When a Life Could Have Ended, But Didn’t: The Semicolon Movement

Therese J. Borchard

semicolon movementIf you come across a wrist tattooed with a semicolon, don’t write the person off as a grammar dweeb or unstable weirdo. The decorated individual is merely expressing that his life … much like a sentence … almost ended, but didn’t. The Semicolon Movement on Tumblr was created “for anyone who has ever self-harmed, has a personality disorder, or has tried to commit suicide,” according to its webpage.

This peculiar punctuation is being used as a sign of hope, a symbol that connotes the possibility of new beginnings after a long, awkward, and painful pause.

For example, the first Tumblr post is entitled, “I Will Beat This,” and says, “I am borderline anorexic bulimic. I have self-harmed. I have wanted to die many times. My sentence never ended. I am a freshman in high school.” Images of tattooed semi-colons and other personal blog posts fill the page.

There is also…

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April Is the Cruelest Month: Why Do People Get Depressed and Anxious in the Spring?

Therese J. Borchard


Although American poet T. S. Eliot didn’t have an advanced psychology degree, I think he nailed the reasons why so many people get depressed and anxious in the spring in his classic poem, “The Wasteland.” He writes, “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

I just spent the afternoon on discussion boards of several health websites reading about all the different reasons people are suddenly, surprisingly, knocked to their knees with depression and anxiety come the first weeks of spring. As one guy said, he made it through one of the most brutal Chicago winters he had ever endured with no symptoms of depression, only to find himself an anxious mess once the snow melted.

Why can good weather bring on bad moods?


For starters, it’s change. While some human beings thrive on unsteady…

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Should Happiness Really Be the Goal?

Therese J. Borchard

Happiness_is_by_aurelixAccording to renowned psychiatrist Peter Kramer, happiness isn’t the opposite of depression.

Resilience is.

I’ve always loved that reminder because the word “happiness” makes me uneasy.

It’s not that I want to be unhappy, or I don’t want to be happy. It’s that every time I make happiness my goal, I become very unhappy. Like that famous study about suppressing thoughts of white polar bears. When everyone was instructed to think about anything but a white polar bear, they all thought about a white polar bear.

To be completely honest, I even hate the “life is good” t-shirts.

I prefer the “life is crap” ones, such as the one with the cruise ship about to plow over the guy in the canoe. Whenever my husband wears that one, it puts me in a good mood.

I smiled at the discussion on my online depression community, Project Beyond Blue

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With Depression, Know Your Limits

Therese J. Borchard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spent this morning looking for a beautiful quote I read about a month ago, something along the lines of what motivational speaker John Bradshaw said: “I define a ‘good person’ as somebody who is fully conscious of their own limitations. They know their strengths, but they also know their ‘shadow’ – they know their weaknesses.”

However, when I Googled quotes about limitations, I came across more than a hundred quotes like this one from Darwin P. Kinsley: “You have powers you never dreamed of. You can do things you never thought you could do. There are no limitations in what you can do except the limitations of your mind.”


They all had very inspirational backdrops—waves, sunsets, runners–and I wanted to wave my hands in the air and say, “Yeah, you know it!”

Except that I don’t. And I think all the messages of this world telling me that…

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