Bekah Miles' new tattoo is unlike any other.
While the ink on the 20-year-old student's leg appears to read “I'm fine”, from her viewpoint, when read upside down, it says “save me”.
It's a carefully crafted, powerful statement created to help others understand what depression feels like and it's now going viral.
“It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves,” writes the university student from Newberg, Oregon, in a message alongside photos of her tattoo on Facebook.
Miles was herself diagnosed with depression last year and says she believed it was a problem for some time before that. “Mental illness is serious, but so shamed in our society,” she writes. “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?”
“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.”
But even Miles couldn't have predicted the reception her new body art would receive.
Her Facebook post has been shared over 327,000 times, liked 403,000 times and received over 37,000 positive wishes and comments discussing mental illness issues.
Miles has since followed up with another post saying she’s amazed her tattoo has sparked a global conversation on depression and hopes the discussion will continue.
“I never expected it to go beyond my friends and family. I thought reaching out to them was enough, but I am completely and utterly in awe of how far this has traveled. This is exactly what I wanted--to reach out to people and let them know that they are not alone.
“Clearly, 24,000 people and counting feel the exact same way. Please keep sharing and spreading the awareness. This is the only way to get some real change in the stigma.”
As Miles so brilliantly put it in her original post: “You’d be surprised by how many people YOU know that struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. I may only be one person, but one can save another...and that's all I could really ask for.”
A photo posted by Bekah (@bekahmiles) on