Mental health advocate and founder of Project Semicolon, Amy Bleuel, has been tragically lost to suicide. Even though I never knew her,I still mourn for her and her family. We need more heroes in this world, and Amy will always be one.
Those of us with mental illness know that, even with the good days, we are never cured. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m certain that most people who have found themselves in that dark place would see where I’m coming from.
If you recall my reference to social media as “anti-social” media in a former blog, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of why I make such a reference by the time I’m finished writing this one.
One of my favorite parenting bloggers shared the story about the loss of Amy, along with his story about his own personal struggle with depression and suicide. Many people shared their experiences, as well as pictures of their semicolon tattoos. Most of these comments were inspiring, and I almost felt safe enough to open up about my own experiences–almost.
That feeling of communal bliss came shattering down when I came across this comment:
Really???? You start a positive movement and then kill yourself??? The exact opposite of what your trying to bring awareness to…… I’m not being rude or hateful, I’ve suffered from anxiety for 30yrs & I’ve been on meds all.izt as long. This just sucks all around…..
Not being rude or hateful until…this (in response to a person who was one of many to respond with a massive WTF):
Too bad, Satan will be waiting for you and those that committed suicide
See, I won’t bother naming this person, and if you-the perfect one who spewed this bullshit while mounted on your high horse- happen to stumble across my words, I hope they clutch you by the soul and give you a change of heart, or at least make you think twice about saying that shit again.
Regardless of her being overwhelmed by the darkness and taken from this world too soon, Amy Beuel will always be a hero. She never claimed to be cured, but aimed to provide hope to others who suffer just as she did.
The semicolon that people were sharing pictures of were inspired by Amy as a reminder to themselves that their story isn’t over. It also helped to break the stigma surrounding mental illness that ignorant self-righteous people like you helped to create in the first place.
You suffered from anxiety for 30 years, so that gives you a pass to say that shit? No. Your Christianity gives you a pass to assume that people we lose to suicide are in hell? Absolutely not. As a Christian and suicide survivor, your words made my heart so heavy. It made me wonder if you would have the audacity to say that to Amy’s family, or any family who has lost a loved one to suicide. I doubt you would.
That is why I refer to social media as anti-social media. There is this disconnect in humanity which has created opinionated keyboard warriors.
In honor of Amy’s work and memory, I challenge everyone to pick up their phone to call someone and see how they’re doing. Go outside. Meet people. Smile at strangers. Make the world seem less cruel. I stand by my original statement when I said that compassion and support to prevent suicide begins with each of us being present in each other’s lives.
Rest in paradise, Amy. You will always be an inspiration to us. Thank you.
PHOTO CREDIT: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention