Depression Suicide

What We Can All Learn from Chester Bennington’s Suicide

July 26, 2017
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By now you’ve likely heard of the latest addition to the list of celebrities who committed suicide. Chester Bennington was the lead singer in the popular band, Linkin Park, and he is known for writing songs from the deep, dark place in his mind. Chester is quoted referring to “the place in between his skull” as a bad neighbourhood he should never be able to go to alone – something many of us can relate to. With songs like, In the End, Nobody’s Listening, Numb, Bleed it Out and My December, Linkin Park’s music became motivation for those looking for a way to survive. Unfortunately, Chester lost his battle with depression this past week, and as the world is now mourning Chester’s suicide, there’s some things everyone needs to remember.

It’s important to always find the light in the dark; to be like a sunflower that’s always searching for the sun. While Chester’s suicide is a terrible event that’ll affect people across the globe, we must all remember the positive things that his life brought to ours. Chester was an open book about his struggle with depression and his complicated, troubled mind, and his suicide is something we can all learn from.

6 Messages to Learn from Chester’s Suicide

It’s easy to look at Chester’s suicide along with all the other celebrities who committed suicide and think,  If they couldn’t battle it, how the hell am I supposed to? They have all the money, fame, love and attention they need to overcome depression. But not so quick! There are some strong messages we can all learn from Chester’s suicide.

 

Depression is real

The strongest message you can learn from Chester’s suicide is, depression is real. It isn’t some made up modern-day illness nor is it a sign of weakness. Depression is an illness – a real one – and one that needs to be treated as such, or it could very well take the life of you.

“I find myself getting into these patterns of behaviour or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighbourhood, and I should not go walking alone.”

Depression doesn’t discriminate

It doesn’t matter how rich you are, how many people you have in your life, how big your house is or how great your career is going – depression doesn’t discriminate. Having this mental illness doesn’t make you a lesser human being, nor does it mean you’re weak and incapable of handling life like all the rest. It simply means your mind has an illness. chester bennington, linkin park, chester's suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression, suicide prevention

“I find myself getting into these patterns of behaviour or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighbourhood, and I should not go walking alone.”

Anyone can develop depression. Being rich and famous doesn’t solve the mind’s problem; money isn’t a form of treatment and fame isn’t a prescription. The materialistic things you have have nothing to do with your mind’s health. You are not alone. There are many people dealing with the same struggle – rich and poor.

Suicide isn’t selfish

As someone who has dealt with situations of suicide the majority of my life, you’d likely expect me to say that it’s selfish. After all, the suicide of my friends and the severe depression my brother suffers has caused such great heartache. So, I should be angry at them for that because their actions are selfish, right?

Wrong. I’ll be the first person to fight against an army that says suicide is selfish. You have to think about how far deep down this person must be within their mind, body, and soul to want to take their own life. The amount of pain people experience prior to taking their own life is so unbearable that it would be selfish for me (or anyone) to say suicide is selfish.

Suicide is like being run over by a car a million times over again, yet still being fully conscious, alive, and well despite the extreme pain filling you up from the inside.

Depression comes from such a dark place, one that the majority of the world will never understand. And when people don’t understand, they fear and with fear comes unrealistic beliefs that protect them from the truth. Think racism, sexism, islamphobia, homophobia, etc. All of these things stem from fear of the unknown.

Therefore, to say suicide is selfish simply displays your fears of facing the reality of mental illness. Most people would be terrified if they saw what went on in the mind of someone depressed; they’re scared to face the extreme (and extremely terrifying) power the mind has over the human body. People are terrified to admit that their loved one is suffering from depression, and just as many are scared to admit that they didn’t see the signs of suicide.  As a result, their only defence mechanism to mask their own fears and lack of understanding is to say suicide is selfish.

“I can either just give up and f***ing die of I can f***ing fight for what I want.”

The pain and suffering people go through when dealing with depression is immense. So, asking someone to continue going through that for the rest of their life is selfish. Now, in no way am I condoning suicide and I strongly believe in exhausting all options of treatment. However, I understand why people take their own lives. It doesn’t have to make sense to me – or to anyone, really. The bottom line is that unless you’re suffering yourself, you don’t have the right to define one’s actions. You don’t have a right to put a label on someone’s suffering, suicide, or soul.

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You must exhaust all means of help

With the prior mentioned, I must reiterate that you should not take Chester’s suicide as encouragement to do the same. Chester was very open about the different forms of treatment for depression he underwent, and there are many videos online that proved their effectiveness. This man shared his depression with the world and he also showed the world that you can overcome depression. You just need the right tools. There are many forms of treatment, which you must exhaust whether it’s therapy, medication, rehab, treatment, etc.

The report conducted by investigators working on Chester’s suicide declared no prescription drugs were in his system or around him at the time of his death. This means he was not currently prescribed anti-depressant medication and if he was, he did not take his medication.

“[Coming out of a suicide episode] took a lot of work…It actually took me opening up and talking to friends about it and writing it and going to therapy and battling my demons.”

I’m not saying this contributed to Chester’s suicide, nor am I saying anything other than the fact that medications weren’t being used on that particular day. It is possible that they may have helped.  We will never know.

However, it’s important to recognize this because medication can be the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

You need to express yourself

Listen to any of Linkin Park’s albums and you’ll quickly see the importance of writing for Chester. A lot of the lyrics can be seen as a ‘cry for help’. Maybe they were but one thing for sure is that writing was a means of relief for Chester. He often talked about the significance of the songs and how he came to writing such strong, relatable lyrics with every conversation linking back to his depression.

“I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain so to speak and kind of being able to vent it through my music.”

This is one thing you can learn from Chester’s suicide. He expressed himself through his music and this may have very well kept him alive all this time. His music allowed him to release built up tensions, depression, and thoughts that were tearing him down. Everyone suffering also needs to find a way to do the same. It’s crucial to let things out, to write, shout, scream and sing your sorrows away. It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it; you just have to express yourself in order to overcome depression.

You shouldn’t be shamed by your depression

Most of all, you shouldn’t be ashamed of your depression. You shouldn’t let it define, limit, or label you, your life or your future.

As Chester said, “Depression is real.” It’s about time people saw just how real it is. There’s nothing more real and more final than death.

“Some kids are so depressed at home and with how people treat them in school that they cut themselves. This happens all over the world – kids who don’t want to kill themselves, but nobody understands how much they hurt, so they cut themselves with razor blades.”

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Due to the death of Chester, Linkin Park has set up a suicide prevention page. If your mind is putting you in danger, turn on a Linkin Park album, realize you aren’t alone, and seek help. Chester would want that.

REST IN PEACE, CHESTER BENNINGTON.

MAY YOUR SUICIDE NOT OVERSHADOW YOUR LIFE,

BUT RATHER, MAY IT SHED A LIGHT ON THE TERRIBLE ILLNESS THAT TOOK YOU AWAY FROM US.

 

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