About a year ago I encountered a twitter post about semicolon tattoo. I just read the title at that time, didn’t have any desire to know what it’s all about. So, yesterday I accidentally read another tweet about this semicolon tattoo thing.
Ah, so that’s the meaning of the semicolon tattoo. Then I searched articles about it, and found this one. It turns out, semicolon tattoo is not just a tattoo, it’s an project campaign to end the stigma to people who have mental illness.
So, why the semicolon? Here I will copy the project starter’s statement:
Project Semicolon was born from a social media movement in 2013.
They describe themselves as a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire.”
But why a semicolon?
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
The campaign starter said in the article that people with mental illness often doubtful or reluctant to share their stories, afraid of the stigma that will be put on them. The project, started in 2013, was to encourage people to talk with those who have semicolon tattoo.
Besides the negative stigma, most of us also afraid with responses we’re going to get. You know, responses like, “Oh, come one, it’s just work-related stress, don’t be too sensitive,” or the kind like,”You should pray more often so your heart can be calm and relax and pure,” or even like this, “Jeez, everybody is having the same problem, why the hell it bothers you so much?”
Now, why I decided to make the sign on my wrist (using henna, since I chose not to have tattoo)? It’s a mark that I choose to live, now. That it’s not going to be over for a while, at least. After acknowledging that I have depression with recurrent thought about suicide and having (on-going) therapy sessions, I think my story won’t be over for a while.
I’m pretty good these days, I think the therapy is working. I have less panic/anxiety attack episodes during the past month (also helped by taking medication to slow down my rapid heart rate), when something dragged me down, I tried to hang on and continue, although I get angry easily. Little things make me angry, furious even. I cannot channel it well, so I tend to be offensive and ignorant.
So, yeah, I won’t end the story for now. I won’t put the stop mark, yet. Despite of my ups and downs these days, despite of the anger and tiredness I feel, I won’t stop now.
Here’s a thing. The semicolon tattoo was a sign for you to open up conversation with the person who has it. To listen to his/her stories, and perhaps you can help that person. Most of us, we don’t have that tattoo. We’re still afraid to talk, to share, because opening ourselves up to someone is difficult. But please try. Try to reach out that friend or acquaintance of yours whom you know is suffering from mental illness. Encourage him/her to see professional help. And keep yourself in a good condition. You’re worthy, too.