I know many of you will have heard about the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. He sadly took his life recently and I know it has saddened and affected many people. For some it just shows that no matter who you are or how much money you have you can still die by suicide. Many are shocked by his death but suicide is the biggest killer of young men and yet its still something heavily stigmatised and mocked. As usual the headlines read “committed suicide” suggesting he had been guilty of some crime or chose to feel the way he was feeling. The word “committed” is another word for blame. Mental illness is not a choice. Depression, anxiety and any other mental illness happens to you. It is not a choice and certainly not your fault. There are different kinds, reasons, causes and symptoms of mental health illness and everyone copes and suffers differently. Until attitudes change many more will sadly lose their lives to suicide and it really hurts my heart every time I hear of another death. I also think the language needs to change when it comes to describing mental illness and suicide so it isn’t seen as a joke or a crime or something that is a choice. I have read some really cruel comments on social media regarding the death of Chester but I have also read comments that are more thoughtless than cruel. People have become so used to these words and terms in describing mental health issues and suicide that its easy to see why people do not think its wrong. I shall list some of the things that we really do not want to see or hear when feeling so bad.
You belong in a loony bin
Cheer up it may never happen ( what does that mean exactly? What is it that may never happen and how do you know that it hasn’t?)
It’s selfish ( such an awful thing to say. Someone who is feeling bad enough to want to die honestly feels as though they are doing you a favour. Without them around they feel as though they aren’t a burden any more and life will be easier for you.)
You just have to think positive ( thank you for those words of wisdom!!!)
What’s wrong with your face (what?)
Its the cowards way out ( how can taking such a terrifying and final step be cowardly especially when leaving behind those you love with all your heart?)
People are being murdered and dying from cancer and people like that kill themselves because they want to ( wow! just wow! feeling suicidal and mental illnesses are not choices, they happen to you! )
Suicide is a choice ( for some there is not any other way. plus you may as well say that depression is a choice)
Happiness is a choice ( as if you would choose to feel like shit)
Try going for a walk ( ok, why don’t you try walking off that broken leg! plaster can mend a broken limb but it can’t mend a broken mind. mind you a broken limb would get much more sympathy)
There’s always someone worse off than you ( how do you know? how doe’s anyone know what you have or have not been through. plus you are not responsible for others so why the guilt?)
You give up easily (if that was true you wouldn’t be here)
I know exactly how you feel, I get fed up sometimes to
With all that money what’s there to be depressed about
What have you got to be depressed about
You have nothing to be depressed about (how do you know?)
I could go on but I think I have made my point. Just changing the language and some of these sayings would be a huge step in the right direction and could prevent unnecessary and devastating future suicides. Giving mental illness the seriousness, sensitivity and respect it deserves can be achieved with little changes first. We need to stop seeing it as a joke or a crime. Calling people selfish is so dangerous especially to those already feeling fragile and worthless because it can prevent people from opening up about how they really feel. Young men find it hard to open up as it is so shaming people only makes matters worse. Remember mental health illness and suicide can affect anyone. It does not discriminate and it has no friends there fore it doesn’t care who it destroys. With more understanding so many people can be saved.
Going back to the death of Chester. Another comment I have seen on social media is how can people be upset over someone they didn’t even meet? I think I can explain. Music can have a huge impact on your life. We all have our favourite song or a song we really hate. We all have a song that makes us want to dance. Music can take you from a really dark place and back into the sunshine. It can make you feel better especially if the words can relate and empathise with you. The words can be meaningful and powerful and can seem like they are written for you. Its a true talent that can make so many people want to hear you. Its a true talent that can make so many people happy with their music and voice. Chester achieved this and touched so many. Music can make you smile, dance, sing, happy, remind you of someone special, it can make you feel nostalgic and take you back to a safe place. It can take you back to your childhood and make you feel understood. Chester and his band did these things for so many people so that’s how people can get so upset over someone they never knew. Whether people realise it or not music has an impact on you in some way and different songs and types of music have different meanings to everyone. For some life without music would be worse. I am so glad so many got to hear what Chester had to say and I’m so glad he was able to help so many feel better. I wish you were still with us. I send my love to your family, friends, band members and fans. I send my love to everyone who is missing a loved one due to suicide.
R.I.P Chester. and R.I.P to all the other angels who died by suicide. x