A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to. You are the author and the sentence is your life.
“Your story is not over.”
If you have seen the viral semicolon tattoos and have wondered what it was all about, the story behind the small punctuation ink design has a much bigger picture, now known as Project Semicolon.
It all started in the spring of 2013, when Project Semicolon Founder, Amy Bieul wanted to honor her father whom she had lost to suicide. Through the semicolon symbol, many people related to their struggles of depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, and their will to continue on. The title “Project Semicolon” also represented a goal, to believe that this is not the end, but a new beginning.
As the days passed, and the project was in development, it became clear that the semicolon was not just about one person. The team behind the project heard from people longing to continue their story and live a life that would inspire others to continue on as well.
Over the years, Project Semicolon has become much more than just one person honoring their parent. Through musician support and social media, the message of hope and love has reached a large audience in many different countries.
Even though Project Semicolon is not a 24-hour helpline or ran by trained medical professionals, the organization hopes to serve as an inspiration to all.
The Complexity of Suicide
Suicide can be a difficult subject to deal with. For those who have never had suicidal thoughts, they may feel that a person who is dealing with the struggle is a coward, or they are trying to seek out attention from others. Those who have lost someone to suicide may feel angry at the person at times for “taking the easy way out” or “leaving them behind”.
But the reality is, suicide is the complete opposite of that.
Imagine feeling so lost and alone that your only option to gain some sort of relief is to take your own life. A person should never be condemned or judged for feeling that way. At that time, they are in a place where they desperately need some help. Maybe they just need to talk to someone who will listen, or they need to have some time to themselves away from the stress of the real world. There are times when the pain of real life is so strong that it can make you feel like there is only one way out.
For thousands of people, those thoughts have been the end. They didn’t have the encouragement to carry on so they took matters into their own hands.
Help Others Help Themselves
If you have noticed that a friend or a loved one has started to distance themselves from others, that they don’t show interest in the things that they used to, or they simply seem sad or upset most of the time, now is the time to reach out to them. Let them know that there is someone who cares and who will not let this be the end of their story.
Help is available for people who are dealing with suicidal thoughts. Your doctor can refer you to a counselor or psychiatrist who can help you in a number of ways. Seeing a doctor for your condition does not meant that you have to instantly start taking medication. Sometimes people just need to talk things through. A counselor or therapist will be able to help you find the root of your problem and teach you ways to cope with depressing thoughts.
Project Semicolon is a global, non-profit movement that is dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. The project exists to encourage, love and inspire.
Their vision is to achieve lower suicide rates in the US and around the world; that together we can start a conversation about suicide, mental illness and addiction that can’t be stopped.
“We envision love, hope and declare that hope is alive.”
To find out more about Project Semicolon and find out ways that you can get involved, you can check out their website at ProjectSemicolon.org.
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 1-800-273-TALK (8255)