During my first few university years I found solace listening to Hybrid Theory as well as Radiohead and Oasis hiding in my university room from friends who, I felt, were all so much more confident, outgoing and smarter than I was. Chester’s relentless voice cut through that whole gambit of emotions I felt during those years- a fear of acceptance, belonging, my questioning where my own sense of self-worth originated from and loneliness, helping me form inside my own release and way forward.
With university friends we fundraised for Mind Mental Health in memory of a friend who killed himself in 2003. He had everything going for him. My memory of his funeral is being with grown, physically strong, charismatic men, all hugging each other in tears.
When I was traveling around Ghana, Zambia and remote part of China volunteering, these feeling of deep sadness, loneliness and injustice resurfaced when seeing so closely the blissful ignorance of those truly without. These feelings I only dealt with thanks to close friends, one particularly wonderful person, and a lot of patience.
News of Chester Bennington’s passing hits home again how depression, adult mental health, really affects us all and those we often least expect. Listening back to his lyrics after understanding more about the childhood abuse he suffered especially his struggle with drugs and alcohol, it sets the words I and so many others related so closely to in an ever deeper context. While he gave comfort and direction to so many, it is so tragic that he himself was in so much pain. Something we perhaps will never fully understand, nor should we look to fix in each other. But perhaps it should be for each of us to look at those who are around and us to just spend that little bit of extra time in listening and acceptance.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.