What do you do when a hero gives up? What do you do when the voice that helps keep you sane is silenced, when it silences itself? What keeps you going when what keeps you going is gone?
I’ve been living with depression even before I knew what depression was. I never understood what the long hours sleeping meant. I didn’t realize that I spent so much time in my head because I felt powerless living in the world. I cried so much. I rarely felt accepted or understood. Teenagers are angsty though. That’s life. I figured I was just progressing through the years.
In 2000 when I started university I was quiet, reserved and so suspicious of people. I’d seen some of the worst that can be done to people from some of the people I least expected to see it from. I still don’t trust easily; I don’t think I ever will.
I thought alternative music was for white people. I wasn’t really interested but a friend of mine gave me a mix and insisted that I listen to it. I love music so it wasn’t going to be a hardship. Whatever. The second song on that mix was Numb and I was overwhelmed. It was everything I was feeling, put into words by people I’d never met. I listened to that mix over and over again. Papercut and Crawling were on there as well and I was shaken. I just kept listening and listening. I didn’t even know the name of the band until another friend mentioned that Linkin Park was the best driving music and I realized that I was listening to the same guys who did the songs that I loved so much. I started hunting the songs and it wasn’t long before I had a decent collection of their music. It was like slowly waking up.
Depression is an awful thing. The thoughts and feelings that come with it can take everything away from you. I remember days that I didn’t want to exist. I remember days when I hated the sight of the person in the mirror. I remember days when I desperately wanted to know what I was doing here and just couldn’t figure it out. On those days, if I caught it before it dragged me down, you’d find me with my CD Player, DMX, Eminem and Linkin Park blasting in my ears. From dysfunctional family, to dysfunctional marriage I carried Chester, Mike, Joe and the rest of the band with me. Through criticism, arguments, verbal, mental and emotional abuse I clung to the words that commiserated, supported and encouraged. Those songs reminded me that I wasn’t alone, that I could make it through one more day. Music and yoga saved my sanity and my life and most specifically Linkin Park and my yoga teacher.
I’m broken-hearted today to hear the news that Chester Bennington decided to take his life. I was having a rough day, another in a rough week of bad news, confusion, and more than a little bit of loneliness. We all have our struggles. We all fight our individual battles. Today, I decided to try to use music to settle my mind. I cued up my Linkin Park, DMX and Eminem and was less than 10 minutes into listening when I checked my Facebook feed. It was an individual post, not even a news story and it didn’t mention his name. I didn’t know what to expect when I typed ‘Linkin Park’ into Google. It wasn’t what I saw.
He was my voice. His voice was my anger. His voice was my disappointment. That incredible range spanned my emotions. That scream communicated my frustration in ways I could not. He was my words. And the words gave me hope. Iridescent got me through two relationships that could have easily broken me.
So, what do you do when one of your heroes has decided that he cannot go on, that he does not want to? I cried. I’m still crying. But what struck me the most is how much we take. How much we benefit from others without giving them anything in return. I see so many posts expressing feelings similar to mine. People who are broken-hearted and sad because Chester and Linkin Park helped save us from the world and save us from our selves. Because we took that music and we learned from it. We got stronger. We learned self-awareness. We learned the words behind our feelings and found it easier to express them. Realistically, we couldn’t have given Chester much. We didn’t really know him and only connected with him through his music. We could not be a shoulder or an ear for him through his own struggles. We could not give him the words he needed the way he gave us the words we did. I believe his family and friends did the best for him that they could. Everyone has their breaking point. All of us. Some of us know what it is. Some of us have been to that point and have made it back. Many of us do not yet know and too many get to that point and do not return. And we do not know someone else’s.
What we can be is kind. Follow Chester’s example and if you can, through your own pain, use your words, use your life to support and help and heal. You do not know when someone is close to the edge. You cannot always understand what someone is going through. You are not expected to fix it. But I plead with you to be kind. In your thoughts and in your words and in your deeds. Be gentle with your words and actions toward the people with whom you come in contact. If you cannot be kind simply move along. If all you have to offer are harsh words or a dismissive attitude please keep it to yourself. Please, do not contribute to the weight that someone is carrying. If you cannot help, help them to find someone or something that can.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Plato
“All I wanna do is trade this life for something new…” ~ Linkin Park, Waiting for the End
“Don’t be afraid; I’ve taken my beating, I’ve shared what I’ve made. I’m strong on the surface, not all the way through, I’ve never been perfect. But neither have you” ~ Linkin Park, All The Rest
“Who cares if one more light goes out? I do” Linkin Park One More Light
RIP Chester Bennington 1976-2017 ♥
3 thoughts on “Waiting For The End To Come…”
Numb remains one of best written song to date…
Music is timeless; Chester contributed to that continuum.
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Depression is very difficult condition to deal with but is manageable with the right mix of strategies.
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