My First Tattoo. Covers my Scars, but Not my Journey

By Tammy Ozolins

Late one night I came home depressed. Living with Bipolar is difficult enough, but the depression was getting the best of me. So, I decided I had enough and I took a handful of my mom’s sleeping pills and was excited to be ending my life.

I then went to my bedroom and I remember the room spinning and I just laid down and the room went black. I woke up the next day and the first thing I said to myself, was “I am so stupid I cannot even kill myself right.” I went for several more weeks, still in a foggy, depressed state.

Then one day I lost it again, I sat on my kitchen floor and cried and cried. I even said to “God, why me? Why will this pain not go away?” Then I went into the kitchen drawer, and took out a knife.

With tears streaming down my face I sliced my wrist once (I did not slice it to kill myself) and blood came out. I then sliced it again. I started to see more blood come out. It was such a relief. I felt like all the pain I was experiencing was oozing out of me.

I did feel pain, but it was like the pain inside of me was coming out. I made sure I cleaned the cuts up and went to bed. The next day, it finally hit me what I had done and I saw the red puffy lines.

My first reaction was, “Why did I do that? I will never do it again.”

However, I did do again. And again.

It actually became a coping skill for me–an unhealthy one. I even had a pocket knife hidden in my drawer under my pants.

It became a daily thing. I used to cut on my arm, but then I would have friends or people ask me, where did you get those cut marks. And once they turned into scars, people would ask where are those scars from?

I would lie and make something up.

Then I realized I needed to stop cutting on my arms so I turned to my thigh. This is where I have the most scars.

With the help of therapy and healthy coping skills, I stopped cutting.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t had relapses here and there because I did. Again, for me the cutting was a way to help relieve the pain I was feeling at the time.

I had a vision of my first tattoo and I knew exactly what I wanted it to say. I was going to leave it up to the tattoo artist to do the design. I was so nervous, though, this was going to be my first one. Thank goodness for one of my closest friends, Amy, coming with me for support.

The word “Strength” was chosen because that is I needed every day to fight Bipolar disorder and keep me on my journey.

I put a cross for the second “T” because my faith is so important to me. I know without God’s strength I would not be where I am today. I almost lost my life once by a suicide attempt, been hospitalized twice, but now I am living in recovery.

Living with Bipolar has made me stronger. That strength is so important especially for those days I have an episode (which do occur still).

The tattoo covers up the scars from my years of cutting but those scars are my journey. Every time I see them, it reminds me of how far I have come. It takes strength for me to live with this mental illness and I want others who are suffering to find their STRENGTH inside of them. It is there so use it to get through the rough days. I am here if anyone needs it or wants to talk.

4 thoughts on “My First Tattoo. Covers my Scars, but Not my Journey”

  1. Your tattoo strength is amazing–My son was struggled many yrs w/bipolar disease & to tried to find the strength to beat it but in the end he lost the battle at 38-he was tired 😴of fighting–I commend you for the strength you have and keep fighting–the fight–thank you for sharing your story you will be helping so many fighting this disease–and keep your faith strong– God will carry you through–Bless you Tammy !!!! ✝️ ❤️

    1. I am so sorry Tish. So you and are in the same club. It’s a very challenging mental illness. And Tammy shared this on her personal facebook page! Very courageous. And she’s a school teacher.

  2. I love your tattoo and your courage in sharing your story. Your boldness in using the cross for the “t” in strength will enable you to share with others the source of your strength! God bless you for sharing what He has done in your life.

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