When Medical doctors See My Semicolon Tattoo

© Daniel Rosenhaft

Supply: © Daniel Rosenhaft

In 2013, Amy Bleuel based the faith-based nonprofit Venture Semicolon, which selected a semicolon as an emblem as a result of it’s “used when an writer might’ve chosen to finish their sentence however selected to not. The writer is you and the sentence is your life.”

I acquired my semicolon tattoo in Might 2019 on the one-year anniversary of my stroke, and after rescuing my canine Shelby from a kill shelter in Mississippi. I’d been toying with the thought of getting the semicolon tattoo for a few years because it was a motion devoted to presenting hope and like to these combating melancholy, suicide, dependancy, and self-injury — and I’d been by my share of every.

On the time I used to be working for a conservative company, coming face-to-face with shoppers, and I hesitated to get the tattoo on my wrist, the place many individuals had been having it positioned. Lastly, I made a decision to have it placed on the nape of my neck, the place it will be hidden or seen relying on the size of my hair.

As a result of my quite a few medical points, I’ve, along with my main care doctor, most likely about 10 specialists, a few of whom, relying on their specialty, have seen my tattoo. Usually, she, or particularly he, doesn’t anticipate me to have a tattoo in any respect, so he’ll categorical shock. Once I clarify what the semicolon tattoo stands for, clearly I’m taking a threat in revealing my historical past. I’ve my psychiatric meds on my checklist of medicines to allow them to make the idea I endure or have suffered from melancholy, however as soon as I clarify the that means of the semicolon tattoo and use phrases akin to melancholy, suicide, and self-injury, the chance for judgment will increase exponentially.

One time I used to be seeing a brand new physician, a specialist in Lyme illness (which I turned out to not have), and he requested if I minded if a few medical college students had been within the room. I nearly at all times say I don’t thoughts as a result of, as a social employee, I needed to study at one level, too. When this physician commented on my tattoo and I defined what it meant, I seized the second to coach the medical college students: “Despair is essentially the most painful sickness I’ve ever handled. Out of every thing I’ve been recognized with, melancholy harm essentially the most.”

I didn’t anticipate them to say something, however I wished to make them assume and I imagine I did. I solely noticed that physician as soon as, but when it’s a physician I see frequently, relying on how she — and now it’s normally a she — reacts to my tattoo and the reason, I’d reveal extra of my historical past.

Dr. P., the headache specialist who treats my migraines, is solely one of many nicest docs and one of the crucial real ladies I’ve met. The injections she offers me contain the again of my neck and my shoulder so she was one of many first docs to see my tattoo. She can also be extremely sensible: She has each an MD and a Ph.D., and is board licensed in psychiatry and neurology. I felt as if I might belief her and at one level I made a decision to divulge to her I’d been recognized with borderline character dysfunction. Her response was gratifying: “You’re kidding.”

I defined to her I had the great fortune of getting each intensive dialectical habits remedy (DBT) and transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) with a talented psychiatrist who had been instrumental in my restoration. At one level, I used to be seeing Dr. P. each two weeks, getting nerve blocks and set off level injections, however the insurance coverage stopped protecting these. Now I get Botox injections for my migraines each three months so it’s like a mini-reunion once I see her.

There are different docs who’ve seen my tattoo, to whom I might by no means take that threat. It’s unlucky that I really feel that manner about them. Name it a sixth sense and a raffle I’m not prepared to take with my hard-won psychological well being.

Thanks for studying.


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