Project #yoursemistory | Mental Illness In Books

A few weeks ago, I posted this photo on Instagram (as can be seen on the left). After posting it on Twitter, it was seen by the official Project Semicolon account, as well as liked 31 times and retweeted 10 times.

You're probably wondering: What is project semicolon? Alex, did you get a tattoo? OMG I know that book but what does that have to do with what you're talking about?

Well today, I'm going to introduce a campaign that's been going on long before I posted this photo. It's called Project Semicolon. Now, a semicolon is used when an author could've ended their sentence but chose not to. You are the author and the sentence is your life. Proj Semicolon is a global movement dedicated to giving hope to those who have/or are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. This project was made with a purpose to encourage, love and inspire!

My first encounter with this project was while watching one of the most inspiring Youtubers I watch, Kay Elle or K.L from secretlifeofabionerd (on YT). She is a long-time victim of anxiety attacks and got the semicolon tattoo on her inner wrist to inspire her to keep pushing through every single day.

I, myself, have experienced what's it like to be without hope. I recently found out that I had vasovagal syncope, which is basically a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure leading to fainting, often in reaction to a stressful trigger. In school I would feel so uncomfortable that I would often wish I were away from prying eyes where my friends wouldn't see me clutching my stomach or feeling dizzy. I have a difficulty dealing with stress, that's not anything I didn't know before. I'd bottle up all my stress, thinking that I would have all the time in the world to do what I need to do. Once a month I would literally have a breakdown, start crying, throwing things and breathing hard because all the bottled-up stress would come flowing back all at once. I couldn't handle it and did some unspeakable things. What I didn't realize was, I was harming my own body in the process.

The bookish community on the blogosphere, Youtube and on Instagram has honestly been my coping mechanism for the last two years. I've found solace among people who are willing to give up three hours to talk to me. I've met those who would share a laugh with me over the smallest of things. But most importantly, I've been exposed to all these books pertaining to mental illness. I always think to myself: this author could have written about anything/anyone, but he/she decided to write about this struggling character. If this author wrote this character's story, why can't I write my own?

I also can't forget to mention the unconditional amount of love my family and friends show me. To my parents who always ask me if I'm alright even when they know I am, and my friends who give me pats on the back when I'm feeling low.

With the prevalence of mental illness in literature increasing, readers everywhere are just going to get more exposed to some of the struggles people have to deal with on a daily basis. I think it's imperative that we take advantage of these books that were written from these authors and turn it into the good it could do in terms of awareness and motivation. So that leads me into my next point.

Just because you don't suffer from mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury, doesn't mean you can't help spread the word. I'm introducing the #yoursemistory hashtag with my great friend Aamina (@obsessedwithbookz on the Gram) who also finds Project Semicolon to be a great cause. 
As readers, we know how important a story is. We know that the author plays a crucial part in what the characters do and how they act upon situations. We love these characters! Whether it's the brooding, hot male lead or the geeky girl in the ponytails, they are all flawed and not without bumps in their lives. This project was created to encourage you to read more into the element of mental illness and learn more about that character's story! 
#yoursemistory is made for booklovers by booklovers. There are tons and tons of books that deal with characters who suffer from mental illness. Share their story and mark yourself with a semicolon! I encourage anyone who has an Instagram account to share this lovely message. 

What you can do??? 

1) Go on Instagram
2) Draw a semicolon on your wrist (or anywhere you'd like to, really)
3) Gather books that deal with mental illness or feature characters that struggle with any sort of struggles 
4) Take a photo of your semicolon "tattoo" and feature the book, of course!
5) Tell us #yoursemistory and if you don't have, tell us your character's semistory!! 
6) Post it to Instagram and use the hashtag #yoursemistory

Some #yoursemistory books to read!

      18336965 18599754 23341894  6609765 8712290 20306810 13539044

Spread the word!

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  1. Very well articulated, Alex. I'm glad you managed to find help and solace with your peronal problem - both in books and IRL - and I hope many more will, also thanks to the #yoursemistory project. I'm spreading the word!

    1. I've always wanted to do something like this but figured I had neither the following nor the courage to. Now I realize that as long as it's a good message I'm putting out there, people will pick up on it and perhaps decide to support it. Thank you so much for reading and just leaving a comment to light up my day. I'm excited to see the turnout of this campaign!

  2. This is so beautiful Alex! I've heard of the project 2 or 3 years ago. It reminds me a lot of the Butterfly Project where you draw butterflies on your arm (each representing a loved one), and every time you commit self-harm on THAT ARM, you are hurting the "butterflies" or your loved one who loves you the most. I seriously admire those projects that i see online! It truly is a source of all hope, and it makes me happy how encouraging and positive it is! Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Alex. And for also sharing those books that deal with mental illness! :) I've read some of the ones you've mentioned, but now I'd love to see the other ones that you've listed down too! <3

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    1. Yes, I've heard so much about the butterflies!! I'm glad I could bring this up in this community where we all support each other :D psttt psttt... I haven't read Girl In Pieces or anything but I know people who have and they've said nothing but great things.

  3. I've heard Project Semicolon from Twitter a few years ago. There's this amazing twitter account, @againstsuicide that basically gives you motivation and just be there for you, which is awesome. Like Jillian, I also heard about the Butterfly project, where basically you draw butterfly wherever you harm yourself. So whenever you want to hurt yourself, it's like you're hurting the butterflies so you have to stay strong. I really love seeing how people on the internet just okay with literal strangers talking their problems with each other. Like going anon on tumblr and just tell your story to someone you know nothing at all. Even without project, it shows how open and solid we are<3 I hope you're okay and just better in general now, Alex :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Oh I'm totally fine now, and I have this beautiful community to thank for that. Over the past few years, I've seen so many of these campaigns start up and I just really wanted to share them with others who might be struggling. However I didn't know about that twitter account so I'll be checking that out real soon. Thank you for all your support Tasya <3


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