In Tribute … ;



This is such a difficult post, yet, even if no one ever reads it, here I write, out into the cyber-verse … in tribute… ;

A truly profound and soul-crushing event happened very recently.

In the huge news of the world, it received little mention or notice. Nonetheless, some folks are really struggling with it …

The inspirational founder of Project Semi-colon, Amy Bleuel, a young woman who bravely shared her struggles and encouraged those living with mental illness to continue to choose to keep going…… sadly ended her own battle.

There are many,  living our mental health journey, who have struggled with similar illness and/or thoughts of suicide over the years. Amy was a brave voice of empowerment, saying to us, in essence, “choose to keep going”.

There are many others, who say, how can someone be so selfish as to take their own life?

The truth is, and it’s nearly impossible to understand if life has not beaten you into that place;  that at that moment in time, when you are in that place emotionally and physically,  and you are so beyond pain and exhaustion that your entire being is ready to be done, it is the hardest, most overwhelming, most painful option available; to choose to keep going; to realize there is still a choice to keep going.  To make that choice is to physically and emotionally overtake a somehow primal need to make it all … stop.

Amy encouraged that positive choice; empowered that choice, gave voice in the struggle for that choice, for many, many people. We will forever be thankful for her life.

We are stunned by her loss, pained by her pain, and grieve with those who loved her.

There remains a sense, though, in some of us, as strange as it may seem to give voice to – that we somehow understand.  It is not her “fault” that she could not, this one time, overcome the overwhelming need to leave. No one can know how many times she DID overcome that; how many times she did choose to keep going; or how many others she inspired, and yes, continues to inspire to keep going.

Living with mental illness can be, at times, massively overwhelming. A person’s strength to fight truly seems to leave their being from time to time. The gnawing feeling that the world would be better off without us, gets plowed into by that feeling of ultimate failure, loss, grief (whatever “it” is that spikes this latest battle). It has been the encouragers, the un-intentional leaders, those who survive and find their way along the journey of wellness, who then give that message forward to the rest of us, despite their own ongoing struggles; those are the people who have moved mountains in mental health awareness, education, advocacy and yes, hope.

Amy wanted to be known for having lived. Her ending should not erase her message; her ending, pardon the expression, serves to punctuate her message, though in a way we all wish had not been. We remain emboldened by her bravery in living, and the message she gave to the world during her short life; choose to keep going.

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