mental/emotional distress w/ the process

  • yuri2
  • 1 year ago

Hello there,   I am in the process of having two tattoos removed. Physically it does hurt, yes, but the mental and emotional anguish I seem to be experiencing along with the process far outweighs any physical discomfort. I have finally felt inspired to reach out and look for some feedback from people with a shared experience.   About 15 months ago I excitedly went in to have my 2nd tattoo done. It was not done impulsively, and I was happy to go do it. But, much to my horror, from the moment I first saw it in the mirror it simply didn't feel like me.

My mind and heart swooned, and in my extreme confusion and pain I went ahead and got another one done shortly thereafter. This was a misguided attempt to cover up my disappointment. I realized I didn't want this one either. I made the difficult decision to get them removed.   I have been engaged in this process for the last year or so now. I am committed to the procedure. However, I feel an extremely acute sense of embarrassment, shame, and disbelief accompanying the whole situation.

I have never really made what I feel to be a true mistake in my life until this, and this feels like a big one. I almost cannot believe this is happening, and I find it very difficult for uncover any sense of forgiveness of myself for making the choices that I did.    Even when or if the tattoos are removed I know that the main issue is the thoughts and emotions I'm processing. The physical removal of the tattoos will not solve that.  

I also want to mention that I have lived the majority of life with fairly severe anxiety. The tattoo situation has stirred up many conflicting and confusing emotions that I'm doing my best to cope with, and perhaps understand. One bright light in all this is that I've also recently committed to regular therapy/counselling sessions; something that I've needed to do for a long time now. I feel this is helping.   It is a daily source of struggle and upset for me in life right now. I can hardly understand quite what is happening. So I look to anyone who has gone through something similar who could possibly share some wisdom or insight into this experience.   Sincerely, Yuri

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I completely relate to you all…so glad I found this forum. I had 2 very small tattoos (one on my wrist-writing +a small bird, & one on my back-small black +gray wings) & after I graduated college decided I wanted them covered. I did a bit of research and the shops I went to were good, but not that amazing. My artist told me that she could cover the writing with only blue or red. She covered it with a large blue rose but left the bird, and after that I went tattoo crazy, feeling like it was missing something. What was once a small, faded tattoo is now a full sleeve, half outline + colour, and I absolutely despite it….hardly any planning went into it, it just kind of happened. I get several compliments on it but I don't care, I want it off!! And to make matters worse, during this time, I started also doing a lot of traveling. I began to cover the OTHER arm with various things as I traveled through out SE Asia…now I have a huge Buddha, some moons, large script, and random other shit that I just hate. And I also covered the wings on my back with a large mandala. AFter traveling for 7 months, I took a good look at myself and didn't even recognise who I was anymore. I hate what I have done to myself! I'm living in Spain now with my boyfriend (who loves the tattoos, he doesn't understand why I'm so upset) but moving back home to NY to be with my family and see a doctor. I can't stop crying, I cry randomly throughout the day and never want to even look at myself, I'm so disgusted. Why didn't I just leave the old tattoos? How could I be so stupid and impulsive?? I don't ever go out in public or take off my sweater. I just want my skin back! What have I done? I've been reading up on laser removal..going to take years and thousands of $$ for the amount of work I have on me…maybe I should just try and accept it. Any advice? I can't stop obsessing…but good to know that I'm not alone..
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I might not be the best example on "how well to handle mentally/emotionally a tattoo removal", although I have been going through the process for over a year now. I also have dealt with depression/anxiety, and this situation definitely magnified it. what I did though was accept. accept the situation and accept that things will suck really bad until this is over (sorry if that's bleak, trust me I tried fighting it, but just got to the point where I had to throw in the towel). I also tried substances out. that back fired pretty quickly. then I came to study and practice Buddhism, which kept me afloat. it didn't make things great or good or anything, just helped me cope better and to stay afloat. I also got real busy with things, mainly school. I think the staying busy part is the most important. liken it to "doing time". stay busy to keep your sanity and then watch the time fly by. hope this helps some. good luck.
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didn't realize how old this post was. I just saw the new active postings. oops.
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Fringeclass, it's an ongoing thread that can be posted on anytime :)
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Glad you found it and made a contribution to the conversation :) Never worry about the date of a post - chat away!
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I'm just about to undergo laser treatment to remove 7 of my unwanted tattoos. I too am suffering terribly with anxiety and depression, I find that it's all I think about. I even lost my bestfriend because of my intense obsession with having them removed. All I want to know is does it leave marks? And will it be worth it?
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From my understanding, it can leave what's called ghosting. This is where the skin has a slight white outline of where the tattoo used to be. But really, with tattoo removal the saying"individual results may vary" truly applies. You don't really know what the outcome will be. It is possible though to have no markings. Just depends on your tattoos and the colors etc. also, sometimes during the tattoo process, you get a scar from the tattoo itself. That might be left behind once the ink disappears. As for losing your bar friend, what kind of friend leaves you when you need a friend the most? Doesn't sound like she's that good of a friend..good luck with your removal and please stay in touch. We will be here to support you and provide feedback where we can.
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Correction: best friend..not bar friend! Lol autocorrect!
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Hi Helenapartridge, I am so sorry to hear how you are struggling with this, the feelings you are having are pretty common. Tattoo Removal is a very long journey, it's hard not to obsess over the fear and anticipation of what will happen as your treatments progress. The best thing to do is take photos (would love to see you post  review here on the site) and allow yourself time and be kind to yourself. Worry and anxiety etc will not help the process, it will only stunt the progress as you have to take very good care of yourself to make sure your immune system is strong and healthy. You must eat well, drink plenty of water, stay active, and get lots of rest.  It goes by faster than you can imagine - I am in my 2nd year and can't believe it. Brace yourself and keep taking with us - this group is wonderful. 
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Marbles and Yuri, I appreciate both of your posts. It seems we all feel alone then we read and realize the reaction we are having is the same as others that posted. I remember telling everyone I was so upset about my tattoo that I couldnt eat or sleep. They thought I was ridiculous. But knowing you all felt the same way is so comforting. Marbles, I too was 40 when I got mine. I went in asking for one thing yet agreed to something completely different and probably 4 or 5 times bigger than what I wanted. I do not make quick decisions. Why would I agree to something like that without thinking it through? I never make decisions like that! Here I am 4 years later with about 13 laser treatments done yet a whole lot of ink still there. I have been getting by believing it would eventually be gone but the laser treatments are just not getting the ink out and I am beginning to lose hope that it will ever be gone.
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hi im the same my first tattoo was to cover scars on my arm quickly realised i hated it, and still coverd up when in public, a few yeaes went by and i recoverd from.a very bad episode with mental illness and started a new job but i was worried about the scars so went bk to the same place so the guy could make it worse which he did, then went to another guy to see if he could covef it up without even knowing what i wanted i went in and ended up with almost a full sleve which i hate costing over 500 pounds which is unfinished, so within a few months i was booked in for laser in london which is about 200 miles away ive had seven with one in kent almost a 500 mile round trip the pain is incredible ill leave with my arm bruised swollen and bleeding and then have to sit in a car for two hours with the burning semsation, i just wish i had the courage and strengh to not be fooled and took in by these tattoo preadators.
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Hi Yuri I feel for you as I also suffer with anxiety my emotions are exactly the same my GP is also going to send me for counselling to help me deal with the stress of everything. I am also waiting the 6 months before I can start my laser treatment so this is also causing me more stress. Then I am thinking is the laser treatment agood idea I just don't know myself wot todo.
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Thank you marbles for sharing your thoughts and feelings..I feel the same way..ashamed, embarrassed and disconnected from my body. it is a horrible feeling. Please keep us up to date on how you are doing..

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Yuri, your story is my story...I am somoene who never makes impulsive decisions, always thinks before she acts. About 2 years ago I went through a really difficult experience and that experience is what led me to get the tattoo that I am now considering removing with laser..i thought the tattoo would get me through the hard times as it has meaning..I now realize that it is within ourselves, not a tattoo to make our lives better. I wish I had realized this before I got the tattoo..I too have called today to start counseling sessions as I have realized that I need help dealing/coping with sonme struggles in my life. Some people turn to drugs, alcohol to help cope and to help find peace..I turned to a tattoo..big mistake on my part. but, it is what it is annd we cannot turn back time. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Hi Yuri, Your story has definitely hit home for many people, including me. I have just gotten a tattoo on my wrist. I spent years researching and planning for it and now it has become the biggest mistake of my life. I can't eat or sleep and I wake up crying every morning. I finally decided that I want it off, only to be turned down by 3 doctors due to my keloid tendencies. This truly is a mistake I can't erase and that is branded onto my skin for the rest of my life. I admire you for getting the help you need and wish you all the luck in the world for getting it removed.
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Hey yuri, read your story and realized I'm not alone. I recently got my 2nd tattoo and within a few days was already having panic attacks and trouble sleeping/eating. I felt trapped in a body that wasn't mine nor is it a person I want to be. Today was my first laser treatment to have it removed and I too feel a sense of embarrasment and shame. It sucks but at the same time I've never felt more in control of my life. Thanks to technology, we can correct mistakes we've made. This site has shown to me that I'm not alone in this and that plenty of people are regretting getting tattoos. My laser therapist had 16 appointments just today. I believe that we all make mistakes and it is how we respond to those mistakes that truly defines us (cheesy, i know). I'm in this with you and anyone else out there so good luck to all and take care.
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Hi jordan24, great advice! I am curious, are you removing both of your tattoos, do you have a review?
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Thanks! I'm currently just removing the most visible one (my forearm), but I do plan to get the one on my bicep removed as well, it's just much easier to hide for the time being. My treatments are at Oregon Tattoo Removal, it's part of a clinic and they are really professional and helpful. Even after one treatment, I've noticed a difference. I can see my skin tone emerging in certain areas, though there is still plenty of ink. My tattoos are all black and mostly outlines though, so that might be why. I'm paying 150 per treatment which isn't all that bad. I highly recommend them to anyone in the Willamette Valley. It does hurt a bit (rubber bands is such an accurate description) but it's sooo quick (20-25 seconds). She also numbed my arm with cold air before she started which probably helped. I definitely recommend laser tattoo removal. Hope that helps! I'll be lurking around the forums every now and then so if anyone has any questions, I'm more than happy to reply.
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Hi Yuri,  I am proud of you for being brave to share your story. This will help many others in the same situation. Thank you!    
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Your honesty and willingness to admit what is really going on for you is incredibly beautiful. Though we don't know each other I am very proud of you for seeking out a counselor and committing to regular counseling sessions. That takes strength and is admirable. I believe you will find many like minded people here who have experienced similar feelings.

If you haven't already, these reviews might be worth checking out:

Documenting my Tattoo Removal Using the Alex Tri Vantage - Toronto, ON

Huge Mistake on my Chest! - Phoenix, AZ

Thanks again for being so willing to be honest and open about what you are going through.

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Thank you, Megan. Your words go straight to my heart. I'm so pleased to find a resource in this forum that contains the compassion and kindness that has already been extended to me. When I'm feeling so shaken by my experience, it truly helps to know I'm not all alone.
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Hi Yuri, I just joined this site, and when I read your post just now, I felt like they were my own words coming out of my mouth. I just had 2 tattoos done (on my 40th birthday), and instantly felt disconnected from my body when I looked in the mirror. They weren't my first, but possibly because of their size and placement, they have sent me into a tizzy of major anxiety and depression, something which I have always struggled with. The idea that I have inflicted this upon myself is almost too much for me to process. It's taking self-sabatoging to a whole new height. I feel so ashamed to really talk to my family and friends about this as I know that many of them will never understand why I would do such a thing. In fact, I am sure that I will never know myself. All I know is that it has kicked up a whole lot of emotional issues with me, and I can barely function right now. I plan to start the removal process in the next month or so, and will also seek therapy. I want to know how I put myself in this situation, so that I never have to go through it again. Thanks for sharing your story-- it really struck a chord with me and you are definitely not alone.
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