“I just want people going through the same thing as I am, to know that you’re not actually as alone as you feel. Many people don’t get help because they feel ashamed to talk about it. Don’t be ashamed.”
It’s a sensitive subject and while I don’t get too personal in most of my posts, this is a topic that no one should be afraid to talk about. The Semicolon Project has been getting a ton of attention lately. Haven’t heard about it yet? Well, I’ll get to that soon- but first, there are a few things you should know.
While I have never been diagnosed as clinically depressed, if you’ve been a person who I have let in to my “bubble”, then you know how I struggle with all of the symptoms of depression. To the ones I haven’t let in, their usual reaction is, “It’s impossible. You can’t be depressed. You’re always smiling and you’re known for your laugh” etc. I call that a spin off of Smiling Depression. Everyone’s situation is different and I don’t think it matters if you’ve been diagnosed or not. You feel what you feel and no one should judge you for that.
It’s hard to live with these feelings but it’s also hard to live with someone who is suffering. For those of you who have stuck by me no matter what, you have no idea how much you mean to me and there’s nothing that I can say or do that would be good enough to repay you for how you have helped me.
Some people in my life have witnessed my “bad moments” and they either didn’t know how to react, they’ve said “if you don’t _____ I’ll tell your family that you’re depressed” or they’ve never had to experience similar situations before. They walked out of my life because, like I said, it’s hard to live with a person who is going through something that you don’t understand. I don’t hold grudges, I am completely fine if they are gone (I’ll miss them, but if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve to be around me while I’m at my best- yes, that was super cliché) and it is also what makes me a better person. I have learned to not keep people in my life who don’t want to see me get to being a better version of myself. There are so many great people who always push and motivate me, who are there no matter what and they are the people I surround myself with now.
Life is stressful and full of awful moments and there are times when I say that the only reason I am still here is because of my family. It’s important for me to say that I don’t mean for this post to hurt my family, have them be embarrassed or anything related to that- I just want people going through the same thing as I am, to know that you’re not actually as alone as you feel. Many people don’t get help because they feel ashamed to talk about it. Don’t be ashamed. I’ve had several moments that were wake up calls for me. Times that made me realize that it wasn’t just a “phase” I was going through. For several reasons, I won’t go into too many details but if you feel like you need someone to talk to, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will see, that you are not alone.
It may be hard to believe, but there are so many people who actually CARE about you. People who, no matter what, will stick around because they love you. Also, we all have our issues and while I may not understand exactly what you’re going through and it may be hard to deal with, I won’t abandon you while you’re going through whatever it is you’re struggling with. Am I a complete stranger? Yes. Do I think that matters if you just need to feel and know that you’re not alone? No. I am here. It may not be too helpful, but I want all of my friends (or if you’re just someone who needs to talk to someone) to know, that I am not going anywhere if they need to call me, text me at weird hours, see me, I will be here. If I don’t answer my phone which is a huge possibility- there are about 500 other forms of media in which you can contact me. If it seems impossible to reach me, it’s not because I don’t care. Call this number instead if you’re in the Montreal region (514) 723 4000 until I can respond to you.
I cook and I write to keep myself from drowning (hence all of the recipes) and it is a good form of therapy. Sometimes though, nothing can help. There is so much stigma surrounding depression, being bipolar, all mental illnesses really- it has to stop.
Project Semicolon (The Semicolon Project) is a faith-based non-profit 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.
Buzzfeed did a video on the tattoo aspect of it all and I think they did a pretty good job but there was a video that I could relate to even more, that will also give you more information on Project Semilcolon:
She describes it very well- it’s not just a temporary feeling of sadness. Everyone is different and maybe you self harm, maybe you don’t. Maybe you deal with it in other ways; whatever the case is, don’t diminish what you’re going through just because it’s not what others are dealing with.
Project Semicolon – Faith based?
Now, I am not religious. At all. I would say I am spiritual. Growing up, I was always fighting the “Am I an atheist or am I an agnostic?” dilemma. I ended up just going on with Humanism as my “religion”. I would not judge you for your beliefs and I think that if we were all a bit more understanding to the fact that we need to just do what feels right for us (without expressing hatred towards those who are different), the whole world would be running more smoothly.
When I heard that Project Semicolon was faith based, I was apprehensive as to what that meant. On their official site, they explain:
“When the foundation of this project was created those involved reflected on what got them to where they are today. The answer was clear that it was the love of Christ. As we set forth in the project, we committed to loving with a Christ-like love those who are struggling. We inspire others through the very thing that brought us to continuance in our own stories. This by no means excludes any other beliefs or religions, as we accept them all. For we are all in this together. I ask you stick around with us for this journey. We might surprise you in the end with the outcome.”
I was happy when I read the “.. by no means excludes any other beliefs or religions, as we accept them all” part. It shouldn’t matter what you believe in, for we’re all human. I think people forget that sometimes. That’s a whole other post though.
Overall, this movement, (whether you agree with their tactics/motives or not) has been helping people to either not give up, or it has been a way to remember those who have already given up their fight with depression. While I am the last one to follow a certain “trend” and I highly dislike it when people just go along with what everyone else is talking about (have fun with those tattoos if you were just a bandwagon person), I can relate to this project and I love all of the collaborations that are part of it. Whether it is the items you can buy (sometimes I look at things around me to calm down and feel like I can relate to someone else), if you’re going to get involved, trying to get Amy Bleuel to come speak at your school, or if you’re brave enough to join Hope is Alive… it can take one action/post to help someone. One small act like sharing your story can be life changing for someone else.
I wrote about this numerous times but it took over 10 years for me to share it where I knew other people could see it. It’s scary. I’ve asked numerous friends if it was a good idea for me to post it or not. I have had this as a “draft” in my posts for a long time.
It’s time to not be afraid because I know that I am not alone.
Neither are you.
Thank you for reading this. If you would like to speak more about this subject (to see how much more alike we are than you think), e-mail me, leave comments, whatever you want. If you have nothing nice to say- I respect what your opinions are and I understand the need to speak to me about it. It’s fair to express your feelings if something I said upset you (although it was not my intention, so I apologize). At the same time, please keep in mind that all of this is to let people know that while we may not agree about things, we are not alone and maybe we’re not alone in seeing things a certain way. We can be a support system for one another rather than adding obstacles for each other.
I’m still struggling, but I’m working on it. That’s all we can do I guess, right?