The semicolon made the rounds when Nadine Lustre’s brother, Isaiah, died from an apparent suicide at the age of 16.
As a way to respond to the tragedy, Nadine, James Reid, Lauren Reid, Bret Jackson, and the rest of their squad put out the semicolon symbol on their Instagram stories, plus the hashtag #KeepGoing.
The symbol and the hashtag became a top trending topic on Twitter last October 10, as Nadine's and James’s fans sent out their sympathies, prayers, and support.
But why a semicolon?
The answer goes back to 2015, when the semicolon tattoo became a social media phenomenon.
Young individuals started inking themselves with the symbol.
It was looked upon at first as just another “millennial trend,” but it quickly became a poignant conversation starter about depression.
As a punctuation mark, a semicolon is most commonly used to link two closely related thoughts in a single sentence.
According to the website of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s The Writing Center, a semicolon is “used to join two or more ideas (parts) in a sentence…”
And as symbol, it represents continuation.
PROJECT SEMICOLON. In 2013, the US-based nonprofit organization Project Semicolon decided to put up a community dedicated to preventing suicide.
In a July 2015 article in UpWorthy, a website also based in the States, Project Semicolon described the organization as a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury.”
For them, the semicolon was a way of saying: “I’m still here.”
They told the online magazine, “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to.
“The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
To date, the organization has been able to reach out to over 5.2 million people and has inspired many others to create awareness about mental health.
LOVE THYSELF. One of the ways to help individuals going through depression is by listening to them.
People can carry a great amount of negative thoughts inside themselves, and one of the reasons why they see suicide as a way to shut out these negative thoughts is because no one bothers to listen to them.
Social media has allowed a number of people to vent out the negativity, and one fan decided to open up to Nadine about her woes two years ago.
Elena, aka Twitter handle @hallowbae, messaged Nadine on Instagram in September 2015.
She opened up about her inner struggles and told Nadine how much of an inspiration the actress was to her.
The Kapamilya actress named their chat group “Love thyself.”
Nadine echoed this same message in a recent Instagram post about her own battle with depression.
She told Elena, “Imagine the future.
“Imagine the life that you will have in the future.
“You will meet new people.
“Meet the guy who will sweep you off your feet.
“Have kids… Imagine.
“Imagine all the happy memories that you will make in the future.”
Under phospheneph, the Instagram handle to Nadine’s pop-up store, the VIVA artist continued to reply: “No matter what happens… Look at everything positively.
“Be excited with your life.
“If there are things that hurt you in the past… Be happy because you got through them.
“Be happy because it’s over.
“Don’t ever think that you’re letting anyone down.
“Compose yourself lang…
“That’s all you need.”
For Elena, this was how she managed to survive her dark times and how she came to love Nadine even more.
She shared the conversation online in hopes of inspiring others with Nadine's kind words.
Elena tweeted, "Pls don't bash me for posting Nadine's kind words. I only wanted to be an anchor to people who needs help like I needed help."
Pls don't bash me for posting Nadine's kind words. I only wanted to be an anchor to people who needs help like I needed help.— elena (@hallowbae) October 12, 2017