Chester Bennington, a legend lost in oblivion, a life lost to depression
Some time back, I remember Deepika Padukone, at the pinnacle of her career, came out in the open about depression. Given she is an actress and had money in abundance, for many who equate material desires with happiness and everything else, she was the most content person. For them, she was being hypocritical in saying she has depression. Why, you may ask? For we have limited knowledge of the term, and we, those who are content in their limited and narrow perspective, show no desire whatsoever to redeem our half knowledge. We equate depression with mere expression of sadness, rather than the monster that it becomes, rather than the controlling remote it is, in your mind, taking you to places you don’t want to revisit in your nightmares, controlling your emotions so they don’t spill, holding you back when all you want is someone to listen to. That is how sinister depression is. Depression is found in the small things of life, small changes that you detect in the life of the loved one. It is not lack of happiness, it is the lack of expression, it is the empty hollowness that consumes you from within, eating you up day by day, till, finally unhelped, undiagnosed, you succumb to it.
Brain is as dangerous a place as the body. The difference is that you can diagnose and cure bodily harms, but brain is one different story altogether.
And so, when a succesful actress who had just delivered back to back hits and won accolades for the same, came out with the term, people were appalled, for people, especially in our own country, are yet to come to terms with the concept of mental health. We run to the doctor for something as minor as a headache, yet we refrain from consulting a therapist for the fear of being called mad or a retard. That’s what our mentality has become. It is changing slowly, I don’t deny that, but yeah, the pace is painfully lethargic.
You may be wondering why I am telling you all this and why am I referring an incident so old. Because, I need to say it and we need to understand it, as a human being. When one celebrity came out with it, we mocked at her for we had our own petty definition of depression, for she was alive, and healthy, and rich, and standing before us, in flesh and real. But now, a legend has succumbed to the same. Chester Bennington, the one who made us all ponder with his voice, his songs, committed suicide. That, is the explaination given by the cops and the medical examiners. But do you know what took his life? Depression. The man, a father of six, a loving husband, a successful artiste, was so hollow from inside, that death seemed to him the easiest way out. He hung himself and put an end to the mental agony.
Was that required? No. Are we blaming the victim? No. He is no child, he was a mature 41-year-old man, in the prime of his years. Surely, he was not immature. The reason I say this, is because it is coming from the social media comments that I read and observe. If a teen commits suicide citing mental health, people easily deem him or her immature, a selfish person who did not think of the ones who were left behind. What do you say of this man, then? What logic will your apathetic mind provide now, to again ignore that something like depression exists, and is claiming lives amongst us, irrespective of age, every day.
We lost a legend. Someone lost a father, someone, a husband, a son, a brother, so many relations left behind. We were the fans who grew up listening to him, and all I could hear were the echos of ‘Numb’ as fans paid their tribute to the singer they revered, to the original rockstar of our generation. Imagine the plight of the ones he called friends and family.
Be agile, be empathetic, and observe if a loved one needs help. Therapy and counselling come secondary, even though they are extremely important. But first comes the acceptance and help of the ones around, with the help of communication. Speak to them. It is high time we stopped taking mental health for granted, high time we understood that an unhealthy mind is even more dangerous than an unhealthy body. Rest in peace, Chester. May you spread cheer with your beautiful songs in the other world, while we here may prevent another Chester from giving up on life.