I recently was made aware of something very interesting, and I thought I'd share my thoughts about it here. I saw a post online about Project Semicolon. In 2013, the founder of Project Semicolon wanted to honor her father whom she lost to suicide, and show how she had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts as a result. "The project was started by asking people to draw a semicolon on their wrist to show support. The semicolon was chosen because in literature a semicolon is used when an author chooses not to end a sentence. You are the author and the sentence is your life. You are choosing to continue," says Amy Bleuel Berg, founder of Project Semicolon. Many were inspired to tattoo the semicolon instead of just using a sharpie.
I don't recall a time in my life where I felt suicidal, but I have gone through some pretty deep depression at times. After having my babies, I went through various stages of the baby blues, so I was pretty sure I recognized that and had a good perspective while I suffered through it. However, after having my 5th child, I had a serious case of postpartum depression. I suffered from insomnia and extremely fearful thoughts that would just invade my mind and paralyze me at 2am. Insomnia + new baby + four other kids almost did me in. Thankfully, I recovered fairly quickly without spiraling downward further. Postpartum depression is a terrifying illness that many women suffer in silence, and so many women aren't as fortunate as I was to recover fully.
Project Semicolon got me thinking about how there are other times in your life when you feel like you're stuck -- like someone has placed a period and it's just over for you. I was a (fairly) happy stay-at-home mom to six kids, homeschooling, working as a doula, doing some work for CAPPA, and generally staying busy. BUT, I always had a dream of going to medical school and being an awesome doctor. I really felt like at 35 that I had given all I could offer to the world, and that maybe that was all that there was for me. I thought that it was too late to see where that dream might take me. At 35, I didn't start the journey thinking I was going to end up being a doctor. I thought I'd try ultrasound tech, and I was well on my way to getting that done when someone started building a medical school in Alabama. Sometimes I think about how if I had kept going with the ultrasound degree, I'd be doing that now, instead of fretting over exams and patients and the whole barrel of monkeys that is medical school. But then I think about how I'd probably be wishing I could be doing exactly what I'm doing right now.
So for me, the semicolon has a lot more meaning. I don't want to appropriate someone else's symbol at all, but in addition to being a testament that I am on the other side of crippling depression, it also means that sometimes when you think life has handed you a period, it's actually just a semicolon. Take the pause, and then get going on whatever adventure comes next!