I remember the moment when I heard that the frontman of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington had killed himself.
I was holidaying in Norway, it was bright and sunny at 12 midnight on account of it being summer and the sun never setting.
Hubby and I were having a couple of drinks when I heard this. Wow, I didn’t quite know what to think / feel.
After all, the Spotify soundtrack of my trip had Linkin Park’s song, Heavy, on heavy rotation.
Because well, if you heard the song, you’d get it. It was 2017, and while 2017 was a much better year than 2015, I still felt a strong connection with the song.
It was like… meant for me.
Part of the song lyrics by written by Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, Chester Bennington, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter.
I'm holding on
Why is everything so heavy
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Why is everything so heavy?
That’s the chorus.
You know, I was like, if Chester was singing all this about letting go and being set free, how on earth could he have made that drastic decision to end his life? I know, I’m naïve, I’m just looking at the surface but what else can a stranger do when they hear of such a thing?
You can’t help but try to understand, and then you look around and try to find “proof points” leading up to this final act.
And then went Anthony.
Same with Anthony Bourdain. Another person I admire. And I remember when I heard this news too. I was out for wine and tapas with colleagues… how ironic, I was with a bunch of foodies, so we had lots to say about this.
See, with Chester, he was very open about his depression and his life. So, while it was sad, for some reason, it didn’t seem as surprising.
But with Bourdain, it seemed like he was at an all-time high in his career, I don’t recall knowing anything about his life that would have led to this sad ending, so it was shocking.
The same foodie friend who had told me about his suicide also told me that it was wrong when people say that those who kill themselves are cowards. “It takes a lot of courage to kill yourself, you know?”, she had said.
And then I had another friend who said that “It’s selfish to take your own life.”
All I can say is like, are you kidding me?
Don’t you think that someone who is desperate enough to kill themself is… exactly that… desperate? Depressed beyond anything? Do you think that they feel like they have a choice? That they have hope?
If they did, and if their brain could have processed that, then I’m pretty sure they would not have taken this alternative.
So please, suicide is an extreme act, who are we to judge, postulate, wonder about the whys and the how could theys. We just have to grieve for those who had been lost and maybe, be more mindful and present for those amongst us who might be struggling with the same thing.
By the way, in 2016, before I had started this blog, I wrote a piece on How to Help a Friend. I was compelled to write the article and had no other platform so I wrote it on my food and travel blog, strange as it might seem. Reading through it now, it is still relevant, just in case you want to hop over to read it there.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide and are unable to keep yourself safe, please contact the 24-hour hotlines of Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800 221 4444 or the Institute of Mental Health (IMH): 6389 2222.