Two weeks ago, I came upon the sad news that Chester Bennington was dead. Chester was the lead singer of Linkin Park. For us who grew up in that time, Linkin Park was our first contact with rock music. He was a whole new fresh idea that deviated from what rock music was thought to be. He did not wear heavy eye liner, color his hair blue, he just took my breath away with his amazing music. Linkin Park had and has this sound that is just so amazing and raw, their lyrics are completely naked and Chester fit into that picture perfectly. His death was therefore very devastating to me. As I went through his videos, all the view and likes, I was stumped. I could not understand why someone with so much validation would choose to end his life. It seemed to me he had everything. He had a family, all the money in the world and a fan base that hung onto his every word. I however came upon a video of him speaking about his depression and this completely changed my perspective.
See, when someone takes their life, we are quick to castigate them. We say they are selfish. We say they could have just gone ahead and gotten help. We say they could have just concentrated on all the good things in their lives and found a reason to live somewhere in there. It does not work like that. Depression is this feeling of hopelessness. It’s this feeling of impending doom that you just cannot shake off. You walk around with this cloud of pain that just hangs over your head. Why don’t you just snap out of it you ask? Asking someone to snap out of depression is like asking someone to walk off a leg fracture. Something is broken somewhere. The only difference is that with a fracture you can do first aid and walk after a while. With depression, you don’t know where you are broken. You just know something doesn’t work as it should.
People often disregard psychological pain. The thing is, it is worse. There is some sort of satisfaction in seeing what is broken. You could use some ice, you could touch it and make it better however, with depression, you just walk around feeling miserable. You feel like you want to check your chest for burns. You don’t see anything. You just feel this giant fire ball of pain that is unrelenting, it never subsides, it never stops, it just burns eternal. The worst thing however is, it takes your will to be better, away. It camps in your being and convinces you that it is your new reality. You don’t want help. You don’t have the ability to ask for help. So, you look at those around you, you convince yourself that they are better off without you. So you make the only unselfish choice you have, you off yourself. It will be better for everyone. Your loved one’s can finally find happiness. You can finally get that monkey off your back. See, it really is not a selfish decision.
Four years ago, my uncle committed suicide. I remember the anger, I remember a lot of anger. I felt betrayed. I felt like his choice directly translated to him telling me that we were not good enough for him. I felt as if him not coming to us for help meant he did not hold us in high regard. I refused to mourn him. I just sat numb and watched people organise the burial preparations. When I was done being angry, I started to blame myself. Was there something I could have said or done? Why did I not see it? Why did I not pick up my phone the last time he called? Why did I just accept his laughter and not look deeper behind his façade of happiness?
The way we deal with suicide is by either blaming ourselves or the person who has died. The thing is, both of us are victims. We are all victims of this scourge that is depression. If we are to break the chain of depression, we have to stop blaming ourselves when it strikes. We have to attack it with ruthlessness. We have to break away from the chain of self-pity. Suicide is not selfish, suicide is not a cry for attention, suicide is just someone trying to find release. Suicide is not someone telling you that you fall short. It’s them telling you that they love you too much to let you watch them suffer. Suicide is not someone running away, it’s them dealing with things the only way they think they can. If we are to break away from this calamity, it’s up to us to have these conversations. When we name depression, we shame it. It cannot exist in avenues where it is openly discussed and dissected. To read more posts by Angela, click HERE