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My Heart Aches for Chester Bennington

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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 741-741.

Upon hearing about Chester Bennington’s passing, I felt a lot of really strong emotions, as I do about every suicide headline. For years I thought that taking one’s own life was an act of selfishness. At the age of 5, I lost my mother to complications caused by a chronic illness. Growing up without her taught me how important it is to take good care of your health and how valuable life is. I never understood why people would want to take their own lives. Anytime I saw a suicide headline, it would make me angry — my mother wanted to live and she couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why someone would end their own life.

Now I can.

You see, it’s not as simple as most people think. If you’ve never struggled with depression, first of all, I’m really happy for you. Secondly, you may have no idea what it feels like to want to end your own life. And again, I’m really glad you don’t.

Unfortunately I learned the hard way that when you have depression, your thoughts and feelings can spiral out of control and the pain you feel can become unbearable. I used to think, Don’t people think about how much their family members are going to suffer if they die? For me, the answer is no. When I feel loved and cherished, I don’t want to die.

For me, the danger lies in the rest of the moments. The moments when I’m alone with my dark thoughts, when I feel lonely  and unloved. And empty. When I become numb. For someone who struggles with depression, those moments can happen way too often. It is in those moments when a little voice whispers in my ear, You’re alone. Nobody loves you. Nobody cares. You don’t matter. Just end it.

You may be thinking, How can someone so incredibly talented, whose music was the voice of a generation, who was adored by millions of people have taken his own life? I believe it’s because depression’s voice has the power to hypnotize you into believing everything it says. It penetrates your mind and hides all the goodness you’ve experienced, then it highlights all the bad and you’re left wholeheartedly believing whatever awful lies it tells you. That’s the voice of depression. And depression is a destructive and manipulative liar.

When I read that Chester Bennington had taken his own life, my heart ached not only for my teenage soul who found comfort in his lyrics, not only for knowing the pain his six children may be going through upon losing a parent, but especially for empathizing with the dark thoughts he likely experienced. Rest in peace, Chester.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via Linkin Park Facebook.

Originally published: July 24, 2017
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