trigger warning: suicide and depression
Like most of the people my age, I grew up listening to Linkin Park. At the time, I was too young and naive to comprehend what most of the lyrics were talking about. All I thought was, hey this is amazing music, I love it. And I did love it. They were the first band I fell in love with, they were the only band I ever thought about seeing live, and they were my gateway into music in general. And I know A LOT of people felt the same way. Linkin Park was fucking iconic, and had a huge impact on millions of people.
As I grew older, I didn’t listen to their music much, I found new artists and new songs, but if I ever heard a song from Hybrid Theory or Meteora, I knew all the words and I was instantly transported to a time where my brother and I would be in my cousin’s room listening to this amazing new music, and dealing with all the adults telling us to turn it down. Yes, nostalgia is a liar that makes everything seem better than it actually was, but when I remembered those times I felt happy.
Four years ago, when I had just started college, I got depressed. At first, I thought it was just me adjusting to college and being an “adult”. A year later, I realized that is definitely not what it was. During the time of my depression, I tried to consume all the different types of media that had anything to do with mental health, just so that I could find someone who felt the same way I did – to feel like I wasn’t alone in wanting to die, in not having the energy to do anything at all, even things I loved, and in feeling numb to everything around me. I read books which dealt with mental illnesses, I found YouTubers who talked about it, I read so many fucking articles about it, and once or twice I did come across someone who wrote or talked like they understood what I was going through.
I still don’t know why I didn’t even think about going back and listening to Linkin Park songs. I think the main reason was I had never thought their music was sad – it always reminded me of happy times, and like I said, I didn’t understand the lyrics when I first listened. But now, listening to the songs I feel… I don’t know how to put it into words. But I know if I had listened to this music when I felt like dying every fucking day, I would have felt some sort of peace because it turns out Chester Bennington knew exactly what I was going through. And he didn’t sugarcoat it and try to bullshit you into thinking everything was going to be OK.
Hearing about his death was an actual shock to me. I have never felt particularly upset when celebrities have died, but then again, no one I truly admire has died. But when I saw the news about Chester Bennington, I was so sad and upset. At first, I was so confused, why did I feel this way when I hadn’t listened to their music in ages, and didn’t even try listening to their new album? But I was upset because his music was such an important part of my childhood and teenage years, and because he killed himself. My heart broke when I saw that he had hanged himself.
That hit me the hardest, because all I could think was that could have been me. I was so close to killing myself, it scares me to even think about it now. My illness convinced me that I would be doing everyone a favor by doing it, and everyone would be better off without me. It convinced me that there was no one who would care if I just didn’t wake up one day. But my illness was so so wrong. Everyday was a struggle, but with therapy, my amazing mum who never gave up on me, and my faith and God, I was able to tell my illness to fuck off. And I no longer want to die. I can’t even begin to explain what a relief that is. Everyday I am so thankful that I am still here, and I wish I could tell everyone who feels like they want to die that there are so many people who love them, and who can help them, and who would be devastated if they leave.
I wish Chester Bennington had gotten the help he needed. I wish he could be here. If he thought that no one cared, I wish he could see how important he was to so many people. I wish he could have seen there was so much to live for. But I also hope he found some peace and some refuge from the monster that is depression.
Rest in peace Chester Bennington. You will be missed more than you know.
featured image: linkin park twitter account