Tattoos for eating disorder recovery and strength

When I started recovery from an eating disorder again in September I really wanted a tattoo to remind myself to never give up and stick with recovery.I decided to wait until I had reached a healthy weight and felt pretty much recovered before I got one though as I felt that would make it most meaningful for me.

The first tattoo I got was the Neda symbol on my wrist with a semi colon in the middle.


The two lines are meant to symbolise a combination of strength and recovery.The smaller line may be seen as the eating disorder and the larger one as the courage to overcome the eating disorder.I chose to have a semi colon in the middle as I think a key aspect of recovery is deciding to keep going when instead you could give up and stop.Sometimes I have thoughts that I shouldn’t have gotten it as my head tells me I wasn’t that sick or that bad to have struggled with an ED but those thoughts are silly so I push them away!The tattoo has helped me to stay off the scales and to not purge.When I look at it,it reminds me of the commitment I made to recovery.

I got a second tattoo a week ago which is a lotus flower on my back.The lotus flower grows in muddy water and it is the environment which gives the flower its meaning,rising and blooming above the dirt to reach enlightenment.This reminds me to always rise above my circumstances.It also reminds me that my past experiences have shaped me into who I am today.

The second meaning of the lotus flower is purification and I see this as getting rid of the eating disorder.

The third meaning is faithfulness.During recovery you need to often trust and have faith in the judgement of others above your own.You need to have faith that you can and will recover.You need to have faith in your strength and ability to overcome.

The most important meaning of the lotus flower to me is rebirth.That can be a change of ideas,an acceptance where there once was none,the dawn after ones darkest day.I see it as a rebirth in a stronger person who doesn’t need the eating disorder any longer.

I know that tattoos are not everyone’s cup of tea!My mum hates the one on my arm and I haven’t told her about the lotus flower one yet…I just think it’s a personal choice.Its your body and you should be able to do what you like.I do not think I will regret getting these tattoos.I will say though that they are hella painful to get done!!!The lotus flower one took about 2.5 hrs and I thought I was going to pass out at some points hahaha.

Travelling Norway the past week has just meant going with the flow and just eating whatever whenever.I have had pizza about five times,waffles,ice cream,McDonald’s it’s not how I would choose to eat at home everyday and it may not be the healthiest way to eat in the long run but in the short term it’s more important to get in enough calories and maintain my weight.Its more important to enjoy the experience than to stress about what is healthy or unhealthy I think.I would have not been able to manage this as year ago and so for that I am happy!

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10 thoughts on “Tattoos for eating disorder recovery and strength

  1. Em

    I LOVE BOTH your tattoos πŸ™‚ I also plan to get a tattoo or two at some stage and would love to have them to celebrate recovery πŸ™‚ so far I just have a pinterest board of tattoo ideas and some temporary ones ! I’ll get there eventually πŸ™‚ congrats on getting yours though πŸ™‚ Em

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      1. Em

        πŸ™‚ the lotus is so beautiful and I love the symbolism too – I’m thinking of getting a small portrait style tattoo of my cat on my arm, near my wrist – I’m not sure if that is a painful place to get one or not… and I’d also love to get one of my wee guinea pig Cracker Jack (he passed away last year but was the first pet that I had as an independent adult and I LOVED him enormously)… I also love tattoos that I’ve seen of trees and flowers… πŸ™‚ I’ve been following a few tattoo artists in Dublin and London to try and find someone who will do the kind of tattoo that I want πŸ™‚ I think I’m going to have to travel to get it because there aren’t that many tattoo artists in Dublin working in the style that I’m planning but travelling would be a cool thing to do too. I also love the NEDA tattoo and what it symbolises… πŸ™‚

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      2. I found it was a bit painful near my wrist bone but it is bearable and if it’s a small tattoo then it doesn’t take that long.Im sorry about your guinea pig passing away 😦 it would be lovely to have one of him.
        There’s lots of different tattoo artists with different styles.The one who did mine I thought had quite a gothic heavy style and yet he was able to do a intricate lotus too!Its always worth asking.
        Travelling would be a cool thing to do as well and you could explore London if you went there,I actually live really close to London! πŸ™‚

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  2. I love your tattoos they hold such meaning!! I found your blog as I have just started my own as I am in fact awaiting referral to an eating disorder clinic (while my friends go off interrailing that I had to drop out of woo…!) If you could check out my blog and give me any tips I would really really appreciate that! Thank you, hope you’re doing well πŸ™‚ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much!
      I’m sorry you had to drop out of interailing 😦 but if you put all your effort into recovery then you will be able to go in the future and you will probably enjoy it more when you are in a better place physically/mentally.I chose to take a gap year when my friends went to university so I know it can suck feeling left behind but it will be worth it in the long run.
      Thanks for taking the time to read! Xx

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