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She Got A Semicolon Tattoo (And The Reason Why Is Amazing!)

June 23, 2015 3 min read

Semicolons can be placed in a sentence where the writer has the option of using a period. The writer could end the sentence there but instead chooses to keep going. It joins two parts of a sentence by providing a pause in between. A semicolon is a breath. In April, Heather was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. By June, her mental illness had stolen so much from her. She was barely able to eat and had to give up a job she had dreamed of since freshman year. Heather got a semicolon tattooed to her wrist as a reminder. She says, "I got this tattoo as a promise to myself that I would never willingly end my sentence. I got it as a reminder to take this summer as a pause, and then to keep going strong next year. I also got this this tattoo to open up conversations between myself and other humans about mental illness, because as difficult as mental illness is, what’s more difficult is feeling stigmatized. Or like you failed. Or like people are feeling sorry for you. There’s no question that the stigma surrounding mental illness inhibits struggling humans from finding the help that they need, and I find this absolutely heartbreaking because I know I am not alone when I say that depression destroyed my GPA, my relationships with my friends, my involvement on campus, and much, much more." semicolon Mental illness impacts so many people - some estimates as high as 1 in 4 - and yet it is an isolating experience. Heather lived on campus, she lived in a sorority house. She had 'sisters' all over the place but at the end of the day, she was suffering alone, in a place so deep no one could reach. She explains: "no one tells you what to do when your life becomes a ten-car pile up during rush hour traffic. Because no one tells you how to tell the very people who framed your life and hung it up on the wall for everyone to admire the girl who has it all together that nothing is going right anymore. No one tells you what to do when the good days dwindle so severely that you can’t remember the last time you woke up and didn’t want to die." Every 16.2 minutes someone commits suicide. That is a lot of people and yet depression is stigmatized and misunderstood. They are told to get over it and treated as weak. In reality, it takes real strength to reach out when you need it. To ask for help. To say, "things are all wrong." Sometimes things are all wrong. Heather realizes she's lucky to have the support of family, friends and her campus. Therapy is free there, meds are cheap but she knows not everyone is so blessed. She wants to start a conversation. "My hope is that, because of my experience, I can be an advocate and champion for mental health awareness," she says. Her tattoo is a reminder to pause. To breathe. A reminder that sometimes breaks happen between two related thoughts. Sometimes breaks happen in life. The pauses feel long but they are not, in fact, the end. Kudos, Heather. Your courage has started a conversation. Your brave expression may perhaps start a revolution. Source: Her Interests

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