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Why My Pizza Slice Tattoo Represents Suicide Prevention Awareness

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I am frequently asked about the pizza slice tattoo on my ankle, but I have never publicly shared the story behind it.

This story is not my own, and I have reason to believe a lot of the important information has been changed due to privacy of the real person who experienced this. But the way I heard and understood this story is the way it will remain in my mind, and it is something I think about regularly.

In a high school elective, we were invited to take the Suicide Prevention Training via a local crisis line. During the process, we were told a story about a woman who called the line and the first thing she said was:

“I dropped my pizza on the floor!”

When I first heard that, I laughed. It’s OK, you can too. My mind immediately went to, “Well, buy a new one” or something along those lines.

Fortunately, the member of the crisis line stayed with the woman and gathered more information. It seemed that it was near Christmastime, and the woman couldn’t afford gifts for her loved ones. She sat at a mall that day and ran into an old high school friend who had become a successful lawyer and was married with kids. The woman must have felt quite small in comparison, as she still lived with a roommate and both of them relied on welfare to get by. Once a month, when they received their checks, the roommates could splurge a little and buy a 2-for-1 pizza.

Of course, you might understand the importance of this pizza now. When she dropped it, it felt like the last straw. She felt like she just couldn’t do it anymore.

This story rang in my ears for a long time. It made me realize that even though something as little as a pizza can feel like life or death, depending on your circumstances. Suicide, depression, even simply bad days are all subjective. This is important to me because no matter who I talk to, I am reminded that they are all fighting a battle. When a person says, “Oh, it doesn’t matter…” I always tell them this story because… if it’s affecting them, then it matters. It’s their pizza slice at that moment. To me, that battle may sound trivial or little, but to them? It’s their entire universe, their entire mental health, their entire life. That’s OK. That’s their pizza slice.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: March 15, 2017
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