Here's the Inspiring Reason People Are Writing "Very Much Alive" on Their Skin

August 11th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Shortly after the alternative rock band My Chemical Romance released their final album, lead singer Gerard Way said that he relapsed into the old, self-destructive habits that he had left behind in 2004. He opened up about how he started drinking again, but not for long. Having walked the path of sobriety for years, Way recognized that drug and alcohol abuse only served as a temporary and destructive escape from his mental health struggles and made a concerted effort to return to the straight and narrow. Way was successful, and on August 11, fans took to Instagram to express their support for the artist.

Marked by the hashtag, #GerardsSobrietyAnniversary, thousands of posts have appeared across social media feeds, with fans showing their support for Way by writing on their necks, fists, and wrists. "Very much alive," the text that many supports have inked onto their own skin today, is a reference to earlier statements that the musician has made about the importance of suicide prevention and other forms of mental health treatment for people suffering from depression.




SO PROUD ??? #gerardssobrietyanniversary #verymuchalive

A photo posted by ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@frankeuros) on





A photo posted by 1039paperlanterns (@myemoromance) on

"It's more important to keep yourself alive," Way said in an interview. "There's nothing worth ever hurting yourself over."

"I mean, I'm a person that goes through a lot of depression and stress and things like that. I'm generally happier these days, but I have—it's normal, it's completely normal to be depressed. I think it's just important that you keep yourself alive, you just keep fighting."

Way's message has resonated with a broader audience of mental health advocates as well as die-hard My Chemical Romance fans. Last year, he talked to NME about the experience of relapsing. His child, and the thought of her growing up without a father, compelled him to make a real change.

"I relapsed, not into drugs but booze. I was self-medicating again to get through, and I’d forgotten how miserable that made me. It took me to the dark place again, but there was more at stake this time. I started to face the hypothetical reality of [daughter] Bandit not having a father. I started taking that seriously, thinking, 'I want her to have a dad. A guy that's present. Because one way or another – either by death or by asylum, she's gonna be fatherless if I keep this up.’"

That's why he decided to go forward with the band's official breakup, he added. "Break the band or break me."