By: Amy Cooper, ACRONYM
Amy Bleuel, The Founder of the Semicolon Project, has passed away due to suicide on March 23 at the age of 31. She is most known for her contributions to mental health by creating a project in which people mark themselves with a semicolon, a note that she expressed to The Mighty as follows:
“In literature, an author uses a semicolon to not end a sentence but to continue on. We see it as you are the author and your life is the sentence. You’re choosing to keep going.”
The project, both shared in drawings, artwork, and tattoos, became a symbol for those with mental health struggles, whether it be a friend, family member, or themselves.
Now, the thing that is hard to grasp is the fact that this founder, had all the surroundings in the world by being the champion of this project, and it's illness effects, and still, ended up taking her own life. It's hard to really express how strong depression can be, but if there's any indication that sometimes no matter what you're around, you still may not always be able to handle all of it.
Amy had the help she needed around her, and it's hard to express all of those thoughts without thinking "Well, she didn't survive, so how can I?" It's not an easy thing, and especially those in the eyes of mental health, sometimes people end up trying to save others instead of looking out for themselves. I know this to be true because I've been one of those people on many occasions.
This subject hits close to home with me because I too have not only depression that I struggle with, but I did go get the semicolon tattoo, for a few reasons. 1, for my friend Steev. (Not a typo). For those of you that have known me personally for a long time, you've probably heard of Steev. He was a fun person, sort of off his rocker, highly opinionated, but never the less, loved. He had friends around him, he spent a ton of time making jokes, and never gave a sign that he wanted to die. Then he did. And it was hard. Really hard.
Now, most of my friends, they've gone through their mourning period and let it all go. I might still be the only one of our friends that tries to visit the grave around his birthday every year. But his death impacted me in a way that I can't express enough how bad the pain was. I saw all of my friends completely distraught, beating themselves up. And from that point on, any time that my days got hard, or my life was a wreck, and I wanted to cut, I didn't. He took his life, but I wasn't going to. And for a long time, I did it to protect others. I stayed alive so I didn't hurt someone else. I couldn't put my friends through that again.
That became "not enough" after a while, and after years of on-again-off-again medication, and growing older, I finally sought out other help. And I'm the best I've been in my entire life. But that doesn't mean I don't have bad days. That doesn't mean that some days, I look down at my wrist and have to stare at that tattoo and remind myself that my life is worth living. And that's what it comes down to with everything else, and probably what it comes to when Amy Bleuel is concerned.
For those of us who don't have a Steev in their lives, Amy is the symbol you need to remember. She may have taken her life, but you don't have to. As a collectively dense group of depression riddled, anxiety stricken people (as it's gotten worse over the years with many of us - I blame technology), we have to keep living. Why? We need to live for them, if not ourselves. Then when it becomes easier, we must learn how to live for ourselves too.
Why? And I want you to read this sentence and remember it for yourself, every single day. You can even imagine me saying it to you.
Your life is worth living. Don't ever think it's not. You are important.
Many will say that suicide prevention lines don't do shit. And I know that most people feel that way, but even so, if you don't feel comfortable reaching out to someone you know, please reach out to them to talk.
Or, my ears are always open. Feel free to send me an e-mail or message, hit me up on social media at @acronymdetroit, or however you get in contact with me. A pigeon-gram would be pretty cool, but not mandatory. (That was supposed to make you laugh.)
To contact a Suicide Prevention specialist, follow the directions below:
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.
Remember, you're worth the world. You are worth saving. Don't go silent. And don't ever feel ashamed for needing or getting help, and if anyone ever tells you that you should be, remove them from your life immediately.