*Trigger Warning: Content related to suicidal thoughts, depression, and self-harm*
We all need a little reminder sometimes. Maybe it's to breathe when we're overwhelmed. That we're worthy when we're feeling insecure. That those dark moments will pass, and we'll come out stronger because of it. That's why we encouraged you to share your #inkboxNoteToSelf
In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we teamed up with inkbox customers and creators to talk about mental health. Together, we can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and lift each other up through personal stories. These tattoos were all created on our custom platform and helped to empower these individuals.
"Life is a giant anxiety-inducing journey. If you are anything like me you over-analyze every action and decision (this caption included) making sure it’s the most beneficial or morally correct one, or both, to the point that you get incapacitated by the dilemma. It could be a simple yes or no to a trivial question, but it feels like the fate of the universe depends on it. It’s ridiculous, I know! So ridiculous that the anxiety spirals out into an all-out crisis of meaning and purpose. My only saving grace is that I’m pretty good at arguing lol! So far, I’m able to argue myself out of suicidal thoughts and anxiety spirals. My favorite rebuttal for the intrinsic meaninglessness of life is from The Doctor: “We’re all stories in the end; just make it a good one.” - Kennen Navarro, @kensadork
"Broken crayons still color. Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I feel broken. I feel as if something is wrong with me..but I’ve realized that’s not true. I am the only person who can determine my limits and boundaries. I am a whole, functioning, thriving, amazing, beautiful person, who also happens to fight a battle in my head nearly every day. I am a suicide survivor, sexual assault survivor, and mental health warrior. What you have been through does not define you. You are not broken, just in progress. Broken crayons still color, broken hearts still love, scars can be turned into art, and shattered pieces can be put together. I promise that one day you will be able to put all your pieces back together. Now is not forever. Broken is beautiful." - Miriam Berman, @miriampatrickharris
"LOVE IS ALL I AM. We all know that life can be a bumpy road. And I’ve had pretty tough times, when I felt insecure, betrayed, lonely and bitter. But through all of that I found the truth...that I can’t look for love in others until I build it in myself to myself...and I realized that I am Love itself. Love is the strongest force and there’s nothing can beat LOVE." - Diana Bostan, @bostan_diana
"Mental health comes in all different forms & affects everyone differently. My mental health journey started as a child. As the oldest of 4, I felt constantly pressured to set a good example. I maintained a 4.0 throughout high school & performed well in sports. I helped around the house & took care of my horses. I felt like everything I did had to be PERFECT - like everyone was constantly watching me. It wasn’t until recently that I found myself. I realized that I’m not perfect. I realized that I didn’t need to be the best at everything. So I started embracing my flaws & laughing at my mistakes. I’ve learned so much about who I really am and what I really want in life. I want everyone to know that being imperfect is > O K A Y < and mistakes are apart of life. So my challenge to you is to laugh at your next mistake & embrace that flaw that you are so self-conscious about! You ARE beautiful. You ARE smart. You are YOU. & no one else can take that away from you. I am a warrior and you are too." - Paris Osborne, @parisozzie
"HEAD HEART HANDS. It's my own little reminder to think, feel and act from my truth; in my experience, imbalance between these areas leads to inner AND outer turmoil. The mind, body and soul aren't separate entities, and they can harness infinite energy when they function as one. Back when I went to school for/worked in fashion, I remember feeling constantly anxious and depressed without knowing why. I was also a toxic shit to those around me. Having been an artistic child raised around garment workers, I kind of just assumed becoming a fashion designer was my path. It wasn't until I delved deeper into the backend of the industry (my thesis paper was on sustainability) that I realized the place my family & ancestors held in a colonial/capitalist environment, despite their skills and craft. It's the same place I'd never be able to understand as a second gen immigrant, but felt deeply wrong to be a beneficiary of. Somewhere along the line I forgot I was blessed to be Filipino yet grow up Canadian; blessed to be given the tools to break a cycle I *almost* ended up perpetuating. In my heart I'm an island girl, but my mindset is Western--and I need to pursue a life that protects and fulfills them both. Whenever I feel imbalanced I ask myself: Do you say what you mean? Do you mean what you say? Is this thought or action pertinent to your spiritual journey? Who are you? Where do you come from? What are you contributing to your Self, others, the Earth, the future?" - Bianca Veneryan, @biancavenerayan
"As I’ve talked about before, this year I experienced an overwhelming deterioration in my mental health. It was incredibly difficult to navigate. For me, the simple word ‘uplift’ helped me begin to improve my state of mind. My personal mission statement is ‘Uplifting others through positive outlook, forward thinking and fun-loving attitude.’ Focusing on uplifting others helped me center myself and elevate myself out of the dark times." - Sarah Hammer, @skhammer
"Life will hit you hard sometimes, I understand, but at the end of the day what are you going to do about it? Perspective is EVERYTHING!!! Having a positive perspective on situations/circumstances will drastically change your mindset, habits, and outcome of any situation. I want to encourage you be intentional about what you think about, how you think, and what you expect. Remember... what you think, you will become." - Destiny Jenkins, @jollydes
“There are times when we struggle. there are times we feel defeated. there are times of crying for every reason and there are times of crying for no reason at all. life hurts. I know. I get it. I really do. the month of May is Mental Heath Awareness Month— I’m here to help reduce the stigma. I’m here to help be a voice for people struggling to find the words themselves. I’m here to let you know that it’s going to get better. we are going to be alright. we will be okay. mental illness is not a personal failure. you are important. you are strong and you matter so much. I love you and I want you to feel comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I’ll admit I used to feel ashamed to talk about my mental health but I’ve been trying my best to change that. my #inkboxnotetoself is to never forget how vital you are in the grand scheme of your glorious life. it’s yours and it’s happening and you have to be here for it. it’s going to be great. ❤️" - Jenna Allard, @jennallard
"As someone who's struggled with mental health a majority of my adulthood giving myself reminders is (especially all over my skin) is something I align with. A lot of my tattoos have come from words and phrases that remind me to push through. I recently found a note to self that I want to add to my collection so I tested it out with @inkbox - 'May you always be the one who notices the little things that make the light pour through.' I feel like life in general especially having anxiety and depression can make us forget the nice glimpses of our lives because of how overwhelmed our minds can be. This quote means a lot to me, a reminder to find the bright parts in my darkest days." - Apphia Castillo, @phiphibb
"Amour de soi, also means self-love in French. The @inkbox tattoo may not be permanent, but working on how to love yourself is an important note for everyone. Growing up I always struggled with lack of love for myself, but as cheesy as it may sound, learning how to love and appreciate yourself is the key to happiness and good mental health. When your mental health is bad, give yourself a break. Don’t make yourself feel guilty for things you can’t do. You’re human, it’s okay to struggle. Knowing that you are worthy of being loved, of being safe and well-cared for regardless of how you feel about yourself. Look after yourself and your mind. it’s important." - Chloe Zhang, @chloezhaang
"Armor Up. It's a phrase I came up with last year when creating my Head in the Clouds piece and how we should use our defects, our faults and our mental health as armor as opposed to something that makes us weak. My battles with depression has given me the armor I have now to be able to stand up proudly and show the world that I won't let my darkness consume me. @inkbox has allowed me to apply that very armor to my skin so that i can show those who take the time to look, that I am not defined by my mental health, I am defined by my armor. . ." - Shawn Coss, @shawncoss
"When my mom was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I didn’t even know what having a mental illness meant. I was 15 at the time, trying to learn & understand her diagnosis and watching all the ‘adults’ in my life learn too. After the diagnosis, I wasn’t allowed to live with her anymore for “my” safety in the off chance one of her episodes got violent. I knew this broke her heart because the amount of love she has for my brother and I is immeasurable. We were the light that kept her motivated through all the darkness and pain. If it wasn’t for my brother and I, I don’t know if my mom would have ever accepted treatment.
This is my reminder that we all cope differently but we all need extra love to heal." - Cezil Jondonero, @clj_
"You’re the sun. These words saved my life. Many of you don’t know but I struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life but when I was about 15-16 years old, that’s when it got really bad. I hated myself and thought I wasn’t worth it to even be alive. Trying to fit “standards”, I got sick as I suffered from eating disorders and my life went downhill. One day, I tried ending my life but couldn’t bring myself to do it and realized I needed help. By seeking help, I was told to every day look in the mirror, look at myself in the eye and say “ You are the sun, you have your own light, you don’t need other’s to shine, you are enough”. Now I am here, I am alive, I am happy. I still struggle with anxiety but every time I feel low I repeat these words to myself." - Luisa Pinheiro, @luisapiou
"This phrase is important to me because it reminds me that my lows are temporary. For me, everyday is different since I have a mood disorder. A lot of people don’t know this but I have episodes of extreme emotions that come in waves and I have no control over them. I saw this phrase painted on the wall of the group therapy room while in the hospital (for the first time) a couple years ago. It meant a lot bc when I get these episodes it seems like it will never end and it reminds me that I’ll be okay and it’ll pass eventually. " - Emma Minkler, @emmaminkler
"For a long time I allowed anxiety and depression to hinder me from making positive changes. I constantly delayed goals or necessary changes until I “felt normal” again. A vicious cycle formed as I was allowing depression to be an excuse to continue a lifestyle that made me unhappy and unfulfilled.
My life only finally changed when I realized I have to show up for myself, even when energy and motivation were lacking. Pushing myself to do things that cause me anxiety leads me closer to my passions each day. It is still hard but it gets a little easier every time and for the first time in a long time, I have felt proud, motivated & resilient." - Bianca Beemer, @babybeeems
"For the past 6 years i have battled feelings of depression, anxiety, and being purposeless. the second time i was admitted to a psychiatric program to deal with these overpowering feelings, i made a good friend who gave me a bracelet. the bracelet said “this too shall pass”. although this was not the last institute i went to, these 4 words got me through a lot. every time i had intense feelings of sadness or loss of hope i looked at those words and remembered that no feeling lasts forever. suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. whatever you’re going through it’s important to remember, this too shall pass. thank you for reading to my story, don’t be afraid to share yours!" - Wallace Gray, @wallace.gray