Have you ever come across an article or an idea on the internet that moves you? Something that you know that will make a change in your life?
I don’t remember how or where I first heard about Project Semicolon. Most likely, it was something that I skimmed while reading my Facebook feed.
Project Semicolon is a faith-based movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who struggle with depression, self-injury, and suicide.
According to the Project Semicolon’s website:
A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence if your life.
On April 16, 2013, thousands of people joined together to raise public awareness against depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.
If you’re an avid reader of ECU Rosie, you’ve heard me share my thoughts and experiences with depression. The worst depression bout was when I was in my early twenties. At at time, when you’re supposed to be having fun and enjoying life, I was going through the biggest inner turmoil.
Bear with me, as this will be the first time I’ve publicly shared my story:
One month before I turned 21, I met a guy at a party and we seemed to hit off. He asked if he could drive me home but I never made it home. I was raped and left on the side of the road.
The trial took over two years to get through the court system. In the end, he was not convicted. Even the cops that were involved in the case were surprised by the verdict.
In the beginning, I didn’t seek therapy. I think I was still in shock of it all. It was about a year later that my parents urged to me to talk to a therapist as I was still not able to open up and still very withdrawn and disconnected.
Through counselling, it was discovered that I might have been molested as a child. When I asked my parents about it, they thought it might have happened but wasn’t sure. I would have been 4 years old at the time. Whenever he came to visit, he’d always ask if I could sit on his lap. My dad was a little suspicious and said that it didn’t feel right; he eventually asked the friend to leave and not come back.
I had also disclosed to my counsellor that I was raped when I was 16 but I had never told anyone. During the court trial, it was difficult to distinguish between each sexual abuse encounter. If that makes sense.
By this time, we’re closing in on the two year mark after the second rape. Although, I was talking to a counsellor, I wasn’t really talking to anyone else about it. When I did, people would give me that pity look, or say “there there” and change the subject. At one point, I remember my counsellor telling me that I should just “be over it” by now. I got up, stomped over to her and yelled “Until you’ve been through what I have been through, don’t ever tell me to be just over it”. I never went back to counselling.
I started drinking and partying more to get away from all the thoughts in my head. And then I started to cut myself. I did it so that I could feel pain, as I felt so numb inside and so very conflicted. At the same time, I was able to control the pain because I didn’t have control over the sexual abuse and other parts of my life.
When family and friends found out, they thought it was because I was looking for attention and were not very empathetic. I think I was asking for help in an indirect way, since nobody could see that how much pain I was really in. I was supposed to be just back to normal, but what is “normal”?
The scars on the inside of my wrist remind me of when I hit rock bottom. But they also remind me of how far I have come. My life experiences have taught me to be a stronger individual and more willing to vocalize my feelings instead of keeping them to myself.
I urge anyone that feels suicidal, desire to commit suicide or cut yourself to seek help. You’re not alone and there is someone willing to help you.
To my readers, each one of us can play a vital role in ensuring that those who struggle with mental illnesses such as suicide, depression, and self-injury, is provided with a safe, accepting and supportive environment regardless of their mental health status.
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