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Surface

New and Terrified! :)

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Hi there!

I've been a long time admirer of tattoos, have wanted one since college, walked in and out of shops since then, and just recently had a consult for my first one (a half sleeve). I was initially SUPER excited, but as the days to my consultation ticked down I got more and more anxious. Went to the consult, felt better, didn't lay down a deposit as my artist suggested I needed to check with my doctor first since I have a bleeding disorder, but I'm thinking sometime late November/early December. But as I'm waiting further, the anxiety is still there, eating away at my stomach and I feel sick. I love the look of tattoos, I've always wanted one, but now that I'm close and it's getting real, I'm freaking out. Every step of this process has been super anxiety inducing to me. Is this normal? Am I overthinking?

Anyways, hi! Look forward to talking body art with you all! :)

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No one can answer that for you. You have to decide for yourself. If you need help deciding, then to me you're not ready. There's no time limit, you can wait as long as needed to be sure that you're making the right decision. If I were you I would identify the specific things that are making you anxious and unsure.

Also, welcome.

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3 hours ago, Surface said:

Hi there!

I've been a long time admirer of tattoos, have wanted one since college, walked in and out of shops since then, and just recently had a consult for my first one (a half sleeve). I was initially SUPER excited, but as the days to my consultation ticked down I got more and more anxious. Went to the consult, felt better, didn't lay down a deposit as my artist suggested I needed to check with my doctor first since I have a bleeding disorder, but I'm thinking sometime late November/early December. But as I'm waiting further, the anxiety is still there, eating away at my stomach and I feel sick. I love the look of tattoos, I've always wanted one, but now that I'm close and it's getting real, I'm freaking out. Every step of this process has been super anxiety inducing to me. Is this normal? Am I overthinking?

Anyways, hi! Look forward to talking body art with you all! 🙂

so,hi and welcome 🙂 , what I can add is that I have been getting tattooed for many years and I have many tattoos,and I still get excited and anxious every time ,I plan,put down a deposit, and go to get a tattoo.IMO that's normal human stuff.

Check with your doctor as to their recommendations first for sure.

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Hey...welcome. Get the okay from your doctor first! While some anxiety is normal, if you are super stressed then maybe you shouldn't start with a 1/2 sleeve, which is an ambitious project for a first tattoo. Maybe think about getting something smaller as a test to see how you react and heal. There is no rush in making the decision.

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2 hours ago, Gingerninja said:

Hey...welcome. Get the okay from your doctor first! While some anxiety is normal, if you are super stressed then maybe you shouldn't start with a 1/2 sleeve, which is an ambitious project for a first tattoo. Maybe think about getting something smaller as a test to see how you react and heal. There is no rush in making the decision.

This is more or less exactly what I was going to say. 

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Yup yup. I've always been very go big or go home. The stress isn't necessarily from the idea of pain or size so much as it is different, and different is always scary. I've had things like henna or other semi-permanent body art (won't go into detail here, but one I thought was going to wind up being permanent after it didn't disappear for six months and the design was super embarrassing and I strangely just went "meh" about it), without too much freak out, so I swing between "okay this will happen, it's cool" and "oh my god this is happening."

Definitely taking time to sit on it a little longer and see how I feel, though the doctor may just solve the problem in the first place and say no altogether! I have GAD, so that probably doesn't help much either. I get super anxious on big, life changing decisions in general. 🙂

I appreciate all your responses and I'll see how I feel in the next handful of months.

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It seems like you’ve made your decision, but just wanted to chime in as someone else with GAD. I’ve wanfed a tattoo for years.  Finally I knew what I wanted, and I put down a deposit. I was nervous as hell the day before. But, about an hour before the appointment, I realized that this is a transition (no tattoo to having a tattoo) and being nervous is NORMAL. I’ve had a number of body piercings in the past but those were easily removed. Of course I’d be nervous about this. 

Once I got to the shop, I felt totally calm. I figured that was the most important thing. I trust my artist and felt comfortable in the shop, and even the pain wasn’t bad. Because this was my first tattoo, and because I’ve got a history of fainting, I opted for just the line work. 24 hours later I was so stoked about the outcome that I made my next appointment. 

All of this is to say that, I think, as somebody with GAD, I’m often constantly questioning myself. “Is of normal to be nervous? Is this GAD or should I really be nervous? But realizing that a little anxiety is normal helped me be a lot more okay with everything.  

Attached is a photo from -right- after she did it— outline of one of the giant elk inside Lascaux cave. The cave painting has some grey shading along the base of the elk’s body and inside the antlers, so that’s what I’ll get done next...and then hopefully a few more cave critters. 

1DE13110-6ED5-4BDB-9AC8-956405B7B6CE.jpeg

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Thanks for your reply, @AgitProp! It puts me a bit more at ease.

I heard back from the doctor today and they said I should be okay, so I communicated that to my artist and said bruising and healing is still a very big concern and to let me know how he feels working under those conditions and we'd go from there.

I do very much swing between being very calm and mellow to feeling terrified and sick still, but clearly something made me want it, so I think I will go forward with it (I remember looking at shops way back when I was 19--almost ten years ago!). Is regret a concern? Absolutely, but in the end, I tell myself if something happens later on down the road, at least I'll have pretty art and a story that I can make big changes and decisions on my own (not the main reason I'm getting the tattoo per say, but looking forward into the future).

How'd you feel the day after and days leading up? Lots of intrusive thoughts on mine for sure, and something I'm discussing with a professional about, but it's been hard for me to find and talk to people who have GAD and going through that first tattoo experience (and that's the thing about anxiety—it obscures what you want, how you feel, and how you're supposed to feel).

Edited by Surface

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7 minutes ago, oboogie said:

People with your kind of anxiety probably shouldn't get tattoos. You are making ME uncomfortable with your obsessing. Seems like a really bad idea.

Well, I appreciate your honesty, at least, but we'll see where life takes me, haha. Decision is still mine, in the end. 🙂

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3 hours ago, oboogie said:

I'm glad you appreciate my honesty. I just meant it in a kind way. I don't want you to upset yourself or worry about something until you make yourself sick. But you are right, only you can decide. Good luck!

No worries, it's just info to chew on, so I appreciate your candor. 🙂

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I always get anxious/excited before a tattoo and won't sleep well the night before. I'm usually calm when it comes time to sit but my palms will sweat the entire time even tho I feel completely chilled.

As for whether it's the right thing or not - you'll never know until you do it IMO. It's something you have thought long and hard about and isn't a spur of the moment decision then I think you'll be ok.

Try not to make it too big a deal, at the end of the day it's just a little ink, and worse case scenario is years down the track you hate it, but there are options for covers and laser you can explore.

Personally I think the best fix for a not so great tat is to get better ones to take the focus off ;) so easy fix hehe

Good luck!

Sent from my MI 6 using Tapatalk

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@Surface sorry for the long delay! I felt GREAT the day after and have been so happy with it since. I wasn’t too nervous the days leading up to getting it, it was the “day of” that was really bad. I also realized that a big part of my anxiety was just not knowing what was going to happen AND worrying about healing...like what if I didn’t do the aftercare right and it got messed up? But, it healed really well, and now I know what to expect next time. In general my anxiety goes way down after I do something for the first time,  because I know what to expect. 

I think the next big hurdle for me, mentally, is going to be the transition from stuff that’s easily hidden to more visible things. I definitely want more ink, but in all honesty? My parents are really old and I’m worried it will actually kill them. (I still haven’t told them I got my motorcycle license.) Tattoos aren’t a problem at all in my workplaces, it’s really just my parents I worry about. 

One more thing to consider — so I’ve got GAD and also depression. I’ve been through some pretty bad times with it, but most folks tell me I seem “really normal.” So in some ways I feel like tattoos (and my body piercings) are marks that I’ve survived this thing that’s invisible to so many people. I’ve met other folks who use their tattoos the same way — a reminder to themselves of what they’ve accomplished in just keepin’ on. 

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