A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended; but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.
Today is April 16th, which is the day of the Semi Colon Project. A day when those who have struggled with grief, or been suicidal, or self harmed, or lived with a broken heart, or have been depressed, and have made it through to write (or tattoo) a semicolon on your wrist as a sign of solidarity and remembrance, that we CAN make it through, even when we don’t think we can.
Those of us who have struggled and survived are truly an untapped resource when trying to reduce stigma and prevent suicide. The taboo is that talking about someone’s suicide attempt or self harm will push a suicidal person over the edge. But in reality hearing stories of those who survive, how they survived and what they do to continue to find support and treatment can be life-affirming.
This is the EXACT reason why I blog about all of this personal scary crap that a lot of people don’t talk about. And today, as I think about the times when I wanted to finish my story but didn’t…when I somehow found the strength or the help or the support or the love or the treatment I needed to keep going, I am so damn grateful.
If I had stopped when I thought I couldn’t go on, here are just a few things I would have missed:
- John: Meeting and marrying the most loving, supportive, kind, smart and funny (Yes, John even your puns are funny sometimes) man in the world, would not have happened
- Ronin: My 6-year-old silly, sweet, smart, kind, would-be video game maker WOULD NOT EXIST.
- Ellie: My 4-year-old adorably sweet, bright and funny aspiring singer and ballet dancer WOULD NOT EXIST.
OK. That’s JUST three things. Three VERY BIG things. And to think of it now gives me chills and all the tears want to fall out of my eyeballs and onto the keyboard.
But you know what, in the times when I thought I didn’t have a future. When I literally could not see a day in front of my face. When the depression lied to me so badly that all I could see was pain. I did not EVER think that those three BIG things would ever be a possibility. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hoped. I prayed. I begged that good things would come. But I did not see them.
Thanks to several really good friends who reached out to me, and parents who loved and supported me even when they didn’t know what the hell was going on, I fought my way through it and am the person you see before you today. Semicolon and all.
So here’s what I say to those who can’t see a future. If you are reading this and think that nothing this good could happen to you. If all you see is pain. If all you think will ever happen is more and more pain. Let me tell you one thing.
IT IS A LIE. Your depression, your illness, is LYING to you.
Please, if you are struggling, reach out. I beg you. I know that somewhere deep inside your soul you do not want to die. I know you want the pain to end, but this is not the way. You can find help. Truly, you can. Please check out these crisis resources or call the Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255.)
Promise me you’ll reach out, OK?
My story is not over; and neither is yours.
For more background about the Semicolon Project and the Mental Health Blogs Facebook Group, visit HERE.