In August last year, I heard about semi-colon tattoos. Even though at that point I had not made an attempt on my own life, I knew I had come out of an unmanageable clinical depression that completely isolated me. I had been stable(ish) for quite a few months, and I thought I had gotten through the worst my depression could ever be.
I wanted a reminder that it can get good again, that no matter how long it takes there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I didn’t have to hide anymore. For me, getting it tattooed was me taking back control from The Black Dot. I was saying, “no, you can’t keep it secret and you can’t keep me down”.
It’s kind of changed for me now. The last few months my emotions have been extreme and with glorious highs come life-threatening lows and for the first time I moved from intent to action and tried to take my own life.
One of the paramedics who came out to treat me had her own semi-colon tattoo on her wrist, and she told me “Don’t worry, you will get through this. You will get better”.
So now my semi-colon means a lot more to me than just a fuck you to depression. It means solidarity. A stranger was able to recognise me for who I really was and reach out to me when nothing else was getting through. I felt incredibly connected to her and am very grateful for her kind words.
Now I feel like I’m part of a community of fighters. As hard as it’s been, my mental illness has made me tough, strong and resilient. It’s shown me time and time again that I can do anything with enough willpower. It’s taught me how to care deeply for people, empathise with them and allowed me an insight into the full range of human feeling. I am grateful for my struggle because of the young woman it’s turned me into and I will keep on fighting because, despite The Black Dot’s best arguments, I am worth something and I have something to offer.
It has been a blessing to have so many kind words from you this week, and I am so glad that some of you have found something you relate to in my blogs. So thank you for reaching out and encouraging me to keep going, I really appreciate it.