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If what follows helps someone, anyone, even a tiny bit then it’ll be worth it. ‘Cause in the end, it does matter. You matter.

Warning: mentions of past thoughts of suicide & Chester Bennington’s death

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You almost never know how you will react when you learn about someone’s death. We like to think that we have a good idea, about whether we would cry or sob or just feel sad when we hear the news. Yet here I am wiping away tears, feeling like someone sucker punched me in the gut at work after hearing Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide this morning. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park confirmed it on twitter as well as numerous trusted news sources.

Please understand, Linkin Park is a strange band for me. I tend to take it or leave it. I would never say I’m a fan. Sure I know every word to every song on their album Hybrid Theory, but until today I didn’t know Chester’s last name. I couldn’t point to a picture of the band and name each member. They were or still are (I don’t know) one of my ex-boyfriend’s favourite bands. He played that album non-stop, whether we were home (we lived together) or in the car on our way somewhere. I hated that album and that band because it was always on. Yet, it is the soundtrack for that time in my life. I don’t know how to feel about it because that album reminds me of him and we didn’t have a good relationship. On the flip side, at least once it and Chester’s voice were a breath when I felt like I was hyperventilating.

During this time (2008 or so) I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a really bad depressive episode. To date, it was probably the worst I ever had. How I got out of bed that day, got poorly dressed and (thankfully) drug my tired ass to college, I don’t know. The night before I ended up being diagnosed I really thought about ending it all, I’m not ashamed to admit that my undiagnosed and unmedicated self even started making plans. Depression told me so many horrible, untrue lies that I totally believed. It seemed the only option.

Thankfully, that’s as far as it went. I fell asleep with my dog and my new cat sprawled on me. I didn’t have the heart to move them since they had been annoying each other all afternoon and had finally settled. 

My instructor happened to be a retired nurse and knew depression was a very real thing. She drove me after class to a med-clinic to see a doctor who sussed out that not only was there depression, but also mania. Two for the price of one, I’m bipolar. (I’ve written in detail about bipolar disorder: here)

I came home with a diagnosis and pills, GREAT! However, I still had to work through and wait out the depressive episode I was in. My ex played Hybrid Theory while he played video games, like always. I, being the doormat that I was back then, didn’t ask to talk things out or do something I enjoyed. I sat and watched him play video games and tried not to cry. When I realized this would be my “relaxing” evening, I gave in and scream-cry-sang (try it, it’s relaxing) along with the songs that held the most emotional punch: “One Step Closer”, “Crawling” and “In the End” over and over again, for hours. I lost my voice for two days because of that, but it was so cathartic. I sang-scream-cried so loudly that I couldn’t hear myself think.

I can’t think of any other singer that could have done justice to those words. A lot of people would have turned them into a farce and into whiny shouting. Chester put such emotional weight into them that the simplest lyrics made a connection with a sensitive, easily pushed around, bipolar, college student who had never connected with music before on that kind of level.

I’m starting to understand why I’m so upset, over and above the very human need to be upset that six kids lost their dad and a wife lost her husband. As an aside, if someone tells you it’s silly to mourn a celebrity that you’ve never met, read this wonderful thread. 

So, I had to write something. Even if no one reads it. It’s all a way of saying thanks Chester, and I wish I could have made some of these connections under better, brighter circumstances. I wish I could have seen you sing those words live.

It seems so fucking unfair that your music saved me and so many like me, and there was no one there to help you.  

Goodbye Chester, thank you.

You’re going to see a lot of Suicide Awareness stuff surrounding Chester’s death. Retweet/share the good stuff, and get those help-life numbers out there. But, more importantly: If you have people in your life that you think are down, reach out to them. It takes a lot for a depressed person to reach out to you. They’re being fed lies. Include them, listen to them, and remind them they aren’t alone.

If you’re down, reach out. Reach out to a help-line, a medical professional, someone you trust and tell them what’s going on. Depression lies and it’s going to tell you that you don’t matter and the world doesn’t care. Tell it to shut up. You matter. No matter how alone you feel, depression is wrong and you matter.  

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