I’ve wanted to write about the suicide of Chester Bennington for quite some time now but haven’t really known where to begin. I haven’t known whether it is even appropriate to speculate or discuss the death of someone whom I know relatively fuck all about.
I was fortunate enough to go and see Linkin Park live at the O2 arena on the 3rd July 2017. A mere 17 days before he was found hung.
I was introduced to Linkin Park by my brilliant dad, Steve. The introduction came at an appropriate time for me really, as I really begun to experience the extreme anger, frustration, low periods that were a precedent to my adult depressive phases.
The words that Chester sang resonated with me deeply, as, I am sure, they did for many many of his fans and followers. He had a particularly brilliant way of depicting his pain through his violent screams and how he managed to get across that pain and feeling through song always left me with that tingly feeling. Not only that, but the feeling that I was less alone in my confusion.
Linkin Park had a knack for creating music which delved into the frustration that we feel with ourselves, more than with those around us. It has been broadly discussed that Chester was, quite literally, screaming for help for the majority of his adult life.
Some of the words screamed and sung are simply harrowing and haunting now to listen back to. Some hints of future suicide already being played out. It makes me feel sick.
It makes me feel sick to think that someone whom I admired could have slipped under the radar of his wife and those around him who loved him. It reminds me that we simply do not know JUST how much anyone is struggling until we make the effort to actually talk… like, really talk to one another about what is really going on for us. I’m not doubting Chester’s wife in any shape or form, I’m merely highlighting the importance of caring for those around us and for prompting conversation about mental health far more than we already do.
We need to accept responsibility for one another as family, friends, and just fellow humans. We are responsible for looking out for one another. We are responsible for checking in with each other.
As a teen I used to listen to “Crawling” as I felt that Chester could articulate far FAR better what exactly it was I was feeling better than I even could myself. I was a bulimic who struggled to keep down even an apple, and his words about not even recognising myself or not knowing what was real anymore used to make me feel like I was understood.
When we talk to one another about mental health, it has a similar effect. We enter the “me too” zone.. Where suddenly when what you thought was a completely irrational anxiety, actually rings bells for your best mate too. Even if it’s not a “me too” scenario, chances are you’ll feel less alone for having shared it.
This is a somewhat rambling blog post but I felt I owed it both to Chester, to his family, and to my former depressed bulimic self, to acknowledge his death and to use it to help push me on my journey to ending the stigma.