So I Got A Tattoo Today

23 Jun


Growing up I was a complete perfectionist. So much so that when I got strep throat I would cry and beg to go to school because I didn’t want to ruin my perfect attendance record. When I got a “B” in handwriting in third grade I was absolutely devastated. In hindsight it was probably pretty generous. My handwriting is terrible. When I got yelled at I beat myself up for days over having been so stupid to get yelled at in the first place. On the outside I was a perfect child, but on the inside I felt like I was drowning.

When I was twelve I was diagnosed with depression. My parents did what any loving parents would do. They took me to a doctor, they got me on the medications he recommended and they loved me as best they knew how. The problem is that when you have depression you don’t feel loved. Everywhere I went I felt like I was being picked apart by strangers. Even worse by my own family. I would sit awake at night wondering when it would ever end.

My parents separated around the time I was diagnosed. Of course this made me think they were separating because I was just too much to handle. My daily meltdowns were draining to all of us. After a meltdown I felt both empty and immensely heavy at the same time. The girl who was once such a control freak that she corrected her teacher when she skipped a lesson for the day was now a girl who had lost control of her entire life.

The therapy was helpless. I was convinced all of the therapists were kooks who needed therapy more than I did (probably true). The medications made me feel like a complete zombie. What is the point of going through life when you feel like a zombie?

My parents eventually got back together and we moved from my childhood home to Littleton, Colorado. I was so excited to start fresh and make new friends. The problem is that I was painfully shy. I wanted friends so badly, but my anxiety and depression were more of a hurdle than I could overcome. I was alone. And sad. And had an internal dialogue on a daily basis that just wasn’t very nice to myself. “No matter how hard you try you will never be enough” it would say. And I believed it.

My parents eventually ended up getting divorced when I was 16. Part of me was relieved, but part of me felt a massive amount of guilt because of it. Before I had been depressed, but still found ways to function. Now I was bitter. Really, really bitter and mad and sad. Something inside me just snapped. That perfectionist girl was a distant memory. I was determined to make my life as much of a mess as I could. I would be the BEST failure anyone had ever seen. It sounds so silly now, but that really was my goal. To be the best failure.

I was successful at it. I was almost proud of myself. I hadn’t been the “best” at anything since I was diagnosed with depression the first time. I drank and stayed out late and made friends with all of the wrong people. There were times I tried to “fix” myself, but the light at the tunnel never came and I kept spiraling downward. Some nights I played depressing music as loud as I could and sat for hours crying and wondering why I even deserved to live. I never wanted to kill myself. I just wanted to feel better.

When I was 18 I found out I was pregnant with my son. Another “mistake” to add to my growing list. Letting everyone down had become my specialty. I mean, I was incredibly good at it.

Just as something in me flipped a switch when I became self destructive, a switch flipped this time too. Only it wasn’t down that self destructive path anymore. My son became my light at the end of the tunnel. He became my “why.” When life felt tough I would remind myself over and over to just keep swimming. To push through the hard times.

I am not perfect. My life hasn’t turned into a beautiful fairy tale. Some days are blissful and some days I feel like I am drowning all over again. When I look into my childrens’ beautiful eyes I see hope. I see proof that my sentence could have been ended, but I chose to keep it going.

One person dies by suicide every 13 minutes. Over 38,000 people in The United States take their lives each year. That is 38,000 people who probably seemed OK on the outside, but were drowning on the inside. 38,000 people who probably wanted to scream as loud as they could for help, but didn’t know how or were too scared to talk to someone.

Millions of people suffer from depression and anxiety and yet mental health still has this stigma around it. Being depressed doesn’t mean you are weak or worthless. Having crippling anxiety doesn’t make your life any less valuable than someone else’s. Lets not make mental health so taboo.

I am proud to say that I have struggled with anxiety and depression, have battled anxiety and depression and have ultimately had the strength to say that my story isn’t over yet. It never ended with my mental health issues. I chose to pause, breathe and keep going.

For more information on how to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression or anxiety or if you, yourself struggle with these please go to

Your life is worth it! Just keep swimming!

3 Responses to “So I Got A Tattoo Today”

  1. Grandma June 24, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    I learned much about you from this post; things I hadn’t understood completely. You are, and have always been, so very important to me. I like the message in your tattoo; bless you for your honesty! The semi-colon is a favorite of mine; when I use it, I’ll think of you. ()

    • Dana Cire June 24, 2015 at 9:27 am #

      I am so glad you never gave up hope for her. You too have been such a blessing in her life. I am so very grateful for that. Love you tons.

  2. Dana Cire June 24, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    To see your child in so much pain and to know you tried everything is a hard pill to swallow. It felt like the more your Dad and I tried to help the faster you ran from us. It was as if you didn’t think we should be spending the time or efforts to help you. Tom and the kids have been such a blessing; a blessing that at first was hard to see. I am so very proud of the woman, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, and friend you have become. I love you to the moon and back!

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