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Day 34 of Isolation: Project 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.”
semicolon

Each year, on April 16th, our community celebrates World Semicolon Day. By sharing our stories and tattoos, we remind those with mental illness and their supporters, You are not alone and Your story isn’t over.

semicolon

I got my tattoo (my very first) in 2013. I’ve battled mental illness my entire life, knowing from at least 8 or 9 that there was something wrong with me, although I didn’t have the words to express that.

By 11, I knew I was depressed. I’ve battled suicidal tendencies since I was a teen (nearly walking in front of a speeding semi when I was 19 with my only worry being if it would hurt). In 2011 (at the age of 33), I had a complete breakdown that nearly put me in the hospital, and that finally spurred me to get treatment.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with bipolar along with depression and anxiety. Things made a little more sense then, and the meds I was put on actually worked (for a while anyway). In 2014, I ended up in the hospital on a 72-hour hold because I was having a hard time dealing with stress in my life (I won’t get into it).

Since then I’ve struggled to find meds that keep me balanced and have been completely unmedicated for the last six months because we lost our insurance and my prescriptions ran out. They weren’t really working anymore anyway and my doctor didn’t want to try anything else. I had planned to find a new provider once we got our insurance back but then the world fell apart so I’m just struggling to keep my head above water right now.

The semicolon on my wrist is a reminder to keep writing my story no matter how much it sucks right now. I can try to fix it later. As a writer, I love the metaphor of the tattoo and Project. Rough drafts are always a disaster but you can make them better with a little work and some rewrites. My story is currently in a rough draft state, waiting for a chance to be rewritten. I’ll get there eventually.

On this day, draw a semicolon on your wrist to remind yourself that your story isn’t over yet. Do this if you suffer from mental illness and/or have been suicidal. Do this if someone you love has a mental illness. Do this in memory of someone you’ve lost to suicide.

And remember, even in these trying times when we’re all forced apart, you aren’t alone. Keep writing your story.

[Originally published on my Facebook–it was too emotionally draining to write another account of my mental illness right now.]

Project Semicolon

No, this isn’t a grammar lesson.

Project Semicolon is a movement that promotes mental health and suicide awareness. The stigma that is attached to mental illness often prevents sufferers from speaking out or even seeking help.

The stigma needs to end. And that starts with all of us rising above and sharing our stories.

I’ve struggled with mental illness my entire life.

[cut for talk about suicide]

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