I’m going to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Linkin Park. Some of their music is pretty cool, but that’s about all my interest is in them. However, Chester Bennington’s death is hitting me really hard. It’s another musician who wasn’t able to deal anymore. Depression, addictions, mental illnesses are very real for a lot of people, including myself. We live with these things on a constant basis. Every day we have to survive a fight within ourselves that no one sees. Most of us who deal with these things understand that sometimes you feel like there’s no way out. Nothing is going to get better. We feel alone. Isolated. And while many of us choose not to give in, we choose to fight, for some people, they can’t fight it anymore.
Now add in celebrity, higher expectations, a constant eye on you, pressure that most of us will never understand, even more isolation, and, more than likely, having access to everything you could ever want (or not want) and access to every resource you could ever need to try to fight through depression and addiction. Realize how bad it is to have all of that available, and still not be able to cope with life and yourself. It’s a dark place. Darker than many will ever have to go.
As someone who lives with a mental illness, some of the responses to Chester Bennington taking his own life are making me physically ill. Most of it is so, so negative. Here’s what I see:
George Romero died of Lung Cancer: Poor man. He couldn’t fight any longer. RIP.
John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer: It’s probably a terminal thing, but fight it to the best of your ability.
Chester Bennington/Chris Cornell/Stevie Ryan/Robin Williams/David Foster Wallace/Any celebrity who commits suicide: What a selfish asshole. How could they do this to people they love. What could be so bad in their life that they had to do this. Look at all the fame and fortune they had. How could anyone like that be unhappy? It’s a sin. They’ll burn in hell.
Anger. Judgment. Misunderstandings. It’s all that person’s fault. They should have known better. Why didn’t they just get better? Why didn’t they talk to someone?
The answer: Because of responses like this. And let me tell you something, the threat of an eternity of fire and brimstone have nothing on having your own brain attack you. It’s already more hell than (hopefully) people who say these things will ever understand. I hope they never have to figure it out.
But as for the rest of us who deal with it, seeing people attack someone who lost their battle against mental illness and drug addiction makes us not want to talk. It makes us not want to seek help, because everywhere we look, mental illness is stigmatized, attacked, made fun of, told it doesn’t exist, or that it is not important. Access to mental health facilities are being taken away. Access to therapists and psychiatrists are being taken away . Those who are living with mental illnesses are being attacked by losing access to precious resources, and those who died from mental illnesses are being attacked for not utilizing the dwindling resources. See the problem?
Anyway, my thoughts go to all of those who love Chester Bennington, family, friend, fan. This is a deep loss felt by many. Also, fuck you to anyone who attacks someone for losing against mental illness. Fuck you to anyone who thinks mental illness isn’t real or is an act. I’m taking a break from the negativity everywhere. It’s not good for my mental health to keep being reminded of what a lot of angry voices think of someone who has to survive in the mind of someone with mental illness.
Peace. Love. Light. to everyone.