“A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.’’ Some peoples sentence ends in glory, happiness, and an overall acceptance in society. I hope that your sentence is not over for those suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Here Is my story, my sentence.
Growing up in Stephenville, Tx, being the youngest of three children, and having two loving parents in the house was great. I had a great relationship with my siblings. My sister says that I was the cutest and happiest little boy she had ever seen in her life. Whether from school, church, or athletics, I had great friends; you could always find us getting into trouble in the small-town USA. I experienced so many great and unique experiences in Stephenville. From life-changing experiences like my father being ordained as a minister and my mother was going back to college. To not so life-changing experiences but were unique to me. My brother was winning a state championship in football to being able to show pigs with my sister in FFA. I was in eighth grade, and all of my friends that I grew up with and I were getting so excited to be in high school finally. All that excitement would quickly come to an end when my parents informed me that my dad was being transferred to Houston and that we would be moving during that summer. At first, I was upset because I had to leave all my friends and everything I had ever known. I grew into the idea of moving to a new town and a new school; little did I know that this would start a snowball effect that would change my life and how I reacted to the world around me.
On my first day walking into Tomball High School on the North West side of Houston, I was terrified but excited at the same time. I am a 14-year-old kid from a tiny rural town walking into a high school with over three thousand students. The only way I knew anyone was because of the incoming freshman football camp the week before, which ultimately helped me out. I couldn’t find my first class, and nobody would help me. I couldn’t find any of the guys I had met at camp, and my heart was racing very fast. I ended up finding a bathroom and calling my mom to come to pick me. She talked me out of it, and I ended up finding my class with only minutes left in the first period. With worrying about trying and seeing all my classes, I was also worried about fitting in. I knew who I was because of my background, but this was high school; this was a brand-new ball game. I started getting very anxious and fidgety early on in my freshman year. Not because of anything specific, but little things were starting to worry me that would never have bothered me before. I guess you can say my anxiety gradually crept into my life. I finally found my niche in Tomball, and I made friends that I still talk to this day. However, my stint in Tomball would not last very long. One day my sophomore year dad called me and said he was offered a big promotion in Midland, Tx, but he was leaving the decision up to me. I thought about it and told him I was ok with it because I thought it was the best decision for our family. I was very indifferent about it. I ended up falling into a very deep depression as the looming fear of moving again and having to make all new friends again sank in. My depression and anxiety were so bad that I came up with a plan. I was going to kill myself. I waited for my parents to go to bed. I heard their door close, and all of a sudden, tears came flowing out of my eyes. I could not get myself out of bed to go thru with my plan. I wanted to do it, but I just kept thing of what I would be leaving behind. Who would find me, and how would that affect them? I was sixteen years old.
We moved with only six weeks left in my sophomore year to a community outside of Midland, Tx, called Greenwood, and I attended Greenwood High school. Instead of keeping my head down and just letting things happen to me as I had done before, I would do something different this time. I hit the ground running in making friends and getting into the groove of a very small high school setting. During my time in Greenwood, I started having consistent depression instead of directly linked to a certain situation. At the time, I thought I could just handle it by keeping myself busy. I was almost never at my house. I was a three-sport letterman. I was always out doing something with my friends, but nothing was ever good enough for me. Nothing seemed to make me smile. My senior year finally hit me that something wasn’t right, and I realized that I am struggling with this on a day-to-day basis, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, any time soon. It was during that year that I started self-harm practices so that I could feel something. It only happened a few times during high school, which led me to even more profound depression. During that year, I put a gun to my head on multiple occasions, not for the intent to kill myself but to just feel that adrenaline, just to feel alive. I couldn’t get that anywhere else. Not on the field, in the weight room, out on the track, or even out on a date with a young woman as I was known to do from time to time. Overall I would say that during my time in Greenwood, I grew. I grew in knowing that I was struggling and dealing with something massive. I also grew in the fact that I wanted to do things that could help me forget about my depression and anxiety. I was also dealing with my spirituality and faith at this time, so it was a tug of war that had just begun.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I just have so many stories of getting down and either being able to lift myself back up or having the good lord above and my family lift me and get me back on the right track. A couple of years ago, I was at church and saw a lady sitting next to me with a very prominent tattoo of a semicolon. I knew what a semicolon meant in the English language. Still, there is also a powerful underground meaning for survivors or people currently dealing with mental health, suicide, anxiety, and self-harm. So I read up more on the subject and decided that I needed to get this as a tattoo. I decided to get the tattoo on the inside of my wrist to see it every day and remind me that my sentence, my life is not over. Suppose you are dealing with these in your life. Are you a survivor, a family member of a survivor, or a family member of someone that has committed suicide? I encourage you to get the tattoo as big as little, as discreet, or as pronounced as you would prefer. I will say since I have gotten mine that if you see someone with a semicolon tattoo or see mine first, there is an immediate connection between the two people as a sign of respect and a sign that none of us are in this struggle together.
I’ll leave you with this. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, think about what the rest of your life sentence could read out if you decided to end it. Please don’t miss out on it, and please always seek help. Thank you for the time, and I hope my story can help someone or show someone that they aren’t alone in having a story similar to mine.
Thank you so much for your time; God Bless.
Landon Seth Reeves