A Tattoo Helped Her Swim Out of Depression

What has a tattoo got to do with depression? 

2 min read

Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb
Editor: Kunal Mehra
Producers: Vinu Joseph and Garvita Khybri

In November 2016, I lost my mom. A year an a half after that, I lost my masi. In a very short span of time, I lost both my mothers and my mental health had given up on me.
Samantha, a PhD scholar

Samantha, a PhD scholar, started suffering from depression soon after she lost both her mothers. Raised by her masi and her mother, Samantha felt that every ounce of her life’s happiness had been squeezed from her.

Soon after the tragic deaths, Samantha’s relatives started torturing her over property disputes.

It was barely a day or two after my masi’s demise when my cruel relatives decided to show up at my house. They wanted me to vacate it immediately. I was left with no option but to go to the police station to file a complaint against them.

After the complaint, although the relatives were silenced, Samantha’ inner turmoil had taken a toll. She started suffering from panic attacks and was slowly sinking into depression.

I felt there was something wrong with me. I was unable to sleep, eat and even breathe. I felt like my life had lost its meaning. Almost like it was worth nothing. I didn’t share my predicament with anyone, fearing that no one would understand me. It was terrible.

One of her close friends was the first one to detect something amiss. She took her to a therapist and sought help.

Therapy was slowly helping her deal with the trauma.

One day, I was at Bandstand in Mumbai when I came across a tattoo parlour called Body Canvas Tattoo. I went inside and met with Vikas Malani, the tattoo artist. He introduced me to the ‘semi colon tattoo’.

A semi colon stands for an incomplete sentence. It means that the better half of the sentence is yet to be written. The idea struck a chord with Samantha. She instantly decided to get herself tattooed. She tattooed a dopamine and a serotonin molecule, both stand for happiness, and got a semi colon tattooed inside it.

Every day, very religiously, I look at my tattoo and think to myself that it is a new day and that my life isn’t over yet. That I too, have the joy to be happy.

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