Friday, 3 July 2015

Not a Mid Life Crisis...

I love looking at all the photos and funny sayings that people share on Facebook and Twitter. I've even been known to pinch a few and share them myself; well quite a lot if I'm honest. The one on the left, of someone doing a sky dive, made me laugh as I'm considering doing one next year for a 'significant birthday.' If this is a sign of a 'mid life crisis,' then I've been having one for a few years now. How else to explain my penchant for going paragliding and taking part in flashmobs at my time of life? But if I am, it's certainly fun and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Another thing that I'm now contemplating doing, is getting a tattoo. Another mid life crisis moment, right? Wrong. Having a tattoo is not something I've ever considered before. I thought that I was being very daring having my ears pierced, not once, but twice. But recently I read an article that someone shared on Facebook about a project that was set up in 2013, called The Semi Colon Project. This is a project that has been set up to support people suffering from depression, anxiety or any other form of mental illness.

But why the semi colon? Well to quote the article,

A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.

Having suffered with clinical depression, not only do I welcome the news that such a project has been set up, I also think the quote is very true and something to be celebrated. Although I personally never got to the point where I tried to end my life, I have known what it's like to feel that life isn't worth living. I've woken up dreading the day, let alone the weeks and months ahead; it's like being surrounded by a cloak of despair that prevents you from seeing anything good or positive in living. I was fortunate in that I had a very supportive husband and two lovely little boys who needed me and this, along with the help of a wonderful counsellor, helped me to fight my way out from under this cloak, or cloud of depression. 

But not everyone is as fortunate. Often even the people who love them struggle to understand. But if they've never experienced it for themselves, you can see why they struggle. That's one of many reasons why I think it's so great that this project has been set up. 

By writing a semicolon on your wrist, you are making a promise to yourself that it is OK to reach out and seek for help… stand up for you or anyone you know who has depression, anxiety, has self harmed or has contemplated suicide and help our peers, our friends and our family know that we speak up for them and that we stand up against Mental Health and the stigma that’s attached to it.

This is another quote from the article. At the moment I am fortunate enough not to need to make this promise to myself. But anyone who has, or has had a mental illness knows, there's no guarantee that it won't happen again. I'm thinking of getting a semi colon tattoo as a reminder to myself of how lucky I am. I'm still working on the book that is my life and hopefully the final chapter is a still a long way off. I certainly have many more adventures that I want to be included in it. 

So no, getting a tattoo wouldn't for me be another 'mid life crisis.' It would be a mark of celebration that I didn't end the sentence; a sign that I chose to go on and continue writing the chapters.

The story's not over yet. Watch this space...

Paragliding photograph courtesy of:

Thank you photo courtesy of:

Link to original article.

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©

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