With the recent passing of Chester Bennington to suicide, I feel compelled to speak out. The thing is, I’m not sure what it is I want to say, and still there’s that voice in my head who continues to insist that nothing I have to say on the matter means anything. It isn’t the first time I’ve written on this topic. If you were privy to the plethora of notebooks full of writing, and my sacred flash drive, you’d know this isn’t new to me. How to say what I’ve all ready said nearly a thousand times before?
I’m no stranger to suicidal thoughts. I’ve lived with that strong desire in my head since I was 12 years old. Time and age has not made it any easier to deal with, but it has given me the tools to deal with emotions I don’t fully understand, and cannot control. There’s a reason that we tell the suicidal to wait a day or two before following through with their plans. Suicide is largely an impulsive decision. When I get to feeling destructive, I use anything and everything to keep myself distracted. I don’t always use productive vices, but I’m not a poster-child for suicide prevention and awareness.
I’ve waited out many long days and nights of suicidal longing. If you’re thinking that it passes like a cramp, you’re wrong. I’ve gone weeks on end with the desire to kill myself, and believe me, those were long weeks indeed. Truthfully, I’ve gone through month-long excursions, just fighting every day to get myself out of bed and go about my routine, because at least while I was doing those things, I couldn’t do something that would permanently put me to rest. If you’re thinking I’ve managed that with a sunny smile on my face, let me correct you. I’ve destroyed numerous relationships with people because of the darkness in my head, and the thought that I had no way to explain myself. The worst part of depression is the isolation. It makes you a prisoner inside your own mind.
Truthfully, I’m still very much a prisoner in my own mind. While it may seem like I talk about this openly, let me tell you, this isn’t as brave as it appears. However, I do believe that until we learn to talk about these kinds of things, as a society, we’re never going to get a handle on mental health issues. We must talk about suicide. We must talk about mental health. If we don’t talk about these things, if we don’t open a dialogue, they will only continue to leave the living confused in the wake of another dead loved one.
Even if you can’t speak out in a public forum, speak for yourself. You’re the only one who can share your story. You’re the only one who has your experiences. Share them. I know how daunting that is. I know how terrifying that can be. I’m not saying this because I’ve been liberated by a willingness to be open about this issue, I’m saying this because of all the years I’ve been living in a dark corner, hiding my truth from the rest of the world for fear of what it might do to others. Suicide isn’t a problem just for people affected by a loved one’s death, or their own battle with depression. Suicide is a problem that we, as a society, need to start addressing.
Speak. Please. For your own sake, and others. Silence is what’s killing us.