By Heather Nelson

 

If you’re thinking or have thoughts of suicide or are concerned about someone you know or just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors here. More resources found here. (All resources are FREE.)

 

The news that Chester Bennington, frontman of Linkin Park, died by suicide rocked my world.

 

 

Linkin Park one of my favorite bands growing up, but their music got me through a number of tough times of my own. When I heard the news my heart stopped. I could put myself in Bennington’s shoes; I can “understand”, in some ways, the pain he must’ve felt.

 

It’s only been two years since I found help for the thoughts that demonized my mind. I spent years in a roller coaster of emotions. There were a number of times I contemplated suicide. (There’s a difference between thinking about it, planning it, and acting on it.)

 

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Me in my prime Linkin Park days — aka high school when I discovered their greatness.

 

I’ve heard comments from friends and people on social media that Bennington’s act was selfish. What these people don’t understand is what depression does to your mind — how dark of a place it puts you in, it’s like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. A person’s brain on depression is literally out of balance.

 

…the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters—chemicals that brain cells use to communicate—appear to be out of balance.

 

Depression is the leading “disability” in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Major depression can occur at any age. It can flow between — persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.

 

It’s important not to make assumptions, which promote the stigma around mental health. It’s why people remain in the dark and don’t ask for help. It’s one of the many reasons I didn’t ask for help for many years; I just assumed it was OK that I wanted to die.

 

Bennington’s passing is still very raw for me. I’ve listened to my favorite albums since Thursday of the rock band’s: Hybrid Theory and Meteora mainly. The lyrics are real, bare, deep. You feel his pain, anger — these are the things that I felt/feel in my times of darkness, but use music as my catharsis.

 

Bennington wanted to use his music as a place for that. A place to overcome his vices. I’m saddened because, of course, I wish my heroes, and all those who suffer this disease, would be able to endure. But the pain is sometimes just too heavy.

 

 

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