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A woman who has spent years covering 98% of her body in ink has revealed she was born with schizophrenia – and it’s cost her more than £140,000.
Amber Luke has garnered more than 60,000 followers across her two Instagram accounts with fans enamoured by her impressive tattoos and body modifications.
While the inked beauty doesn’t often let people online into her life, she recently uploaded a video where she opened up about her mental health.
READ MORE: Meet the man who became famous after his skin turned shocking shade of blue
“Today I’m here to talk about a pretty touchy subject but I feel like it’s very necessary to raise awareness,” the 27-year-old told her Instagram followers.
“I was born with schizophrenia and I had my first episode at seven years old. I’m a hallucinogenic schizophrenic therefore which means I hear and see things that are not there.
"To put it into perspective for you, when I was seven years old I woke up from my sleep to a rotten dead corpse right next to me.
“I was seven years old when I smelt, felt and saw death, I thought.”
Amber, from Brisbane in Australia, wants to use her platform for good and wants to bring some exposure to what she says is a severe mental illness.
She also shared how she gets through lonely nights and dark days.
“Schizophrenia is nothing that you should be ashamed of, it’s confronting, to say the least,” she continued.
“The way I see schizophrenia is flight or flight mode. If I’m confronted by a situation that I’m stuck in I’m literally contemplating do I want to fight through this and see a light at the end of the tunnel or do I kill myself.
“I say this because there’s so much death when it comes not only to mental health but schizophrenia. The statistics on schizophrenia are crazy, it’s through the roof.
“We’re losing too many good people to this illness, to all illnesses in the mind … it’s time we stop being scared and talk about it openly and stop being judged.”
While Amber says she was born with the condition, she wasn’t diagnosed with it until she was 23.
She says living without the diagnosis was a struggle but once she received it, her whole perspective changed.
“[It was] pretty shit to be kept in the dark for all of those years but when I finally got my diagnosis it brought light to the situation of what I was going through,” she shared.
“It wasn’t a label, it wasn’t an excuse to take medication, it was a reason to keep going, it was a reason to understand myself, it was everything I needed at the time.”
Amber is a big proponent of mindfulness, self-awareness and persistence, which she says all help with self-growth.
In the video, she recommended that if you’re having a bad episode and need support you should take three deep breaths.
She added: “I know that sounds corny but it really does help settle your mind, your soul and your body.”
Amber explained that she is only on the path she is now thanks to years of persistence, learning self-awareness and years of growth.
“I’m still growing and I’m not one to say I’m perfect, but I am realising daily the things I need to change and the things I need to work on. I need to evolve, not only for my sake but for everyone around me,” she continued.
“Due to my mental health, I have brain damage from the number of times I’ve hit my head against hard objects.
“When I have a schizophrenic episode and I need to drown out my demons, I hit my head. It sounds very f***ed up and confronting but that is schizophrenia in a nutshell.
“But in saying that, there is always a silver lining and there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel
“If you are struggling and you’re really needing that extra support, I highly highly recommend that you surround yourself with those who understand what you’re going through. You are not alone, I’m sending all my love.”
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