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The Mental Health Message My New Tattoo Sends

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“Who told you it was OK to find the strength to go down your own path, but know the right people will never truly leave you fighting alone?”

I just passed my first year in therapy. Here’s how it went:

I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and abandonment disorder. I’ve lived my entire life fearful of not being good enough, distancing myself for possible protection, experiencing exactly what abandonment is repeatedly, doing my best to accept that not everyone will treat me that way, and most importantly working to understand that my circumstances, due to both my disability and not, do not make me a failure.

My fourth tattoo journey started around the time I was diagnosed with abandonment disorder. I read a quote expressing the idea that butterflies do not see their own wings, but other people do. This saying has stuck with me ever since because two mentors of mine are the reason I started therapy and are the reason I am able to see beauty within myself.

Another piece of importance is someone wanted to get this tattoo with me. I would have gotten it months ago, but I wanted to respect the desire to get it together. There is no shame in what I am about to say because everyone is on their own journey and we should support others, but there also comes a time when we have to put ourselves first because we are more valuable than being kept in a cycle.

I am happy to say that I was strong enough to wait, but also reached a point of doing something for myself after plans became nonexistent on the other side multiple times. In my opinion, they both serve as growth within abandonment disorder.

Here’s to a constant reminder of how to take my journey a second at a time with the right people, which includes yourself.

Photo of contributor’s butterfly tattoo

Originally published: October 28, 2021
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