A Small Symbol with Huge Meaning: The Semicolon.
Since their inception, tattoos have been used to manifest love, faith, culture, and beliefs. Some are purely decorative works of art, others augment or reflect the identity of the wearer. However, some of the most personally significant works of art are the ones that represent something symbolic. These are the tattoos that tell a story, and the semicolon speaks volumes.
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end a sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.”
These are the words of Amy Bleuel, the founder of the Semicolon Project. The Semicolon Project is a movement started by Amy in 2013 that is dedicated to the prevention and public awareness of suicide. Today, the Semicolon Project has grown into a global nonprofit organization that uses its public health model to offer resources and advocate for mental health awareness. To date, the Semicolon Project has helped over 5 million individuals with challenges including self-esteem and body image issues, addiction, questions of gender identity, coping, and teen challenges.
We live in a society of interconnectedness made possible through social media. Anyone with a smartphone has a platform to highlight the best moments in life: their achievements, wealth, status, and everything that comes along with such things. Amy used these social platforms to encourage vulnerability so that others would know they are not alone in fighting their battles. With this subtle symbol, people have marked their body as a reminder and testimony that they are the authors of their life, and that they hold the power in changing their story.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and although suicide prevention has gotten greater attention over the years, it is still a pervasive issue communities are struggling with. Depression remains the key contributing factor associated with suicide. For individuals living with a chronic pain condition, it is not uncommon for a psychological disorder to be present. The physical pain itself is an influential component of depression, but so is the trauma and social/spiritual isolation that often accompany a chronic pain condition.
Additionally, individuals living with chronic pain are frequently only offered opioid medication as a symptom management tool. Unfortunately, prolonged use of these medications develop into a form of chemical dependence and/or an addictive disorder, an additional factor that increases an individual’s risk for suicide. Furthermore, opioids have the potential to impact cognitive function and emotional regulation. We have found this to be true especially with the military veterans returning home from war with significant physical and psychological trauma, as well as PTSD. To read more about how the opioid epidemic has contributed to suicides in chronic pain patients, click here.
Here at A Healing Place – The Estates, we understand that addressing psychological disorders is imperative to not only treating depression, but also in helping patients manage their chronic pain without reliance on opioid medication. If you or a loved one is ready to end the struggle with opioid dependence and wish to achieve freedom from suffering, contact our compassionate staff to learn more about how A Healing Place can serve you. 844-388-4100.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or is having thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.