“Parks and gardens seem to be places of untold sadness. The sound reverberates as linkin logs crash to the ground, echoing the loss of passion as breaths are extinguished harshly.”
Chris Cornell died on May 18th, 2017. Chester Bennington died on July 20th, 2017, which also happened to be Cornell’s birthday. Birthdays, holidays and other special occasions can often be triggers for people who are on the edge of life, and this proved to be no different.
Sadly, I can’t think of another case that better exemplifies the saying “misery loves company.”
The problem with celebrity deaths is not necessarily the at-times gruesome details placed into headlines to get clicks (read: TMZ), or the immediate suggestion of addiction being the sole culprit of such a sad event; but instead, we as a society strip away one’s humanity, and completely ignore that depression is all too real for lots of people.
Sure, celebrities have staggering riches in the form of property, vehicles, etc., but some of them remind us how human they really are through their art.
They also have problems. They also have vices. And, they also have mental health issues.
What does someone dealing with mental health look like?
People working on their mental health issues don’t have crutches or wheelchairs that designate them as having said illness(es). Every single person that combats their illness(es) looks like you, sounds like me, and often do everyday things that what we all do.
Chester had made it clear in his music and during his life the demons he faced often. Chris had also done this, just not to the same public extent as his good friend did. People dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts are not going to reach out. Not directly.
When you add in the spotlight of being a celebrity, it’s no wonder someone with such fame feels that their struggle is magnified, and they don’t want to deal with such a personal battle in such a public way. It’s hard to blame someone for not coping well with this mix of issues.
How can I help someone?
The point of all of this is to remind everyone that reaching out to each other is fundamental to one’s mental well-being. If you see that someone hasn’t reached out in awhile or seemingly can’t reach out, check on them; regardless if it appears things are fine, they very well might not be.
Someone who appears the strongest or the funniest might need the most help. If people like Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington couldn’t handle depression and their demons with all of the resources they possessed around them, then clearly fame and money do not equate to a healthy mental state.
What might help with that is a system of supportive people around you. Such connections can likely save some lives, especially for people who are judged by others due to their race, gender, class, religion, and a myriad of other identifiers that some people in positions of power think gives them the right to mistreat others.
There is no reason to add to someone’s struggles. The best way to avoid doing this is to treat each other better than we’ve been treated in times of difficulties, abuse, etc. That might be one of the many steps that need to be taken when it comes to healing those who are dealing with what Chester and Chris were experiencing.