Tragedy: Chester Bennington Helped Me Avoid Suicide but Couldn't Avoid It Himself
This one hits close to home.
Linkin Park isn't everyone's cup of tea. Their work isn't necessarily the bleeding edge of the art of music yet the songs on Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and beyond really mean a lot to many people. Linkin Park's music tends to confront mental illness directly and it's helped a lot of people through hard times. I'm no exception.
When I was 7 years old, just a few months after my little sister was born, my parents got divorced. Almost immediately thereafter my mother, newborn sister, and I moved to New Orleans.
Between my house being broken up, witnessing up-close the profound pain my mother went through in the divorce (AND postpartum depression), moving to a new city where I knew no one, being socially ostracized/bullied, and almost failing in school from the stress, I was in a deep depression for months. Despite only being 7/8 years old the situation was so unbearable that I cried myself to sleep regularly and sometimes wished that I would simply die.
Aside from friends and family, Linkin Park's music was one of the things that kept me from ever acting on those suicidal thoughts during that emotionally distraught time in my life. Their music allowed me to vent and also provided me the important insight that I wasn't the only one suffering through such mental anguish and despair. The fact that their music was so popular at the time, that it was all over the radio, comforted me. It made me feel as if the suffering and emotions I was going through were normal, and ultimately conquerable. And if identifying with other's didn't help, the catharsis of rapping, belting, and screaming lyrics helped to get through some of the more emotionally distraught moments in life.
Ever since rocking out to them at a tender, young age, I've been a devoted fan. One of my biggest guilty pleasures to this day is jamming to their music from Hybrid Theory to One More Light.
The ultimate irony, and tragedy, of this situation is that one of the people that helped me avoid such a tragic fate couldn't avoid it himself. He's survived by a wife and six children and my heart truly aches for them, his friends, and the band.
Addiction, mental health issues, thoughts of suicide, chronic depression, and feelings of worthlessness are not a joke. If you or someone you know is suffering from these things PLEASE reach out. If you're someone suffering from these things PLEASE seek help. Talk to me, I'm here. Reach out through any link below or message me directly however you can.
In the words of Chester on "Roads Untraveled":
"May your love never end
and if you need a friend,
there's a seat here alongside me"
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK)
LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline (1-866-4U-TREVOR)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Hotline & Helpline (1-800-784-2433)