Main Semicolon Tattoo Takeaways:
- A semicolon tattoo features the semicolon punctuation mark (;).
- It is a message of solidarity in the struggle against suicide, addiction, and depression.
- In grammar, instead of choosing to end a sentence with a period, authors use a semicolon to mean a pause before a sentence continues.
- For this reason, the semicolon tattoo represents where a life could have ended, but chose to endure and continue.
- Project Semicolon is a nonprofit organization designed to support individuals struggling with mental illness or suicidal tendencies.
- Creative semicolon designs make the tattoo more personal by transforming the symbol into hearts, infinity signs, butterflies, dragonflies, and other unique artwork.
Tattoos can be immensely personal. They can represent milestones and achievements. They can also commemorate memories and loved ones. What does a semicolon tattoo mean? Here, we explore its history and how it helps erase stigmas surrounding mental health issues.
Why is a Semicolon a Symbol for Depression?
In literature, a semicolon symbolizes the continuation of a sentence rather than an ending. Similarly, in life, a semicolon tattoo symbolizes an individual’s choice to keep going. It lets people know that life, like a sentence, can go on. A semicolon inked on someone’s wrist symbolizes hope in the face of depression, suicide, addiction, or mental illness. What’s more, the symbol has long been associated with Project Semicolon. This nonprofit organization fights to erase the stigma around these issues. It also uses the tattoo to raise awareness about them.
A Brief History of the Semicolon Tattoo
In 2013, Amy Bleuel transformed the semicolon from a simple punctuation mark into a meaningful social symbol.
Bleuel sought to honor her father after losing him to suicide. She searched for a symbol that could represent hope in the face of suicide. And, also be a symbol hope for those struggling with depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.
The ideal symbol, Bleuel realized, was the semicolon.
Beyond the personal meaning that the semicolon carried for her, Bleuel founded Project Semicolon. This nonprofit organization is designed to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Furthermore, the project supports individuals struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.
Its slogan—Your story isn’t over—is embodied by the semicolon.
This organization encourages and empowers those living with depression. Furthermore, it provides a safe place to discuss suicidal thoughts and draw strength from a community of survivors.
Sadly, Bleuel lost her own lifelong battle with depression at the age of 31. Her legacy lives on through her organization. And, the many lives it enriches.
Should I get a Semicolon Tattoo?
The three main reasons to get a semicolon tattoo are to honor survivors of mental illness, raise awareness for these causes, and show your support for this community. This inked punctuation mark has come to stand for something that is empowering and intimate. First, it is an affirmation of life. Moreover, it’s a message of solidarity in the struggle against suicide, addiction, and depression. For example, if you’ve survived hardship or tragedy, it’s a powerful reminder of how far you’ve come. Even if you haven’t struggled with these themes personally, a semicolon tattoo is also a bold way to show your support for those who have endured.
Whether you want to tell your own story or support someone else in their struggle, you might be considering a semicolon tattoo.
Ultimately, getting a tattoo is a personal choice. However, here are a few things to consider before getting a semicolon tattoo:
- You may need permission: If you’re under 18, you’ll need a parent or guardian’s permission to get the tattoo.
- Be ready to share: A semicolon tattoo symbolizes your battle with depression, suicide, or mental health illness. People might ask, so make sure you’re ready to share your story.
- There are non-permanent options: If you want to support the cause but don’t want a permanent tattoo, consider drawing a semicolon somewhere on your body instead. Or, using a semi-permanent option like henna. Both are a temporary but effective way to deliver the same message.
Here are 3 reasons to get a Semicolon Tattoo:
1. Honor Survivors
In writing, a semicolon is a common punctuation mark that signals a pause rather than the end of a sentence. As a tattoo, the semicolon is meant to remind these inked individuals that their stories aren’t over.
For this reason, Bleuel saw the semicolon as representing the continuation of life. As a result, Bleuel believed the semicolon was a perfect metaphor for surviving.
In this way, the tattoo honors lives that could have ended but didn’t. And, encourages them to share their tales.
Through its message, Project Semicolon its followers help others continue to write their story.
2. Raise Awareness
One of Project Semicolon‘s main goals is and is to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. That’s how the semicolon tattoo was born.
Individuals affiliated with Project Semicolon and suicide survivors or individuals struggling with mental health issues began to tattoo semicolons on their bodies.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP
Outside of the community, the tattoo helps keep these important themes visible.
For instance, someone might see the tattoo and ask about what it means. As a result, this helps start conversations about difficult topics like depression, suicide, and addiction.
On one hand, these conversations help further erase stigmas around discussing and seeking help for these issues.
On the other hand, these conversations help educate people about these struggles and how they can contribute to helping someone continue their story.
3. Show Your Support
Among survivors and supporters, the hope was to create a sense of pride and community. In turn, this comradery could help to erase any stigma around suicide and mental illness.
These days, thousands of individuals around the world proudly sport semicolon tattoos.
These tattoos start conversations about once-taboo topics. Additionally, these small symbols let people know that they aren’t alone.
Semicolon Tattoo Ideas
To create unique semicolon-inspired designs, many tattoo artists incorporate semicolons into other images.
One famous example is the cat. It can be created by replacing the top portion (the dot) of the semicolon with a cat’s head, while the curved portion forms a tail.
Another popular option is replacing the top dot of the semicolon with a heart.
Other people opt to combine the semicolon with other symbols of hope and survival to create additional meaning.
One unique design shows the dot of the semicolon dissolving into birds flying away. In many cultures, birds represent freedom, making this a potent and beautiful symbol of the potential for moving on.
Here are other symbols that you can combine with semicolon tattoos:
- Infinity signs
- Heartbeat lines
- Musical notes
These images may represent a person’s interests. Or, symbolize the things that helped them through difficult times.
Hearts may also represent support for friends or family living with depression.
Where to Place Your Semicolon Tattoo
Although the wrist is the most common place for a semicolon tattoo, you can get one anywhere.
However, its customary for the tattoo to be visible. This is to help start conversations about personal and collective struggles with mental illness.
Ideal places for a semicolon tattoo include:
- behind an ear
- fingers or toes
Because it’s not the Final Word: A Note To Those who may be Struggling
Unlike a period, the semicolon does not end a sentence. Instead, it communicates that the sentence will continue.
If you or someone you know are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you’re never alone.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, confidential support to anyone and everyone. Reach the hotline 24 hours a day by dialing 1-800-273-8255.
If you’re struggling with addiction, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
Your life is worth it.