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Posted on May 23, 2018

Skin Deep Stories: Bridget

"I could finally do something to control and express my feelings and my life. Stories flowed out of the bottle onto my skin, giving me a freedom I had never possessed before."

*TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains sensitive content around self-harm and cutting that may be triggering to some*

Last week, Bridget DM'd us over Instagram.

This isn't the first time we've been in touch with her. In the past she's sent us videos of her cat watching her draw with Freehand, tips and tricks, and suggestions for future inkbox products. However, the message we received from her last week was different.

May 15th, 2018, marked one year since she last self-harmed.

With May being the month of Mental Health Awareness, we asked Bridget if she'd share her personal story and experiences with self-harm, and how Freehand Ink became her main coping skill. The following are her own words.


"I first learned there was a word for what I experienced every second of every day in 7th grade. It was called anxiety. It was the reason I scratched myself until I bled and why I was always shaking. The sadness and guide had a word as well, it was called depression. I didn’t know those things until I was diagnosed with them, so talking about them is a very important thing to make others aware.

I struggled with cutting and scratching myself, when I was anxious and needed a release and was too caught up in my thoughts. I tried everything in the book to stop but nothing gave me the same feeling of expression and control. I wanted to control something in my life so I controlled my cuts. If my fingernails had been cut too short by my mom and I had no scabs to pick I would smash plates and use the jagged etches as a blade. I wore long sleeves and long pants to hide my greatest shame. For 5 years I was trapped behind this.

I would draw on myself, and it helped a little, but my mother worried I would get ink poisoning and it washed off so quickly. It didn't compare to cutting. I knew what I was doing was bad and wanted to stop, but it was an addiction. I was so ashamed I planned to kill myself, but a friend saw the signs and alerted my school. I was hospitalized for two weeks in a psychiatric unit. I was watched 24/7. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without the door cracked, so the staff member watching could make sure I wasn't trying to have hurt myself. I got discharged eventually but I was still hurting myself.

My mom bought me skin safe markers and I would draw on myself, but I relapsed often and it just didn’t work. Then she got recommended inkbox Freehand Ink on Amazon and ordered it. The first time I tried it I was hooked.

The way the ink glided out was so satisfying, and the fact that it lasted 2 weeks gave it some kind of edge that I only got when cutting. I could finally do something to control and express my feelings and my life. Stories flowed out of the bottle onto my skin, giving me a freedom I had never possessed before.

I DM'ed inkbox and told them my newfound love, and they sent me some free ink! It was nice but the thing that really stood out, was the handwritten note addressed to me. It said people like me was the reason they do what they do, and to keep going strong. So I kept going strong.

I ran out of room not covered in cuts, I learned to let them heal and then ink over the faded scars. I could not only wear clothes that showed my arms, but I could show off my inked arms. I could change designs every two weeks and experiment with future tattoo ideas.


I found myself telling people they were not real tattoos, but from a semi-permanent ink called inkbox, and how they lasted two weeks and were waterproof. I was connecting with people as I explained how the designs on my arms meant important memories and things.

I found myself being more social than ever, and since May 15, 2017 I have not self harmed. I still get the urge every day, but I stop and look at the stories on my arms, or add more to cease the desire.

I’m still a little depressed, I still get anxious, but I’m in therapy and learning how to deal with life.

Strangers still stop me on the streets to ask about the ink on my arms, and many times they have turned into friends. I don’t know how many permanent tattoos I'll get, since being able to change up a sleeve every few weeks is a thing I love - but I am planning on my first one sometime this summer. I’m looking at different artists in my area. It’s going to be the inkbox logo over my left ankle, over the scar of the last cut I ever made against my body. A permanent reminder of how I learned to express myself in a safe way.

I thank inkbox for helping me get my body back and keeping it in my possession."

We first created inkbox as a tool for ultimate self-expression, but we are thrilled that to some it has become so much more. If you have a skin-deep story to share, please DM us over Instagram, we're always there to listen and would love to hear!