This may not be a kvlt or br00tal post, as per the usual fuckery here at DIAG, but we feel this particular piece of tragic news requires a comment. Consider this to be the final statement of the staff of Drunk in a Graveyard regarding the suicide of Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. Though this statement is written by one (Robin), we wish to have it be considered to be a statement by all of the staff.
I didn’t like Linkin Park. I grew up in a time that was saturated with nu-metal, soaked in shitty mall goth clothing, and the Slipknot logo seemed as perennial as the McDonald’s golden arches. The early aughts were a unique time, and bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and the aforementioned Slipknot provided the angst filled soundtrack to a generation of broken home teenagers disillusioned with their places in their life, and angry about lacking control around aspects of their existences, and much of this angst was expressed through self harm, flirtations with mental illness, black clothing, and the typical teenage experiences of staying out late, drinking and experimenting with drugs, and being broken hearted for the first time. To say that the lyrics to a Linkin Park song could perfectly summarize that time would be an accurate statement. I didn’t see the appeal. I wasn’t so convinced of the importance of this band. I was too busy fussing over Bauhaus cassette tapes and listening to bad goth music from twenty years prior. But in the periphery of my vision, I saw many friends experiencing the divorce of their parents, the breakdown of their family unit, the suicide of friends, the hospitalization and institutionalization of peers and loved ones, and for them, I saw the value of Linkin Park songs.
My first boyfriend’s sister spent her youth in a bedroom plastered in Linkin Park posters, inspired by the words she heard in their music, hearing her thoughts echoed to her in the voice of someone else. It’s an experience of normalization to hear that someone else has struggled like you have. We all exist within this vacuum of self doubt at times, where we think that the feelings we are experiencing are singular and unique to our experience, forgetting of course that those around us often suffer in the same way. I still remember how relieving it was to find out that sometimes other people who work in healthcare have the same questions I did, and often go home to question the meaning of life, the purpose to it all. This comes right along with working with the most primal parts of the human experience – to live or to die. When you see sickness, and see the rot and the decay, it’s only natural to wonder about things, but for a long time, I experienced these thoughts alone, afraid to reveal them to anyone because somehow I queried if this made me less competent. How affirming to know that this experience is normal.
We love the same, we hate the same. And yet, somehow, we forget this about each other. How many times have I loaded up instagram and taken a look at someone’s beautifully curated photos and wished for a moment that my life could be like those snapshots? But we forget that those snapshots are falsehoods, they tell only a portion of the story. No one reveals everything about who they truly are inside, not to everyone, anyways. Sometimes not even to the people closest to them. I can say that even though I’ve existed in a partnership with Scotty F for 12 years now, we probably still don’t know about all the deepest darkest things we have inside. Not saying we hide these things, but sometimes they just don’t come up.
When I heard about Chester Bennington’s suicide, my first response was mixed. My initial reaction comes from the place of someone very familiar with mental health, and it’s a sense of failure, a momentary blow. When I scan local headlines and see friends and family dying of overdoses, losing battles with their addictive tendencies, succumbing to the sweet seduction of suicide, I feel the same. The blow hits harder if the person is young. Working within the system of healthcare and mental health, I am poised and cursed to see the failings of it, how even though so many attempts are made, that failures still happen and they happen regularly, and they happen to everyone.
Chester Bennington, arguably, had everything that could hold a person to this world – millions of dollars, a beautiful home, two women who at one point loved him enough to marry him, six children, legions of fans, a band, a successful pop song that constantly plays on the radio. But still, beyond all this, he struggled. He struggled enough to end his own life by hanging himself in his home on July 20, 2017. Following the suicide of Chris Cornell earlier this year, it seems that no one is immune from the reach of mental illness, and I know, deep down that this is true. Chester Bennington committed suicide on what would have been Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday, and he reportedly sang at Chris Cornell’s funeral. Those who experience loss through suicide are even more likely than others to complete the act themselves.
But, I’m angry. I’m angry and that’s one of the pieces in the grief process. I’m angry because to a generation of fans, and to his children, Chester Bennington leaves them a legacy that ended in suicide. But that’s the sting of it all – people who commit suicide always believe that the world will be a better place without them. And that’s where I plead with you all to not use logic in something that is illogical.
We will never know what drove this man to take his own life, not really. Maybe he left a suicide note, maybe he didn’t. But that’s just a snapshot, just another instagram post we can attempt to dissect.
Only he knows, and that voice died with him.
From someone who knows all too deeply the pain of losing someone to suicide, of finding someone in the act of completed suicide, I implore anyone who is feeling distressed, or suicidal to get help. The voice of self doubt that tells you the world would be better without you, is A LIAR. You have value, you are loved, and you will be missed. If you struggle with mental illness, no matter your diagnosis, know that you do not struggle alone. There is no shame in asking for help.
1-800-668-6868 (KIDS HELP)
And for those who are left behind, know that this world may seem darker for a while, and that it is normal to grieve. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time. Take time, hold your friends close, ask for support.
To the family and friends of Chester Bennington, we offer our most sincere condolences, and to Chester Bennington – may you find the peace and rest that was denied to you in this life. Rest well.
REST IN PEACE
MAY 20, 1976 – JULY 20, 2017