Whether it’s a bad mood or severe mental illness, when we’re mentally or emotionally unwell it’s very difficult to fix. Unlike a grazed knee or broken arm there are no bandages or plasters to help the healing process, no spoonful of sweet medicine to ‘make it all better.’ Gone are the days when mum and dad could fix any pain with some love.
So sometimes we all need a little reminder to just keep going. And visual tools are a real benefit. Francesca from Motivational Tattoos had her idea back in 2011, laying suicidal in a hospital bed in Charing Cross in London. She had optic neuritis and was losing her sight, but determined to keep going she would write notes to herself. The experience has left her with nerve damage and pain, and whilst it was never a ‘good’ experience, one positive outcome has been the birth of Motivational Tattoos. ‘I started making tattoos for myself, and shared them on my blog, and a few people left comments asking if they could buy some. I started selling them online, and it’s just snowballed from there.’
With a background in both psychology and design Francesca was well informed about her ideas, and she uses psychological studies to inspire the creations. One study found that temporary tattooing may help adolescents alter self-harm behaviours and counter negative body image.
But despite being rooted in research, she’s clear that the products ‘are not medical devices, they are a mindfulness tools. They are not a replacement for seeking medical advice from a trained healthcare professional. They are just little pick me ups to help when you’re having a bad day!’
Response has been amazing from the mainstream media, but it’s the short letters of thanks that really matter. ‘Almost every day I wake up to messages in my inbox about how my tattoos have helped them. It’s really touching, and it keeps me going!’
We just have to keep going.