Screw This, I'm Out!

The Screw This, I'm Out! design, STIO for short, was inspired by my experience of saying "fuck it!" and taking action to improve my mental health. And yes, in case you were wondering, I originally wanted it to say "Fuck This, I'm Out!" but I decided against it for people who prefer to not have "FUCK" in large letters on their shirt.

The phrase "Screw This, I'm Out!" came to mind when I was reflecting on how it felt when I made the decision to take charge of my mental health and physical well-being. I still remember vividly the moment I made my decision.

I was in the deep end of my anorexia/orthorexia eating disorder combo. I wanted to lose weight so badly because I felt like that was the only solution to my depression and social anxiety - I also used food as a coping mechanism. I felt like I didn't fit in with the other girls in my grade and like any other young teenager, I was highly impressionable. You know those teen drama movies where the main character who starts out as this shy, conventionally unattractive outcast undergoes a transformation where they suddenly become extremely beautiful, have a body that every girl/boy would want and has all the boys/girls crushing on him/her? That kind of scenario was playing in my head. I believed that the only way to become accepted by the people in my grade was to undergo some kind of transformation like that. My little tweenager brain thought that was how the world worked.

And so, I began reducing what I ate and I cut out all kinds of yummy foods from my diet. Naturally, the longer I restricted, the smaller I got. But it was never enough. I needed to be smaller. "I still have some flab to get rid of!" Was what I was constantly thinking. The quick hit of dopamine I got from seeing the number on the scale go down was always immediately followed by the drive to "do better" and to lose more weight. Even though my body was literally wasting away, it was never enough.

Then one day, when I was 17, I nonchalantly told my mother that I hadn't had a period in a while. I felt proud at the time because let's be honest, periods suck. But a split second later, that pride turned to intense shame. My mother was worried. And something I think other immigrant kids would know (and I guess most kids in general), is to never disappoint your parents. The shame that I felt was so great that it was enough to make me decide to stop restricting cold-turkey.

Throughout my entire eating disorder, I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I just couldn't stop myself. But at that moment, it was as if something in me snapped and I woke up to fully realize the extent of just how bad what I was doing was.

The STIO design is made up of three elements:

  1. A skeleton giving the middle finger,
  2. A tiger, and
  3. Fire

I love me a good skelly. I think it's so appropriate when talking about mental health because it's a reminder that all of us, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc. are all at our core, human. The skeleton is giving whatever is behind it a middle finger, which is basically saying "fuck you" to the struggles that they're leaving in the past. So in my case, it was saying that to my eating disorder.

The tiger symbolizes willpower, courage and personal strength. I want to take a moment to differentiate courage from bravery, since I feel that they're used interchangeably. I like this explanation from

Courage is exercising a conscious choice — one motivated by virtuous emotions like compassion, concern, or love. In contrast, exercising bravery is more often done without as much thought. Bravery comes with not just confidence but often a lack of fear. This is different from courage, where the action is taken in spite of fear.

That said, it takes a lot of courage and inner strength to initiate a significant mental change and to pull yourself out of a dark place, especially if you're doing it on your own. I have the skeleton riding the tiger to show that it's fully committed to getting out of that dark place.

The flames surrounding the entire scene represent the kind of hellish mental environment you go through throughout it all. They show that it's not an easy way out and that you will continue to face hardship as you make the difficult journey to a healthier place.

And that's the story behind the Screw This, I'm Out! design! Thanks for reading!



Bonus: My sketch of the design pre-graphic designer!


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