I’m sure as everyone knows by now, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park took his own life a couple days ago. I’m not gonna lie and say his music was a big part of my life, etc. because it wasn’t. I never really got into Linkin Park, but I appreciate and acknowledge what the band has done for the alternative scene and the music industry.
With that said, it’s ironic how some people can say that Chester was “selfish” or “cowardly” for committing suicide when he was such an influence to many people worldwide. It’s also ridiculous how some say that depression/anxiety is an aesthetic—a phase that only teenagers are allowed to go through because they’re supposed to be rebellious and emotional, as they’re still figuring out who they are.
Well, that’s complete BULLSHIT. Yes, Chester was a frontman for one of the biggest bands of the past decade, but his fame and status doesn’t exempt him from depression.
Let’s turn the tables here. What if it was me?
You guys probably noticed that I have been away for the past couple weeks. Why was that? Because I was struggling with my own demons and tried to take my own life.
I’ve struggled for years. Just like Chester, I never sought help until last week. Why? Because of the stigma.
There is so much negativity towards having a mental illness, that I didn’t want to expose myself when I desperately needed it. I didn’t want to be the weirdo who claims to have anxiety or depression when I’m in my 20’s because at this stage, I’m supposed to have everything together and just suck it up.
So I suppressed everything and bottled it up all throughout my college years. That KILLED ME inside. I distanced myself, I hurt myself, I barely ate and I couldn’t sleep well, I shut myself down whenever I was around people—especially my family.
While I was doing all of that, I was basically failing and the only solace I had was music and writing, things that are viewed as just “hobbies” to most. But I used music make friends and to a select few, I confided in them. I wrote as an alternative to hurting myself (I won’t say how I did it, but I’ll just say that I never cut) because creating stories took my mind off of life.
I tried so hard to consume myself in things that would make me happy, but I still wasn’t. I was alone because I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone anything. I was unhealthy because of my poor eating and sleeping habits. I was ultimately saying “fuck life. I’m done.” because I knew I couldn’t get my grades up to where they needed to be.
I am definitely not a rock star and Chester definitely wasn’t a struggling college student like me, but we both have one thing in common: our thoughts were harrowing and we both didn’t want to live.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is. You can have millions of fans and be financially stable, and you can still be unhappy with yourself. It’s not that difficult to pretend to be okay; I know that from experience. But it IS difficult to cope, especially when you’re trying to do it all by yourself.
Having depression and/or anxiety isn’t some teenage phase. They’re not some cute aesthetic to romanticize in books, TV, or movies. They’re serious issues that many people, myself included, struggle with on a daily basis. And there’s so much crap about it that we don’t often seek the help we need to get better. That’s why people drive themselves to such extremes.
This topic can’t be something people acknowledge each time someone famous dies, and it definitely shouldn’t be viewed as “taboo.” In order for people like me to be comfortable with being more open about our issues, the stigma needs to end. Suicide isn’t an act of cowardice, but an act of ending the struggle. People need to be more understanding and less judgmental or else it’ll never end.
Ok. Rant over.