Semicolon Hearts

This is one of the more important hearts I might post on here.

I spent years battling depression like a soldier, hoping to one day be free from it, never really feeling truly happy. Sometimes I’d feel excited but never truly content and excited about my life. There were seasons where it was far worse than others and some where you wouldn’t even know it was an issue. Some days are harder than others, though I can say that I will always be grateful for the times where I could have given in to the thoughts that depression would have me believe about myself, but didn’t.

Maybe one day I’ll go into full detail about everything that’s happened in my journey with depression but for now I will say that I spent about two years thinking about how I wanted to highlight my strength and the courage it took to survive through the darkest days.

Depression isn’t something that people understand well and having been diagnosed with clinical depression at fifteen years old I remember some people telling me flat out that they didn’t believe it was real. Others were supportive and it wasn’t until I turned twenty-five that I truly understood the power it had to filter into parts of someone’s life that many wouldn’t expect: not wanting to stay in touch with anyone and wanting to be completely alone; breaking off plans at the last minute; chronic exhaustion; starting something and feeling energized by it only to not want to see it through to completion because it was just too tiring. What I didn’t realize as well, was how self-hatred and self-loathing were so tied to depression and how much you really had to hate yourself to believe the things depression tries to tell you about yourself.

When I heard about the Semi-Colon Project in 2013, I thought it was a great idea and I wanted to work it into a tattoo. Through 2014 it gained more popularity as Upworthy ran a story about it and People magazine ran a story of their own.

I knew I wanted the tattoo, but what I didn’t know was how to incorporate it into something that made sense for me and I realized how important the hearts became in helping me through a rough patch with the depression. More than inspiration or to amp up the gratitude, they became signs that I was on the right track and I remember thinking to myself that wherever I found hearts, I was finding a sign that there was so much more than what I was feeling in that moment. There was a life beyond what I was feeling in that moment and it inspired the creation of this blog because I wanted to share those hearts with others in the hopes that they might inspire others like they inspired me.

Cheryl Costello The Finding Hearts Project

Once I settled on the design I wanted to get the tattoo somewhere I would be able to see it and share that it was a symbol of strength. It reminds me that no matter what life might throw in my direction, I’m stronger; It reminds me too, that there is always hope.

The tattoo doesn’t just symbolize surviving depression but thriving through it. It represents succeeding and living a really full and rich life despite the odds which state that my story should be about anything else.

This heart stands for more than the rest and to those reading this who feel overwhelmed, hopeless or depressed know that my heart goes out to you and wants to remind you that there is so much more out there for you.

Reach out for help if you need it- it may be the call or conversation that comes to save your life:

http://suicideprevention.ca/

or visit the following website to get regional specific help throughout Canada:

http://www.partnersformh.ca/resources/find-help/crisis-centres-across-canada/

Cheryl Costello

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