I was chatting with a friend of mine, when I noticed her display pic on WhatsApp was a semi-colon.
“Uh, why’s your DP a semi-colon?”
“In case some one feels like committing suicide. It might help them feel better”, said she.
How is a semi-colon supposed to make them feel better? What’s the symbolism attached to it anyways?
“I don’t understand…How?”
“Semi colon says it’s not the end.”, said she.
“I don’t anyone else to end up like that Linkin Park dude”, said she, with the dude here referring to recently deceased Linkin Park front man, Chester Bennington.
Suicide always seems like an extreme option, innit??
Sure, in the warped minds of some, it might seem like a cool way to go out. But suicide is anything but.
When I was a little kid, I always thought people were weird enough to take their own lives. I mean, the world seemed to be nice and all, why would people wantonly kill themselves?
Then again, what would a first grader know about what problems a grown up would face?
After a particular point in my life, I understood why people go suicidal. At the same time, I kind of admired their “courage” to pull off a suicide.
It takes a lot of guts to take your own life….or so went my train of thought.
As time went on and I got a clear sense of how the world works, I began to understand why people go suicidal. Only this time, I can’t help but wonder “Why couldn’t they have asked for help?”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not belittling their struggles in any way, but I can’t help but think, if suicide was the only option for most people. I guess after all these years, I just realised it.
It takes more guts to live and stare adversity in the face than anything else.
This world seems like one messed up place for people to live in, doesn’t it?
Pressure. Abuse. Loneliness. Stress. Disappointments.
It always feels like at any moment, all of them could join forces and crack your skull open, laughing while that happens.
Hailing from India, I’ve seen my fair share of suicides on newspapers and TV, mostly students cracking under the pressure or unable to fulfil the somewhat unattainable expectations of their parents, so that most of them can boast of their kid’s achievements to other’s faces.
There are other suicides that happen because of failed relationships, some happen due to tragic circumstances and some happen due to their own inner mind playing havoc on their thought cycle.
All these suicides have had one thing in common though.
A lack of help.
And in this superficially connected, but inherently distant world of ours, it’s an even harder task to even reach out to the right people for help.
I can relate to the situation that most people might find themselves in.
That sinking feeling of nothing coming to your aid.
That feeling of getting crushed by the world around you.
That lonely feeling of darkness engulfing your living being.
That feeling of fear when that sliver of hope within you is extinguished.
You’d want your near and dear ones to know that something is wrong.
But something inside you just goes, “They wouldn’t understand any of it.”
“Why do you have to make them worry as well??”, it goes.
So a part of you decides to lock it in and act like everything is sunny.
But another part of you is literally screaming for help.
“Tell them!!!You need help!!!Stop acting like you can take it all by yourself!!”, it screams.
But you decide to ignore it.
As that last flicker of hope gets extinguished,
And the chips fall down,
Some of them break out their problems to their parents or loved ones. That’s the first and most important step in preventing suicides. Letting your loved ones know of your problems makes it easier on you. You have a pillar of support and a source of love and guidance to pull you through this rough period.
If you find that impossible to pull off, there are suicide helplines nowadays that can help you to find the right people for help and guidance.
I’m no authority on suicide interventions, but that’s the best I know. All I’m saying is this.
About the semi-colon.
I did a search on it and up popped this site.
Started by the late Amy Bleuel in 2013 as a tribute to her father, who committed suicide in 2003, Project Semicolon helps people who struggle with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury.
It’s there that I found the symbolism behind the semi-colon.
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
Apparently, the members tattoo a semi-colon on their bodies to show solidarity towards people struggling with problems and to support the movement.
The meaning behind the symbolism clicked for me at that instant.
We, the authors of our own lives, cannot choose to end our inspiring stories just because we hit a roadblock.
No, we must find it upon ourselves to get past the block.
So we stumbled at that sentence. No problem.
Just put a semicolon on the sentence and continue to write that awesome story that is your life.
Trust me, once you look back at it, that story can inspire dozens of people.
So, soldier on. Keep writing that story of yours.
You won’t regret it.