Mental illness is very serious. Unlike most health issues, where you can provide treatment and see immediate results, most mental health issues exist without many people knowing their friend, family member or loved one is dealing with more than they could ever possibly imagine.
Four days. Four days before Chester succumbed to the overwhelming feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, anxiety and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, I I would bet my life savings that no one in this car had any idea the tragic event that would unfold four days later was even a remote possibility.
Stigma keeps so many people from seeking help. Stigma exists because, for decades, men like Chester have been told to “suck it up” or “be a man”. Excuse my language, but that is complete bullshit. Depression can be crippling. It also can be treated, but it can’t be treated until people feel safe seeking the help they need.
Last thing. While Chester was smiling, laughing and singing his heart away, he also said some pretty amazing things.
“This is the best day of my life.”
“I just want my children to find something that they love and are passionate about.”
Not my words: “Often, the people who appear to be the happiest are dealing with things other people cannot fathom.”
Four days before the world lost Chester Bennington, no one would have ever expected that what he was carrying around was so heavy that he would take his own life. Rather, mental illness would cause him to take his own life.
Something needs to change. I am blessed that my family understood how serious mental health is and helped me get the treatment I needed and still need to manage my depression and anxiety, but not everyone is so fortunate. If you know anyone who is struggling, please let them know you care and you are available to listen. It could be the difference between waking up and connecting with a loved one or waking up and the world losing another amazing person.