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How Amy Bleuel's Death Affected Me as Someone With a Semicolon Tattoo

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I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my hands shaking. My heart is shattered.

One of the people I admire most in the world has lost her life to depression.

You may have heard of Project Semicolon, but if not I’ll explain it to you in short. Project Semicolon is a project whose main purpose is giving hope for those who live with mental illness, suicidal thoughts or struggle with self-harm. The project explains that the semicolon is used when a writer could end a sentence, but chooses not to. The sentence is your life and you are the writer.

Hundreds and thousands of people all over the world, including myself, have tattooed a semicolon to our body to remind ourselves that our story isn’t over yet.

The woman who popularized the Project Semicolon is Amy Bleuel, and last week she lost her life to depression.

If you look at Amy’s Facebook profile you will see a joyful, successful lady who hundreds of thousands people admire and support. But inside, there was more.

And in my eyes, her death shows just how hard living with depression really is. That even when you are really successful and so many people all around the globe look up to you, depression can still be there. And it swallows you up in to its dark, black world.

When I was suicidal, people kept reminding me how successful I am, how far I’ve come from where I once was, but I didn’t care. Because inside of me I was experiencing a strong pain. A pain that someone who has never experienced will never be able to imagine, a pain that words cannot describe. This pain was so strong I wanted nothing but to stop it.

Thanks to Amy, I wasn’t afraid to open up about my depression, tell the world what I’m going through. Just telling people what I’m going through already gave me the strength to carry on. And I know it’s like this for a lot of people.

To me, Amy will always be strong. She told the world about her illness and gave a chance to so many others to take off their masks and talk about their illness. She did so much about raising awareness around mental health, and thanks to her I’m not embarrassed to talk about my own illness, like I was for years beyond years.

I will miss you, Amy <3

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: April 4, 2017
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