Depression was ruining Bekah Miles’ life. But after starting the healing process in therapy, Miles was moved to help others in the same boat. Therefore, she got herself a very special tattoo and shared a picture of it on Facebook. The response she had in return was nothing short of amazing.
This occurred in 2014 when the then-20-year-old Miles was in the midst of her studies at George Fox University, Oregon. To the outside world, she undoubtedly must have appeared to be at a happy, exciting point in her life.
But the psychology student was suffering in silence. In fact, she was desperately trying to deal with issues of low self-esteem and depression. Fortunately for her, however, hope was just around the corner.
“I believe it was a problem for quite a while before ,” she later wrote on her Facebook page. “I think it just got worse to the point of hardly functioning.”
And, surprisingly, it was during a lecture by one of her college professors that Miles first felt compelled to address her issues and seek help. That’s because her lecturer was talking about her own battle with depression, and this became a real inspiration to Miles.
“Hearing her words made me realize that even though it can seem like you are the happiest, most intelligent, or down-to-earth human being, everyone has struggles,” Miles later told BuzzFeed. Indeed, the professor’s words had struck a deep chord.
After the lecture, then, Miles sought out the inspiring teacher. Luckily, her soon-to-be mentor was more than happy to offer Miles guidance and helped her to find exactly the assistance she required.
Some weeks later, after receiving the help she desperately needed, Miles was on a mission. Indeed, she wanted to highlight the issue of depression in young people and get people talking about it.
So, in August 2015 Miles put up a post on her Facebook page revealing a new tattoo. The post began, “Dear mom and dad, please don’t kill me over this permanent choice. I want you to hear me out.”
Far from being a way of revealing her cool new ink, though, Miles’ aim was to start a conversation about her own mental health. Certainly, the post was brave and incredibly personal – only a few of her friends had even known how Miles had been suffering.
What was so special about this tattoo? At first glance, it looks pretty simple. Indeed, it looks as though it is just the words “I’m fine” written in an elaborate font. But there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Inspired by an idea that Miles saw on Pinterest, when the tattoo is read upside-down the words “I’m fine” are transformed into a very different statement – “Save me.” It’s a poignant message about depression and the way the condition is perceived.
“I feel that my leg was the best place for the meaning behind it,” wrote Miles in her Facebook post. “When everyone else sees it, they see ‘I’m fine,’ but from my viewpoint, it reads ‘Save me.’”
“To me it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all,” she wrote. “It reminds me that people who may appear happy may be at battle with themselves.”
Beneath her explanation of the tattoo, she posted a poem describing how she felt about the burden of depression. It offered a powerful insight into how some people with this terrible condition must suffer every day.
The post did as Miles had surely hoped and quickly went viral. In fact, as of June 2016 it had been liked more than 450,000 times and shared by 350,000 people. It was even picked up by the mainstream media at home and abroad, garnering the attention of A-list star Ashton Kutcher.
“Thank you,” wrote one Facebook user in the comments below the post. “That message says it all. When the hardest thing you do all day is get out of bed and put ‘that smile’ on.”
Needless to say, Miles was overwhelmed by the result of her initial post. A few days afterward, therefore, she put up a response on her Facebook page. “I think that it is time for me to make another status about my viral post,” she wrote.
“I thought reaching out was enough, but I am completely and utterly in awe of how far this has traveled,” she wrote. “This is exactly what I wanted, to reach out to people and let them know that they are not alone.”
Referring to depression, she told BuzzFeed, “The stigma needs to end. And I know that this post won’t end it, but I sure hope and want to be a part of the fight against it.” There’s little doubt that this inspiring young woman is leading the way in that fight.