Rebekah Miles' new tattoo has gone viral for all the right reasons.
The 20-year-old student at George Fox University is similar to many college kids; she has tattoos, wears those fun flower headbands we all love, and unfortunately, battles depression. Didn't know mental health issues were common in young adults? That is the problem, and arguably the most important take from Rebekah's brave confession. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, "One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness."
The difference between Rebekah and many other twenty-somethings is the courage she has shown by using her tattoo to start a seriously significant conversation–a conversation people too often fear discussing. In revealing her new tattoo in an open letter to her parents posted on her Facebook page, Rebekah detailed her personal battle with depression and what the disease does mentally, emotionally, and physically to an individual.
Her tattoo is wildly clever. When viewed by an onlooker it reads "I'm fine," but when seen from Rebekah's point of view it reads "Save me." Of this illusion she writes, "It means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all. It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves." The tattoo symbolizes depression on a number of fronts. For the person battling the disease, it is impossible to ignore yet easy to disguise.
Later in the letter Rebekah wrote, "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 continued, "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."
Rebekah's post gained over 355k Likes and was shared nearly 300,000 times. Over half of a million people have now grown aware of not only her story, but the facts about depression and what the disease is capable of. Read her moving story in full and check out her new ink below.
Thanks for getting this conversation started, Rebekah.