A Story of Tattoo Regret, Anxiety and Depression and Coming out the Other Side - Perth, AU

Hi everyone, I have been looking at this site...

Hi everyone,

I have been looking at this site since September this year because the stories have provided me much needed comfort knowing that I am not the only person to experience regret from having a tattoo done. Also seeing peoples removals have given me some positive thoughts in that should I want to remove my tattoo... it is possible. I so far am undecided and I am not going to do anything unless I am 100% sure. I don't want to make mistakes twice and end up with more regrets.

My story starts very similarly to quite a few people, I was thinking about getting a tattoo for a long time, specifically on my back to cover up some acne scarring which I felt was really ugly and I never wanted to show off my back in strappy tops or dresses. This is not my first tattoo, I have one on my foot that I love and would not dream of removing, and so the idea of covering up the scarring was really logical to me.
I did however spend a long time searching for an artist I liked, and there were none close to where I lived that made me excited about their work. There was a tattoo expo in my city last september and I was browsing the website at the artists that were attending to see if there was anyone I liked and this lady from Malaysia just jumped out at me, her work was so beautiful. I contacted her with my ideas, telling her about my scarring and sending pictures etc. I booked a time and was genuinely excited about getting it done. No more ugly scarring!
Well the day came, I went see her and she presented me with the design that she wanted to do, and this is where it all changed. The design was much larger than I had thought and I was really unsure, in fact in my head I was screaming "No", but the lady then started to stencil up the design putting more effort into the piece and I started feeling more pressured. I also started in my head convincing myself that it will be a gorgeous piece of art and I really did want to hide my acne scarring. As silly as it sounds I also did not want to upset the artist by telling her "No". This point here was crucial in my therapy later.
I got the tattoo, and it took about 5 hours. Honestly I was really happy with what I ended up with and was excited to go home and show my husband. He really liked it too, which was great to hear because he is not a huge tattoo lover, while he can appreciate them he doesn't want one himself.
That night however it all changed, I went to bed and didn't sleep very well because I was in a bit of pain from the tattoo and also my hubby was having a wonderful sleep snoring his head off. It was about 2 am in the morning my thoughts turned really negative towards the tattoo and also myself. Things like "What have I done!" "This is awful, how could you!" "It's too big, and you should have said NO!"
I got up the next day feeling miserable and really anxious, I could think of nothing else apart from the tattoo and how I had made the most terrible mistake. My husband and his mum who was staying with us at the time were very worried in the change of my feelings.
I thought that the feelings would pass, that I would come to love my tattoo again, but they didn't. I was on a downward spiral fueled by my negative thoughts that were going around and around in my head and I could think of nothing else but the tattoo and how I needed to get rid of it! I wanted it gone! I started researching tattoo removal straight away.
I was incredibly anxious, and also crying very easily. I stopped eating properly and lost 5 kg over about 3 weeks, which is allot for me as I don't have much extra to lose. I sought my doctors help and they referred me to a psychiatrist and I have to say he has been wonderful, and so supportive. I was prescribed some antidepressants to stop my downward spiral into depression and also he prescribed me to attend a 2 week intensive cognitive therapy course.
I had no idea what cognitive therapy was and was dubious about it initially, but it is the most amazing therapy you can have. Much of my recovery and being able to think positively about myself and my decisions have been due to this therapy. The point I made about not wanting to upset the artist earlier, I found out during therapy is that I always put others needs before my own... in essence I think that " I am not important". The day that I got the tattoo done I did what I have always done and that is to please people and not ever say "No" to them.
After having discovered this point I was able to show myself some compassion, and forgive myself for what I saw as a mistake. Even though all the reasons for having the tattoo done in the first place were sound reasons.

I am sharing my story because I want people to see that tattoo removal is not the only option to feeling better about your tattoo. Please if your having these emotions seek help! There is help out there for you and you can feel better about yourself and your decisions. Google cognitive therapy to find out more, it was amazing for me and with the right psychologist you too can learn to show yourself some compassion over your decision and maybe even accept your new tattoo. More importantly though you can stop obsessing over what at the end of the day is only a tattoo, and it doesn't define you as a person, and get back to living your life. Loving your family and spending time with your friends.

I have attached a couple of pictures, one of my back without the tattoo and just the scarring. The other with the tattoo on the day it was done, it was quite red and swollen then.
I am having trouble taking a decent picture of the healed tattoo, I will upload one in a couple of days when I can get my husband to take one for me.

Feeling much better

Hi peoples,

I thought I would update my review as it has been a while since I last posted.

I have not done any laser treatments since I posted. I did go and see Dr Syed at Absolute Cosmetic in January to discuss picosure, he was positive about removal but it was very expensive because of the size of my tattoo. I also wanted to give myself some time to think about it, and also to try and get used to my tattoo.

Now that I have had six months or so to relax about it, I am starting to like it and possibly even love my tattoo. I know it is beautiful and I have worn clothes that show it off, and I usually get some really nice compliments about it.

I have learnt so much more about myself through this experience, and the reasons why I do some of the things I do. I now know what triggers me to get depressed and I have tools to be able to deal with it.
My doctor has said that I will most likely experience another major depression episode, if not a number of them in my lifetime which shocked and upset me at the time.
But you know.... that's ok. I know what it feels like now, my husband and family know about it and we are all better prepared to manage it.

Mental health is so important and unfortunately it carries a real social stigma. To all of those people who are reading this, upset with your decisions and cant think of anything else but removing your tattoo. Please seek help from a psychiatrist, there is no shame in seeking help. In fact your empowering yourself by doing so.

Who knows you may even learn to love your tattoo like I am :-)
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