21 Ways to #MakeChesterProud on Chester Bennington's Birthday

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

March 20, 2018 is both a special and difficult day for the Linkin Park family — it marks what would have been frontman Chester Bennington’s 42nd birthday. The singer died by suicide last July.

In August, fellow Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda created the hashtag #MakeChesterProud, and asked his Twitter followers to remember Bennington by being kind to others. He also encouraged them to take care of themselves and their mental health. Inspired by this, in honor of the first birthday after his death, we wanted to spotlight some of the ways you can #MakeChesterProud. We asked members of our mental health community to share one specific thing they are doing today to honor his memory and their own mental health.

Whether you are listening to Linkin Park all day long, baking a cake in his honor or even staying away from social media today because you’re still struggling with the loss of your favorite musician, we want you to know if you are taking care of yourself and your mental health, you are making Chester proud.

Additionally, Chester Bennington’s wife Talinda Bennington is asking fans to honor him by posting pictures of their hands bearing the message, “I am the change,” as part of her mental health initiative, 320 Changes Direction, which she helped launch after her husband’s death. The words symbolize knowledge of the five signs of emotional well-being, which according the Change Direction website, are: take care, check in, engage, relax, know.

So in addition to making Chester proud in your own life, feel free to join Talinda on social media with the hashtag #Iamthechange and post your own picture.

Here’s how our community is going to #MakeChesterProud today:

  1. “I do a lot of things I’m sure make Chester proud. One of them would be simply getting out of bed in the morning.” — Mizheekay H.
  2. “Taking care of myself because I’m always telling myself that my anxiety and depression make me inhuman and with it, I don’t deserve care. Tell the people close to me I love them and let them know I appreciate them sticking with me through episodes and tough times.” — Madison U.
  3. “I am going to celebrate my birthday in his honor.” — Lempira L.
  4. “I might take a mental health day. I’m having some red flags as far as depression returning, so I’m going to take better care of myself so if I do have an episode, it won’t hit me so hard.” — Monica S.
  5. “First, I’m going to make it through today to see tomorrow. Then I’m going to somehow muster up the strength to listen to Linkin Park’s music again for the first time since Chester [passed]. [Linkin Park’s] music has been essential to my life and my growing up ever since I was 9 years old. Music that has saved my life more than once, that made me happy. And even though I’ll be extremely emotional while listening, I’ll know it’s possible to hear his words and his voice, to remember him and think about him out of happiness rather than sadness. He’s still giving me strength.” — Forrest J.
  6. “I’m going to make sure I do five things that make me happy. Five things that make my life feel like it is worth living. And I’m going to tell my loved ones I sincerely appreciate them.” — Kayla C.
  7. “I will put my razor down. Take a shower… I will put some lotion [on and] also comb my hair. Pick a nice shirt and breath. Then I will eat. Then go for a walk while listening to ‘One More Light.’ I will smile all the way. I will love myself as much as I love him.” — Xin M.
  8. “I wrote a song called ‘Destigmatize Me…’ I am planning on performing it for a mental health awareness event.” — Danielle H.
  9. “I’m starting my first day of intensive outpatient therapy tomorrow to help with my own suicidal urges despite it being very hard for me.” — Damien A.
  10. “I’ll meditate outside and try my best to care for my mental and physical [health]. Along with of course listening to his music all day.” — Julia B.
  11. “I just wanna get through the day to be honest. It’s gonna be hard. But I just finished my birthday cake for him.” — Anne L.
  12. “I’m going to keep going just one day at a time. Take the small victories and get through the hardships.” — Chelsea S.
  13. “I will get up and fight another day.” — Beverley A.
  14. “I’m not going to skip my therapy appointment like I want to!” — Cassie D.
  15. “I’m going to my Buddhist Temple, which has helped me with my mental state.” — Samantha H.
  16. Reaching out to my friends with depression and anxiety.” — Amy G.
  17. “I read that his wife, [Talinda Bennington] wants people to write ‘I am the change’ on your hands and photograph them in honor of Chester… I will be doing that for sure.” — Jen S.
  18. “I’m gonna get out of bed, eat breakfast and shower — and that’s huge.” — Nicole B.
  19. “I’m going to take my meds. I reached out for help for the first time about a month ago after hitting a seriously low point in my life, but tomorrow I’m going to keep trying and push forward.” — Jennifer H.
  20. “Talking to friends and family about how my depression feels which helps them understand my behavior on hard days. #MakeChesterProud” — Kelly B.
  21. “I’m going to keep fighting to stay alive.” — Rae E.

No matter what you are doing today to #MakeChesterProud, if you are struggling with your mental health, we want you to know you aren’t alone and hope is real. Mighty contributor Lisa Boyle eloquently summed up the spirit of #MakeChesterProud in her piece, “What #MakeChesterProud Means to Me as Someone With Mental Illness.”

When Chester died, it felt like hope had died with him. It has taken me a while, but I finally see how wrong that is… Every time you ask a friend how they are and listen, you are making Chester proud. When you let yourself feel happy after a long struggle, or forgive yourself for making mistakes, you are making Chester proud. When you give yourself a break because you feel it all starting to get too much, when you take time for self-care, you are making Chester proud. When you are kind to others and kind to yourself, you are making Chester proud. When you reach out to a friend for help or see a doctor, you are making Chester proud. One small action at a time, we can change the way we look at mental health, and how we all treat ourselves and others. To me, #MakeChesterProud is about hope in the midst of great darkness.

Image via Linkin Park Facebook page

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