Mental Health Awareness: To Help Stop the Stigma, I'm Sharing My Tattoo & Its Meaning by Heather Holter

Mental Health Awareness: To Help Stop the Stigma, I'm Sharing My Tattoo & Its Meaning

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but honestly, every month should be. One in five of us suffer with a mental health condition. Mine is social anxiety. I used to be secretive about it because I was ashamed and felt like it was my fault. I also felt judged and defined by it. NO MORE. It is time to stand up, speak out and stop the stigma!

I recently got a tattoo as a testament to my struggle (see picture above). The saying is self-explanatory. I love it because it implies that brokenness doesn't make us inferior; it opens us up to that which makes us better! The original design I liked was the cross, heartbeat and heart. It means faith, hope and love. The semicolon tattoo typically means "my story isn't over yet" and signifies a continuation after a struggle or traumatic event or situation, often mental illness. I wanted to incorporate them all together, so I came up with this design.

I see it as a whole to mean faith, life, pause to indicate a struggle, continue life despite struggle, love. The saying goes with it because the struggle makes us broken, but we continue because of the light created during and after the struggle. Neat, huh?

How will you help stop the stigma of mental health? 

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Donna John
This is so awesome, Heather Holter . Absolutely love it. And hats off to you for doing the #30Seconds Live and video for the coffee tip!! You rocked it. When Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds got me in front of the camera ... well, my anxiety got the best of me. I'm a behind the camera girl, but you need to be in the spotlight. My daughters and I are getting a tattoo soon. They'e been patient with me while I decide what I want and where. :-)
Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Heather Holter , I so appreciate you sharing this. We do need to break to stigma of mental illness, and by speaking out, you are helping to do that. It was great to meet you IRL, and I will say that you do an excellent job of not projecting anxiety at all. In fact, I would say you are very outgoing! So I appreciate this insight into you. The tattoo is a perfect expression of everything you shared. Very creative (glad I got to see it IRL, too)! Thanks again for all you share with us. You make a difference!!
Heather Holter
Haha! Yeah, all the talking and continuous movement is one of my coping mechanisms! Also if I can control the environment in some ways my anxiety is not very bad. Such as knowing what I will be doing and the place being not very crowded. Remember how bad my hands were shaking though? That was an anxiety symptom. My symptoms are not as bad either because I take medication. The worst is when I am in crowded spaces with no schedule! People think if you have social anxiety you aren't social. I am very social, just has to be on my terms and when I feel up to it. Sometimes I take a walk in the middle of things I attend. Learning coping mechanisms is very helpful!
Leslie W
What's my excuse (for the constant talking and movement)? Lol I show people the video all the time and people say " are the exact same person"! Lol
Roxane Goss
I just love your tattoo and that your raising awareness to help break the stigma around mental illness. I suffer from anxiety and depression. When either flare up, I stay to my self and don't reach out. So many people just don't get it. They think we are being negative. Thankfully, I have found natural ways to help with both of them. When anxiety is at it's worse and I absolutely have to, I take medication. I don't like it though as it's very addictive. I have a tattoo on each wrist. One says the word Warr;or and the semicolon as shown is the 'i'. The other one is a heart, cross and an anchor. Which is faith, hope and love. These tattoos are my reminder that I matter, that I am a warrior! My story isn't over. Thanks so much for sharing and working towards breaking the stigma!
Heather Holter
The struggle is real! Thanks for reading!
Kathy Ast
Amazing tattoo! I love it! Thanks for sharing, Heather.

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