Most of us are used to putting everything out there on the internet for the world to see, and when I say everything, I mean the perfectly together, perfectly FaceTuned version of ourselves. We take a million photos with our friends, but choose to leave out the ones where your hair looks flat or your seven chins come out of hiding. Rarely do we ever post the real, raw, unedited versions of ourselves, and while that’s not a bad thing, it takes someone incredibly brave to do so.
Heather Parrie, a Tri Sigma at the University of Missouri, did just that when she wrote a blog post about her struggle with mental illness and the effect it’s had on her life in college and in a sorority. It starts off as a simple explanation for why she got a tattoo of a semicolon on her wrist, but it becomes so much more important than that. In her blog post, Parrie explains that “A semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going.”
For some reason, there’s still a huge stigma attached to mental illnesses, even though one out of every four people struggle with it in some capacity. It absolutely takes a toll on your life, but Parrie’s message is that while depression and anxiety will always be part of her life, every day she chooses to tackle it instead of let it takeover. I seriously encourage everyone to read it here, but if you don’t have the time right away, here are the most important things she has to say about the struggle that she and millions of others deal with on a daily basis.
- “I got this tattoo as a promise to myself that I would never willingly end my sentence. I got it as a reminder to take this summer as a pause, and then to keep going strong next year. I also got this this tattoo to open up conversations between myself and other humans about mental illness, because as difficult as mental illness is, what’s more difficult is feeling stigmatized.”
- “30,000 people die from suicide every year and that’s more than twice that of HIV and AIDS but still I am embarrassed to tell you that I can’t get out of bed in the mornings.”
- “I am not who you would expect to be depressed… You cannot spot depression because you become depression.”
- “I am depression and I the perfect picture of a 20 year old sorority girl at an SEC school. I am depression and I am oversized fraternity formal t-shirts and Nike shorts that hang off my frail, starved hips that the Greek town girls envy so much. I am depression and I am the shining face on my sorority’s executive board and the bright smile touring high school seniors around my beautiful, botanical garden of a college campus.”
- “I hid myself away in my 7 million dollar sorority house, tucked somewhere between “you bought your friends” and “can’t daddy’s credit card fix your problems?”. I called 250 women on my campus by the name of sister but I was still lying at the bottom of a lake, unable to breathe while, effortlessly, everyone around me grew gills.”
- “My hope is that, because of my experience, I can be an advocate and champion for mental health awareness. That I can start conversations with girls in my chapter and students on this campus and hopefully influence someone’s life for the better.”
- “Every day that I say no to the dark thoughts depression tries to tangle my mind with, I am winning a battle that society has not made easy to win.”
It takes a strong person to admit when they need help, and it takes an even stronger sisterhood to be there and give support when it isn’t easy or fun. Parrie found that in her chapter and at Mizzou, but as she explains, not everyone is so lucky. For more information on the tattoo Parrie got, check out Project Semicolon. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255..
[via HP Writes Blogs]
Image via HP Writes Blogs