I was sad to hear about the passing of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. I’m not sure which mental illness he suffered from; I don’t really know much about him. But during my many years of suffering from depression, the music of Linkin Park resonated with me during my adolescent years. Numb was one of the many LP songs that I kept on repeat. The rock beat with the screaming vocals complimented the lyrics that accurately depicted some of my inner turmoil.
Formative years are difficult enough. Add on mental illness, and it’s a struggle that often takes unfathomable strength to overcome – at any age. For me, I wanted to be invisible because that’s how I felt. Thinking about all the cool and exciting things I got to do as a youth, that I don’t really even remember living through.
I got a
Heart full of pain, head full of stress
Handful of anger, held in my chest
Uphill struggle, blood, sweat, and tears
Nothing to gain, everything to fear
– Nobody’s Listening
Depression really wasn’t a diagnosis when I was a child. It wasn’t until I was about 14 that I first started on antidepressants. I remember going through countless counselors and therapists, even in elementary school. All these people I didn’t know trying to help me, when I didn’t even understand what was going on within myself. Depression is a hard concept to understand if you’ve never suffered or known someone who suffers from mental illness. My dad didn’t understand it, and he couldn’t fix it. I know that it was hard on him. I would never fault him or blame him for not knowing how to help me. I didn’t even know how to help myself.
Watching the Somewhere I Belong video instantly brought tears to my eyes. It took me back to a place that I hadn’t visited in a very long time. I vividly remember depressive episodes where my heart hurt so badly, and I had cried so heavily, that I became nearly physically ill. So desperately wanting to feel something else, get out of that state, and find somewhere, some place, where I could be the person I hoped I could be, not the person I was. But having no hope in those moments for the person I could become, “just stuck, hollow and alone” feeling “lost in the nothingness inside of me.”
I had depression for as far back as I can remember. Nearly every memory of my childhood is blurred by the fog of mental illness. I don’t know how I came out of it, and it didn’t happen over night. I suffered for nearly 24 years. But I never gave up hope. I don’t have the answers. I know how hard it is to face that uphill battle. They say that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Battling depression was one of, if not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And victory never felt so good.
If you are suffering from mental illness, please know that it is not your fault. I know how frustrating getting help can be, but you have everything to lose if you don’t.
So let mercy come and wash away
What I’ve done
Rest in Peace Mr. Bennington. Lord knows you deserve it.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255