depression, and in that regard it certainly looks like she succeeded. Included in the 450,000 likes was one, including a comment, from Ashton Kutcher.
We wish you the best Rebekah.
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