Since the news of Chester Bennington’s death I have heard and read the term selfish being thrown around to describe his death. Losing the battle to mental illness is anything but selfish. Hearing the word selfish to describe someone’s death is a trigger for many– myself included.
For two weeks after losing my Father to suicide, I locked myself away from the world. I shut my blinds and allowed the darkness to consume me. I had struggled for so long that I just wanted the pain to end. In that time period I thought about losing my Mother to cancer. I thought about my brief but terrifying stretch of homelessness.
I thought about how my irrational behavior from my mental illness put me in that situation.
I thought about everyone and everything I had ever done wrong
I thought about how I walked in the morning of my Father’s death to find fragments of his existence painfully littered in the dining room of his apartment. The last thing that crossed my mind was how I felt I had let my Dad down when he needed me the most.
I thought if I had just responded to his last text and not been so selfish maybe he would still be here. I wrestled with the demons progressively draining the life from me.
Night would turn to day, and I would see a sliver of light passing through the curtains, taunting me with the metaphorical spectre of hope. I watched the light dance as my A/C unit blew the curtains in a rhythmic swaying motion until the light faded to darkness with the setting of the sun.
I kept thinking, in my desolate state, that if tonight was the night, no one would care that I was gone.
With all the destruction my existence has caused, I would be better off dead. These insecurities continued whispering vile nothings into my ear.
How does it feel to almost kill yourself?
Until the morning when I had decided what I was going to do as the light returned and radiated throughout my apartment. As I looked down the barrel of my gun, I saw nothing. In that moment of clarity I realized nothing down that eternal black hole could fix me or my problems. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately not everyone in that moment of weakness and unbearable pain has the same results as I did.
Trigger words such as selfish or commit may not seem like much, but to others it brings back painful emotions.
It’s easy to condemn people who have struggles you could never comprehend
It’s hard for those who have never experienced the effects of suicide and mental illness to understand its detrimental effects. What needs to be understood is that mental illness is like any other debilitating illness that requires treatment.
There are treatments for illnesses like cancer all the way to HIV. The best treatment for mental illnesses is love, compassion, and professional help. These three things could save a life, but it will always start with a whole lot of love and compassion. Compassion being the main component I have seen a lot of individuals lacking lately.
Please educate yourself. The old saying is true for a reason: “knowledge is power” and one day that knowledge could save a life.