Once a form of punctuation that denoted being not quite the end of a sentence, the semicolon has taken on a whole new meaning. And it's big.
Tattoos With Meaning
Instagram has over 58,000 posts with the #semicolontattoo and that number is constantly growing. This tiny tatt is a candid reminder that the person next to you may be suffering from mental illness and depression. And yet, they have chosen to carry on with their daily life.
Maybe that person is you?
If you ever needed a reminder that life can be tough, the semicolon tattoo meaning has become a token that connects us in our search for happiness and the reality of how difficult finding it can be.
What does a semicolon tattoo mean?
Despite their prevalence, depression and anxiety still come with a stigma that can lead to further mental health issues. As many as six Australians die from suicide every day and a further 30 attempt to take their own life.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 25-44 and the numbers of deaths are growing.
Amy Bleuel, the founder of the Semicolon Project suffered her whole life with depression and created the semicolon sign as an expression of her willingness to carry on.
What Does a Semicolon Tattoo Mean?
“The semicolon was chosen because in literature a semicolon is used when an author chooses to not end a sentence," said Bleuel. “You are the author and the sentence is your life. You are choosing to continue.”
Bleuel originally encouraged people to draw the semicolon on their body and post it on social media. But it didn't take long before her post went viral and people began inking their bodies with a permanent reminder that you are the author and could have chosen to end your sentence, but chose not too.
It's a powerful message that has taken hold.
My semicolon tattoo is my favorite. It reminds me that everything bad passes with time. I'm almost 3 years clean now and got it right before I stopped using 💜
Project Semicolon was formed in 2013 and has helped more than 5.2 million people; "It's not just a semicolon. It's hope. It's inspiration. And it's who we are."
This tiny sign of hope is now and adorning over 1 million people – mostly on their wrists and ankles – and has become something of a conversation starter. Not just for those who have experienced depression or suicidal thoughts, but it's become a way to reach out to our fellow humans who acknowledge they've suffered.
Semicolon Tattoo Ideas
If you're considering joining the ever-growing number of semicolon supporters, there are numerous ways the tattoo can be embellished. Common versions include replacing the dot with a heart or kitten face, while others add butterfly wings to symbolise transformation. No matter what you choose, you're sending a message of hope to others.
Tips For Getting a Semicolon Tattoo
The key to getting any tattoo is to be sure you want one. The great thing about the semicolon tattoo is that it can be made small enough to be almost hidden: some people have them on the inside of their fingers, others have them behind the ear or on their foot or ankle. Or you can incorporate it within a larger tattoo.
Other Mental Health Related Tattoos
Celebs suffer too and the semicolon isn't the only inked reminder that people aren't having a great time.
Demi Lovato has long been open about her battles with depression – and her love of tattoos. She sports a reminder to herself to be in the moment with a tattoo that runs from her left foot to her right that says Let Go & Let God.
Sadly, Bleuel lost her battle with depression and passed away on March 24, 2017 at the age of 31.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.