My Semicolon Tattoo Is Part of My Armor to Fight Depression
This has been a bad week for me. I’ve spent the majority of it feeling numb to the world and crying while cocooned in my bed. If we’ve interacted this week, then you might not have noticed. You might be thinking to yourself I seemed normal or my slightly off behavior was due to the stress of school. You might react like so many others and say there’s no way I could be have depression.
That’s because I also have anxiety that forces me to be functioning, despite my depression. It’s a double-edged sword. My anxiety tells me to hide, to not let anyone know when it feels like my depression is consuming me again. To not give anyone a reason to worry over me. Even though I could desperately use someone to reaffirm I matter.
Try as hard as I will, I know I can’t prevent the subtle clues from surfacing and indicating I’m not doing well. I laugh less than I usually do, and I rarely have a smile on my face. Yet, I hide the worst of it. I don’t tell anyone that as soon as I shut my apartment door, I start crying.
In a conscious effort to be more vulnerable and honest I am writing this, exposing one of my biggest insecurities. My battle with depression. One other way I am making an effort to do this is by getting a semi-colon tattoo on my wrist. I know a few people that will scold me for choosing to mark myself with something permanent in a location that is easily viewable. But honestly, that’s the point.
I also know it may have become somewhat cliché at this point, but ever since I read about Project Semicolon, I knew I needed one. For everyone unfamiliar with this project, it is a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire.”
You may be asking why a semicolon? Well, “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.”
I need an easily accessible reminder. I need it as a symbol of what I have already overcome, of the trauma I have begun to heal from. That every single time I have thought my sentence was over, it wasn’t yet. I need this as a beacon of hope, a promise that things will get better.
Mostly, I need this for the days when I can no longer keep the dark monster that is depression at bay. Days like I just had. The days where my depression consumes me, threatening to swallow me whole. The days where depression tells me I am not good enough. When depression tells me that the world would be better off if I didn’t exist.
I need this for the days when I can’t hold back the tears that threaten to fall for no particular reason. I need this to remind myself I am good enough and that I should exist. I need this to remind myself how I felt when I thought my sentence was over.
How it felt like I was floating. I was soaring. I was leaving the pain behind. Then, the wind started howling. The lightning started sparking. I was pulled into the heart of the storm, and I was afraid. I was terrified. I was flying, and I desperately tried to anchor myself.
I tried to stay. I grabbed a tree branch in passing, but it broke and I went flying into the storm. I was crying, screaming for it to stop. I was swallowed whole. I was surrounded by blackness, and then nothing.
My battle with depression is just that, a battle. It is a war happening within my mind that I am powerless to stop. Yes, I can fight it with medication and therapy. Yet, those can’t cure my illness. They can help the bad days not seem as bad. Yet, neither of these things can prevent the bad days from showing up like an army ready to fight me to the death. I can only prepare myself for the battle that is coming, and I plan on using this tattoo as part of my armor.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
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