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Semi-Colon: The New Badge of Courage

Updated on May 22, 2020

There is a new symbol of hope for individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, and many other forms of mental illness. It is a symbol of faith that is being used as a badge of courage for those who have experienced some type of mental illness and have lived to overcome it. It is also a reminder for individuals still struggling with mental illness to not give up and to keep moving forward each day.

The semi colon has become the new medal of honor for those fighting mental illness. It is a symbol for those who are no longer afraid to admit they suffer from a mental illness. Individuals who proudly display the semi-colon have chosen to not allow their mental illness to define them. The semi-colon shows the public that the person displaying the symbol is a person who has been through a lot of pain. However, instead of giving up and giving in to the hurt and fear of their mental illness this individual has decided that their mental illness is not going to beat them or define them.

A semi-colon is a pause. It is a pause in a journey or story to let those watching or reading know that there is still much more to come. The semi-colon is considered stronger than a comma but weaker than a period. However, the most important aspect of a semi-colon is it is a continuation where a period could have been placed. So for individuals with mental illness the semi-colon represents a place in time where the individual could have given in to their mental illness and ended their story. However, a person displaying the semi-colon has said this mental illness is not the end to my story. I will go on and I will continue. I will be stronger than my mental illness, I am not my mental illness, I am more, so much more. The semi-colon says my mental illness will not be the end of me… period. I will go on and I will continue to write my story because I have chosen to keep moving forward. I could have chosen to give up and end my story, but I did not.

Such a simple symbol is now being used to show love, inspiration, encouragement, and hope for individuals who suffer from a mental illness or have known or know someone who suffers from a mental illness. This symbol is allowing individuals to share their stories without the stigma of society’s judgement. The semi-colon is allowing people to open up about their mental illness and to share their stories. For too long mental illness has been viewed as a stigma but the more we bring mental illness to the forefront and into the light, the less stigma people will face when suffering from a mental illness.

The semi-colon is an empowering symbol that allows the individual displaying it to be reminded you could have ended it, but you chose to go on because you are so much more. You are so much stronger than this. You have so much more to live for. So, if you see someone with a semi-colon tattoo, know that you are near a person with an extreme amount of courage and strength. You are with someone who has decided to keep on fighting every day when others have decided to give up. You are in the midst of greatness when you are with someone with a semi-colon because they have gone on a very long and difficult journey and that journey deserves to be respected and commended.

Most often when an individual is displaying a semi-colon it is in the form of a tattoo, so it is a constant and permanent reminder for the individual. There are many forms of the semi-colon tattoo.

1. Semi-Colon Butterfly:

This tattoo not only shows that the individual has chosen life over the end but that the individual has also been reborn or transformed in some form. The wearer of this tattoo has taken flight and is now free of their mental illness and the chains that came with it.

2. Semi-Colon with a Heart:

This type of tattoo not only reminds the wearer that they have chosen to go on but that they must also love themselves while continuing their journey. This tattoo can also mean that it was the love of another that helped the wearer through their difficult time.

3. Semi-Colon with a Cross:

This type of tattoo shows that the wearer not only decided to go on but that religion was a major part of the reason the wearer was saved. This tattoo could represent that the individual was saved from their sins and found hope and strength in their religion. This shows the wearer’s strong sense of faith in Christ and the choice they made to go on with the guidance of god.

4. Semi-Colon with a Dragonfly:

This type of tattoo represents strength and joy. A dragonfly is an incredibly positive symbol and when placed with the semi-colon it is a strong reminder of the joy and strength the wearer was able to find.

5. Semi Colon with a Bird:

This tattoo shows the wearer is finally free of their worries, fears, and hurt from their mental illness. The dove will represent hope. If it is a phoenix this represents rebirth. A phoenix and semi-colon is the ultimate symbol of hitting rock bottom but overcoming it and rising and moving on.

6. Semi-colon mixed into a Flower Stem:

Often the type of flower will also have an important part of the meaning of this tattoo. For example, a gladiola means strength, courage, and moral integrity. An Echinacea symbolizes strength and health. So, a flower combined with a semi-colon can have multiple meanings for the individual displaying the tattoo.


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