This tattoo is of symbols meaning I am greater/more than the ups and the downs.

I did it in a dark time, where it felt like I was an emotional roller-coaster, life being a constant up and down with twists and turns due to a combination of complex ptsd, bpd (borderline personality disorder) and autism.

I knew I was going to a specialist placement to get better, and I wanted it known, mainly to myself, that I was more than my emotions, more than my illnesses.

It spurred me forward, pushed me to use what I could to find more of myself and my life than just the ups and the downs.

I did it, I recovered from bpd, and greatly improved how I cope with life, but I also found parts of myself I'd lost.

I’m autistic and have complex ptsd, but I'm also compassionate, kind; a sister, a daughter and a friend.

I enjoy walks, cooking, craft, crochet, deep conversations, shopping and naps.

I'm a disability campaigner.

I'm more than the ups and the downs - I'm Lizzi.

written by lizzi


Two swallows on the inside of my thighs. Facing each other. Two little birds. Swallow tattoos have an incredible history. Sailors used to get them when they’d go on ships hundreds of years ago. They believed that if you were out at sea and drowned, swallows would carry your soul up to heaven. A lot of prisoners have swallow tattoos as well. Mine hardly get seen by anyone. They’re like my own secret.

When I think about it deeply, which I do on a daily basis, I think sometimes that depression is the best thing that ever happened to me. I went through really bad depression and really bad anxiety. It was all murky. But there was a moment where I realised I needed to appreciate the here and now. If I’m so dependent on my happiness “starting” at some point, I’ll constantly be in this horrible place. In that moment I thought no, I’m going to choose how to live the rest of my life and I choose freedom. Even if my financial or material circumstances don’t change, I choose mentally to be free.

Your own happiness and your own destiny can come from within. It feels particularly relevant to right now thinking about it.

No matter how bad the storm gets, as a collective, as a nation, as a planet, or how bad that storm gets for me, or how trapped I feel mentally, we’ll always be free again at some point. It’s just a matter of time until we get there.

I only got taught that lesson through the worst of my depression and anxiety. told by reece uk

It was an impulsive tattoo.

I had a job I really really loved and I got a new boss who came in with the reputation for hating women. He tried to make me quit through psychological abuse though I really didn’t understand that at the time.

He’d do things like leave rubbish on my desk or send me away when the office were going to do something nice together.

He really broke me in ways that I’m probably still dealing with. It all ended in him finding a loophole in my contract to essentially demote me and replace me with a man. So instead, I handed in my notice. For my whole notice period, I spent my whole time regretting it. Thinking I should’ve just sucked it up. Thinking I was weak. After, I got ‘Rien’ written on the back of my elbow to remind me to stop regretting the choice to leave. It was a full stop for me. That experience kind of made me wish that I hadn’t been born a woman. Which is an odd feeling.

It made me examine what feminism really means to me. It felt like a tide of change was going on in the world where now we’re saying: no this stuff is just not going to go on anymore.

Sometimes the impulsive tattoos have a lot more meaning.

told by edith uk

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