When someone decides to get a tattoo, there is usually some special meaning behind it. Whether it honors the loss of a loved one or the birth of a child, this mark that stays with you for life should have some significance to it. It makes it that much more beautiful when there is a deep story behind the ink.

I want to thank Kayla at Bodily Charm on Roosevelt Drive for doing an amazing job. You are an artist in every form of the word.

On Friday, October 9th I got my first tattoo. For me this was a big decision. Ultimately, the real reason why I wanted to get it, was why I went through with it. When I was 17-years-old my depression was at it's worst. I had decided that I wanted to end my life, but the attempt failed. This brought me to my senses and made me realize just how devastating that would have been for my family, friends, and people important to me. I never had a single suicidal thought again after that, but my depression continued. In the past few months I have started to get a handle on my disease and that is why I feel like now was the perfect time. I have many people to thank for supporting me through this journey including my amazing family, my girlfriend Dallas, and my awesome friends.

It was just a few months ago that I discovered the symbolism of the semi-colon. When this punctuation mark is tattooed on someone it represents suicide awareness. It can be used to remember someone who took their own life. In my case, it is used because I decided to not go through with it. When an author uses a semi-colon it represents how they could have ended the sentence, but decided to keep going, which is the perfect symbol for this important issue. I hope that when someone sees this tattoo and asks me what it means, I will share my story willingly to raise awareness that it may happen to anyone. Robin Williams is the perfect example of how it could really happen to anyone.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of hurting themselves or others, call the National Suicide Hotline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Locally, you can contact the Center for Family Life & Recovery at 315-733-1709. The website is www.whenthereshelpthereshope.com. Another emergency number is 732-6228.

PHOTOS: Andy's First Tattoo

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