19-year-old Aoife Lovett credits a tattoo for helping her make the next step toward recovery.
Throughout her teens, Lovett has struggled with depression and self-harm. Although she stopped self-harming a few years ago, she says her scars are a constant reminder of her pain.
“It’s very hard when you’re a couple of years clean from doing it and every day you’re constantly reminded of what you did. It brings back memories of how you felt then. There’s a lot of shame that comes with it and guilt, especially when you’re around your family,” Lovett said.
So Lovett decided to tattoo something beautiful over her ‘ugly’ scars but couldn’t find a tattoo artist to take on the job. Apparently, tattooing over scarred skin is difficult and rarely looks as good as on a smooth canvas.
Then she met Ryan Kelly. The young tattoo artist lost his mentor and best friend to suicide last year and struggled with his own anxiety for most of his life.