It has taken me a couple days to really be able to take a deep breath and find any sense of balance since Chester Bennington took his own life because I really do understand the headspace that he had been vocalizing in his lyrics leading up to his tragic end.
I don’t like my mind right now…
… I can’t escape the gravity
I’m holding on, why is everything so heavy?
I find myself thinking and feeling the same things very, very, often. And before anybody reading this feels like this is a red flag, I promise you it isn’t. It’s just that I really do understand the day-to-day battle of fighting of extreme depression. Most of the time, I succumb to it and the subsequent feelings of isolation and hopelessness that it brings. The scary part is that I don’t know what would have happened to me had not a few people over the past few years entered my life and helped me find a reason (and a sincerely passionate reason, at that) to continue to live and to try and thrive.
Because even with those experiences with the people that I am endlessly thankful for, who continue to bring hope and light into my life, I find myself in the same headspace that Chester was singing about on “Heavy.” My thoughts really are heavy, and not just in a metaphorical sense. Anybody with depression could tell you that sensation of your thoughts physically weighing down on you. Your mind can’t process anything except for hurt or the pain that you are feeling in the moment. It pushes down on your mind until it squeezes out any rationality or hope trying to carry the weight of the mass of depression on it’s shoulders.
It’s unbearable at times.
I understand, despite whether one believes suicide is “selfish” or not (please never tell people grieving that sentiment), why somebody like Chester could succumb to that feeling, and it’s because I know how easy it is to let go of hope in those moments. To really and truly believe that things won’t get better, no matter what people tell you will happen.
A part of the reason Chester’s death impacted me so greatly is because I saw myself clearly in Chester’s pain. You see, I have hope that there are things ahead in my life worth sticking around for. I have people in my life that make me laugh, that make me so thankful for the life that I have. I even have confidence in myself to the point that I know I can make a positive impact in this world somehow.
But none of that helps when the darkness comes at you hard.
When the storm comes, I have to buckle down and weather it as best I can, but I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH ON MY OWN TO WEATHER IT. I need the people around me to speak hope and the truth of who I am into these moments. I am not strong enough to fight the darkness on my own. None of us are.
The biggest lie depression tells us is that we are truly alone. But what happens when depression is right? What happens when we are all caught up in our own lives that we refuse to see the lives of those struggling next to us? Do we think we can just get a pass on surface conversation with each other? If a depressed person feels alone, and they are told again and again that they truly are alone by the actions of those around them, then the battle in darkness truly becomes impossible to win.
We need to be there for each other. And if you are a depressed person like myself that is intimate with this nightly battle, and yet somehow you have some reason to hope and keep moving, we NEED you to look out for others. I NEED to look out for others. It’s so easy to feel like a victim when you’re in a cycle of depression, but how beautiful is it that in our sorrow, our hopelessness, our loneliness we can somehow be a source of strength for someone else?
I’m sincerely so sorry I wasn’t in a position to be that someone for Chester, but I know, right now, I’m in a position to be that for someone else.
We can’t always dispel the darkness, but we can sure as hell endure it together.