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What My Sister Did to Calm My Anxiety While I Was Getting a Tattoo

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I don’t know if you can see it, but those are my sister’s feet next to my chair and those are her hands on my legs. She sat on the floor the entire time I was getting my fourth tattoo done. For those who don’t know, I have situational anxiety, as well as anxiety from my disability; my body doesn’t communicate with my brain, so unfortunately, my body is often in fight-or-flight mode without my permission.

My brain and upper body were aware of the feeling of getting the tattoo as it was my fourth, but my legs were not agreeing. As soon as the tattoo began, my legs kicked out in front of me, making me no longer feel as if I was in control.

I did my best to hide how I was feeling, but once I felt a panic attack coming on and the possibility of moving my arm while I was getting the tattoo done, I asked my sister if she would hold my legs for me.

Not only did she hold my legs for me, she sat on the floor next to me the entire time and told me later that she was going to ask if she could help at all right as I asked her to because she could tell I might need it.

For those who have or understand mental and physical disorders, you know how comforting touch or reassurance can feel when you feel out of control, and how silly asking for uncommon and simple support can feel.

Thank you to my sister and our tattoo artist for reminding me I wasn’t silly for needing support to get through life and for the expressive conversations we were able to have about different and similar life experiences.

She might not yet be my biological sister, but the ability to have a bond with her to which we consider each other sisters as well as comforting best friends, not only in words, but also in actions, is something I can never put into words myself.

Original photo by author

Originally published: November 5, 2021
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