Chester Bennington: Another battle lost with the dark. Lets face it: this was depression at work here. One or the other way. High time to talk about it. Now.
To begin, let me just randomly name a few in place of so many:
Robin Williams. Actor.
John Belushi. Actor.
Elvis Presley. Singer, actor.
Malik Bendjelloul. Director.
Marylin Monroe. Singer, actress.
River Phoenix. Actor, musician.
Janis Joplin. Singer.
Amy Winehouse. Singer.
Kurt Cobain. Musician.
Chris Cornell. Musician.
And now Chester Bennington. Musician.
Another creative mind and beautiful soul lost.*
And we mourn. We are sad. We are horrified. And thats more then OK. For sure. What else is left then sadness and the feeling of emptiness if such a talent leaves us all behind. His work, embodied in his performances and songs, meant a lot to so many of us. As it gave hope and energy in good times and bad times. As it helped us thru our own dark moments. But now, this source of enlightenment went dry forever. Chester Bennington has given all he could give. To himself. To the world.
But this time we should not just cry a tear and move on. Like it is already happening after not even a day on the cover of the for Rock’N Roll mystical Rolling Stone, where the headline of Benningtons dead did not even survive 24 hrs, before news about just another political bla bla took over the headline place instead. Sure, going back to business is always easier. At least for the moment. At lest that is what we prefer to think. Until the next suicide.
So, in the bigger picture, as individuals and as a society, such ignorance is a big mistake.
Because by giving up on our efforts to look into the dark corners of our closets, by constantly ignoring that with great human talent of all kinds very often comes a lot of emotional heavy burden, we give away so much of what makes being human valuable.
As we give up on dealing and accepting our shadows, our dark sides by pretending everything has to be “Hey” and supper-glossy-nice and fun only all the time, we essentially limit ourselves to being actors in a really bad, lifeless horror movie. As with not accepting the lights and shadows of our existence at the same time, we are not nurturing our creativity, our ability to overcome and reinvent, in other words we undermine our fundamental way to live as sane, reflected beings.
No wonder therefore, depression is on its way to become the most widespread and most threatening diseases globally. (Check the WHO data here).
But this is not happening by default, because it has to be that way. We can change this. Humanity as a species has seen better times dealing with mental problems. But in a world increasingly dominated by numbers and codes, by controlling and benchmarking, the soft side of things is not very popular. Things rather have to be fast, efficient and algorithmical. We love to have a pill for everything. And by acting this way, we are hiding from the fact, that life does not simply work that way. “Yes!” to positive thinking. “Yes!” to forcing the future. But also, please, lets look at what is going on in the here and the now in terms of unpleasant things, in terms of the connection between talent and pain, in terms of humans that need the help of other humans.
That is why I believe, Chester Benningtons death is a stark reminder for all of us, that it is high time again to take on the challenge to deal with our demons. As individuals. As society. We need to accept that there is such a thing called depression. We need to name it. We need to deal with it. And not just as a thing that happens to “these artist celebrities”. It is among us all.
Meanwhile: R.I.P. Chester Bennington. And many happy returns.
* Just for the records: Yes, not all of the artists mentioned above died from a 100% clear diagnosis of what medicine labels as depression today. In the end, cause of death was in moste cases gunshots or some form of substance abuse. But please always look at the bios. Look at what caused the abuse. Look at was caused them to pull the trigger. In the end, these are all sad stories of souls conquered by the dark.