I have a pretty severe fear of needles. An appointment to get my blood drawn sounds like the worst possible scenario, getting vaccinated requires hours of mental prep, and the idea of needles in general is panic attack-inducing for me.

But for some reason, getting a tattoo is more exciting than it is terrifying. At least — it is now, after I’ve collected eight tattoos. As someone who lives with generalized anxiety and has a history of debilitating panic attacks, my tattoos have become a source of confidence for me over the years. 

I love the idea of having a visual history that represents beauty and artistry in my life, a sticker sheet of hope and individuality I can literally point to and smile when the going gets particularly tough. 

One of my tattoos is a series of contour line drawings of faces that was initially inspired by a Maggie Rogers lyric I listened to over and over when I was going through a relentless bout of anxiety. 

The lyric is from her song “Back In My Body,” where she writes about the “poem of her mind.” The faces were an abstract representation that I worked with along with my tattoo artist to depict that visual in a way that made sense to me. 

It is extremely specific to my experience and probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else who saw it (in fact, someone once asked if my tattoo was supposed to be an abstract drawing of The Golden Girls, and as much as I love Betty White, no it isn’t). However, the tattoo means a lot to me and is something I have definitely referred back to when signaling my inner peace. 

That being said, I know how tricky it can be to nail down a visual representation of some elusive feeling that is so compelling you want it on your body forever. Hopefully, this article can be a good place to start!

We’ve brainstormed a list of anxiety-related tattoos (some popular, some creative) to give you a launchpad for a special design that might help you also find your way back to your body. Check them out below!

By the way, we’ve curated photos of the best mental health tattooscheck out that list too!

Explore these meaningful anxiety tattoos ideas to support mental health —

General Anxiety Tattoos

Anxiety Has Not Gotten Me Down

Got a cute lil tattoo to prove to myself that my anxiety has not gotten me down 🥺✨ I can survive someone stabbing my skin over and over again so I can survive going to the supermarket

Lavender

Got my first tattoo yesterday! I chose lavender because it's the natural remedy for anxiety. When I was in the MBU I put up a piece of A4 with "YOU ARE SAFE" written on it in green felt tip. I thought about getting that tattooed instead but this is more aesthetically pleasing.

You Are Not Alone

As someone who battles depression & anxiety everyday, I really struggle & I am not kind to myself. My tattoos are personal symbols to myself to keep going & not give up.  Always remember it’s okay to not be okay!! You are not alone & this world needs you! #mentalhealthmatters 💚

Sitting On a Falling Chair

Chair Tattoo

“I got a new tattoo last week ✒️
As some of you know I have struggled with panic attacks and anxiety most of my adult life and at my worst walking felt like you were sitting on a falling chair, but always.
This tattoo means a new start, one where life doesn't feel so hard 🚀”
Sara Vieira

Seven Purple Stars

My 134340 tattoo with my 7 purple stars 💜 my fave song that's gotten me through a lot of things and calms my anxiety is now permanently on my arm 🥰

Just Breathe

people see my tattoo and comment “so you forget to breathe?” but if you have ever suffered from anxiety and/or panic attacks you’d understand how quickly something as simple as breathing is forgotten. two words have literally saved my life & now i have a everlasting reminder💙

Semicolon Tattoos

Semicolon

Yaay, no longer a tattoo virgin.   Got this semicolon tattoo used in the mental health community for solidarity and strength. It shows that even when you think your life is ending, by adding a semicolon, the story is not yet over.   #suicidepreventionmonth

Serotonin Semicolon

talking about depression has been one of the hardest and best things i could have done for my mental health, normalizing that depression will be around but easier to navigate. this tattoo is always a reminder that i didn’t lose to suicidal thoughts  #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

Get ideas for how to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month and explore more mental health awareness days

Infinity Semicolon

To remind myself that life should last an infinity and my bads days are only a moment in time.

Lotus Semicolon

New tattoo in support of suicide prevention and mental health. A semi-colon representing continuity of life. Lotus flower for strength and resilience. #mentalhealthmatters #yourlifematters

Breathe Tattoos

Anchor

got myself a selfcare and anti-anxiety tattoo 🥰   @Raven_Creepy  was my tattoo buddy 🖤

Serif

I got this tattoo 2 years ago as a reminder to breathe, something I forget to due often struggling with severe anxiety and panic attacks. Mental health is so important you guys, it’s crazy because so many people in my life have no idea I struggle with these things

Cursive

On the left there is my first #tattoo, I get it after the most painful hospitalization due to the psychomotor panic attacks I had. It means I must be as strong as a rock. The other one also helps me with the attacks; it reminds me to breathe, to do it in a psychological way too.

More Word Ideas

Be Brave

My name is Rory I have PTSD I get panic attacks a lot   My newest tattoo is written in my grandma’s handwriting. Taken from letters she wrote me over the years before she passed away.   It reminds me to: Be strong Be courageous But most of all...

You Belong Here

A year ago I got my, You Belong Here, tattoo  It’s the handwriting of my 3 closest friends at the time  Always with my anxiety was the feeling that I didn’t belong or that nobody wanted me around  I’m happy I’ve found a place in my life where I feel a natural sense of belonging

Enough

One year ago I got my first tattoo. It’s a reminder that no matter the loss, the anxiety and depression that overwhelms me each day, I can get through it. I am more than enough for me and for God 🤍

Unique Tattoos

All In My Head

Anxiety in real time hit me real hard right from the beginning. I designed this tattoo to remind myself that my brain is a liar sometimes and it really is all in my head. Thanks  @themaine  for yet again writing the song I need to hear most at this point in my life

Little Mix Quote

In love with my new tattoo. My fav lyric from my fav song from  @LittleMix  The Cure. They have helped me so much over the years with my anxiety and my confidence especially my freckles and my weight they have taught me to love myself for who I am.Little Mix is my cure. ILY girls🤍

Panic Attack-Related Tattoos

Bricks

Brick tattoo on my ribs. I once had a panic attack & while I tried to calm down I came across a brick wall. I pointed at a pattern of 3 bricks 2 bricks 3 bricks 2 bricks. I gave a syllable to each one. The phrase I made was “my name is nat & I will be okay.”

Lavender Sprigs

I had more panic attacks this week than i have ever had in my life. Got some lavender sprigs tonight to remind me to calm the fuck down, really happy with broken hearts tattoo in ne, the artist was awesome and they were reasonably priced and rad.

Inhale Exhale

a symbol of my struggle with anxiety, my tattoo is a reminder that even during a panic attack I need to just breathe💘

Ariana Grande — Breathin

@ArianaGrande  Hey bb watch my new tattoo “Breathin”. You helped me so much with anxiety and panic attacks . Love you❤️

More Symbols for Anxiety Awareness

Heart On My Sleeve

“I was asked why do I have tattoo of a heart on my arm?!😊 Its called Heart On My Sleeve Movement , Anxiety disorder and Depression Awareness, because Anxiety Sucks and it’s important to talk about it 👊”  #heartonmysleeve @tanjakrnac

Green & Teal Awareness Ribbon

Tattoo 5. Half green half teal for mental health and anxiety awareness.

Learn about all of the awareness ribbon colors and meanings

Agoraphobia

❗️CORPSE TATTOO ALERT Posting this again because I feel like  @Corpse_Husband  would appreciate this 🖤 My Agoraphobic tattoo!! Even though it might not look like it, it was mainly inspired by Agoraphobic and my social anxiety shit. Sorry to my followers for having to see it again

Anxiety Sheep

My very first tattoo! My  anxiety help sheep is always with me now :)