Turing tragedy into a message of hope, Amy Bleuel began a movement using the semicolon to bring awareness about mental health and to break down their stigmas.
In 2013, Amy lost her father to suicide and wanted to honor his memory by giving hope to those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury, and other mental health disorders. To her, the semicolon represented a powerful and clear message.
“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.”
Hundreds of followers began inking their bodies with markers and tattoos to join in solidarity for these often misunderstood, invisible illnesses—thus starting a movement #ProjectSemicolon.
Read more about this important project after the break.
We all struggle with life from time to time. But anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, self-harm, and suicide are real illnesses and are quietly affecting people you may know.
The sad truth is that so many people silently suffer because they’re ashamed or don’t feel they have anyone to talk to.
I learned about this project a few months back and it’s made such an emotional impact that I am getting my semicolon tattoo next week. This is a very personal post for me, and I’m even a bit tearful as I’m writing this.
A few years ago I was driving home in a terrible snow storm, watching car after car slide off the road. As I did my best to stay in the tracks paved by the tractor trailer ahead of me, I began to panic. My chest felt heavy and my lungs tightened. Then my arms became numb and I thought “Please don’t let this be a heart attack. Please don’t let me die out here alone.”
I learned later that I suffered an anxiety attack, which would be the first of many. I remember thinking anxiety was for people who just stressed out too easily and didn’t know how to relax. I had long misunderstood my own body and all the signs of depression and anxiety leading up to that nightmarish car ride. Opening up and finding help saved my life.
Be kind to everyone you meet because you don’t know their story. And you don’t know their struggle and bravery to keep writing new chapters. And if you meet someone with a semicolon tattoo, acknowledge their strength and share this message.
— Project Semicolon™ (@ProjSemicolon) April 16, 2015
If this is an emergency, or if you are worried that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)