Monday Mood News: A Note About the Suicide Of Famous People

July 24, 2017

Last week, Chester Bennington, a musician best known as the lead singer of the alt-rock band Linkin Park, perished as a result of an apparent suicide. The world responded with swirling hurt, outrage, and despair as the singer died in the same manner as his closest friend, singer and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who had died two months earlier.

Over the past week, thoughtless think pieces have been created on Bennington’s death, many utilizing quotes that researched Bennington’s statements on his own mental health. NME found a video interview the singer had done with Music Choice a month prior to his death, in which he revealed quite a bit about his struggles with depression and mental illness as reflected in the band’s new song, “Heavy,” saying:

“My whole life, I’ve just felt a little off. I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not go walking alone.

Most of my problems are problems that I cause myself. That’s what that song’s about – that time when you consciously look at that. Once you acknowledge what it is, you can separate yourself from it and do something about it, as opposed to just being in it.”

And with that launched the endless hashtags and articles that happen when a famous person dies: condemning his actions, remembering his genius….spreading more lack of understanding of the underlying mental health conditions that led to his demise. It always feels as if when famous people show mortal wounds that we jump to push them further off the pedestal rather than showing them compassion and caring. This situation feels no different.

Now is a good time to state that for those of us who are familiar with addiction, depression, and/or suicidal ideation or any number of the dark times mental illness can cause that we can relate to Bennington’s condition. Only those who walk this path can fully understand it. Those who would call his acts selfish continue to further the stigma that surrounds mental illness to this day. To say that a brain chemistry issue that turns you against your own body is somehow a self-centered action is further proof that we need much more education and information in favor of an understanding and supporting of those who live with these conditions. Suicide is a condition where mental and/or physical anguish supersedes the ability to handle it. It is not a sign of weakness, it is not a character flaw. It is a dire mental health issue that must be addressed and cared for in the same manner as terminal cancer. Both those conditions share the same result: if left untreated, they are terminal in nature.

Now is also a good time to state that we can’t glamorize the end of Bennington’s life. There’s a dark mystery to rock stars and famous people whose lives end abruptly, but particularly where addiction, overdoses, and suicide play a role. We must also state that suicide does not have to be the answer, that there are many people who can care for and help you through a dark period. If you or someone you know is living with addiction, depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation or any other mental health concern, you need not suffer in silence, alone, or at all. Please reach out to NAMI to get connected to the right help immediately. It doesn’t have to end this way. Those of us who have made it to the other side of the darkness attest to a brighter day, one which comes after seeking help, holding on, helping others who live with mental health conditions and living each day with a lot of hope and grace.

 

If you or someone you know is living with addiction, depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation or any other mental health concern, you need not suffer in silence, alone, or at all. Please reach out to NAMI to get connected to the right help immediately. It doesn’t have to end this way. Those of us who have made it to the other side of the darkness attest to a brighter day, one which comes after seeking help, holding on, helping others who live with mental health conditions and living each day with a lot of hope and grace.