Words like emotions failed me when I heard of Chester Bennington’s death. I was in a taxi when someone from a Tumblr group I am a part of posted about it in the group and I literally had to re-read the message, quickly open a chrome tab and check for myself. I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t even sad really. In the moment I remember feeling that I got it, the need to just not exist anymore and deal with everything being thrown constantly at you… I actually got that feeling and I just sighed.
To say that Linkin Park saved me wouldn’t be a total lie or truth. I was introduced to Rock music back in high school and for some reason the screaming, heavy vocals and striking beats were my new lullabies. Songs from Linkin Park, Paramore, and ACDC got me through so much, it is difficult to even attempt explaining in words.
Growing up heavily religious didn’t provide many avenues to express that I was sad, ‘out of it’ or depressed. I would be told to go and read my Bible or to pray about it, and really, to a child who was in constant argument with God over how I was born, I wasn’t too eager to chat with Him.
Rock music at that time was my ultimate savior. I needed no other God. No other salvation. No other opportunity for penitence, because for once someone else, an entire band at that, was feeling what I did, so much so that they had to squeeze it out of them in lyrics. They had to scream about and let it all go. For me that was remarkable, because I wasn’t allowed to do the same, I had to feel how I did and just deal with it, for fear of being misunderstood, seen as unbelieving or told that it would get better; all responses that sought to invalidate how I felt.
People always chant that suicide is never worth it or that nothing is so terrible and my personal favorite you are choosing a permanent solution for a temporary problem.
Firstly, I would never romanticize suicide ever, and that is one of the reasons I have still not read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. What you must understand secondly, is that people at the end of the day can only handle so much and no more and I know you will probably recite God doesn’t give you more than you can bear – and I’ll be the first to tell you that I feel weighed down by what I got so rethink that phrase before you dish it out so carelessly as it is not a band-aid for all wounds. Thirdly, everyone has a choice. Chester Bennington choosing to end his life has nothing to do with you and it is not a selfish act. Persons trying to create a narrative that is unknown to them in order to understand why people commit suicide is selfish. Trying to guilt people into seeing only one way and terming their choice as giving up is decidedly selfish.
Yes, we would have all loved for those we care about who have chosen to end their lives to have not taken that path because we miss them, but I’m also positive that they didn’t choose suicide for you, they chose it for them. We ought to stop personalizing the actions or non-actions of those around us in an effort to control a narrative that isn’t our own. We police and police and police when really all we need to do is love, and if that at the end of the day turns out not to be enough, then just remember the individual. The words of Leave out all the rest say it perfectly:
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest
That’s it isn’t it? Forget about you in the moment of hearing about tragedy. Comfort who you can and never try to invalidate someone’s pain or death, by seeking out explanations for things that are beyond your comprehension. Help comes in many forms. Respecting something even if you don’t agree with or believe in it is another form of help.
Fame, money and success mean nothing at the end of the day, and no that doesn’t mean we ought to be excessively frugal and poor-minded. To me it means that we just need to try our best, with what we are given and if your best results in something one way or another only you are to judge its worth and outcome.
This blog is a safe space.
If you or someone you know is going through a rough time, feeling depressed, or thinking about self-harm, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit its website here.