Although there is a huge social stigma attached to suicide it is a real epidemic all over the world. As you can understand, life can be extremely overwhelming at the worst possible times. There have been times when life can seem unbearable where we feel like we are in the darkest place. In other words, the darkest place I had ever seen was inside me, and nothing scared me more. Pretty hard to read that last bit but what we are talking about here is suicide, and it’s very real. Everything that pushes someone to do something so permanent over a temporary impulsive feeling is very tragic.
With all due respect, Chester Bennington, lead singer from a very popular rock band Linkin Park, took his own life last Thursday morning. While over 62 million fans (Facebook) around the world are showing their respects to Bennington’s passing, many are unaware of what his life was really like. Bennington fought depression and explicit drug abuse for years leading up to his death. On the band’s new album, lyrics from the song “Heavy” suggests a suicidal mindset:
I don’t like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down
I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
Yeah, I drive myself crazy
‘Cause I can’t escape the gravity
14. He was a child sexual trauma victim
Childtrauma.org shared relevant statistics about how one out of every three girls and one out of every five boys have been victims of sexual abuse. Not only that, but these children experience this kind of evil by their 18th birthdays. Many of them go through the abuse for several years of their lives. And, the majority is by a family member or close friend of their families. Chester Bennington was one child calculated into this heart-wrenching statistic.
In Chester’s case, abuse came from a trusted older man who was around him often. And, if that wasn’t enough for an innocent boy to face, his father was a police officer within the sex crimes division. Dad often brought home heinous cases to work on. Consequently, confusing Chester, conditioning him to desensitize from what was “normal” for kids. Through Chester’s eyes, the world was missing that filter that protects the hearts and minds of children.
13. His Parent’s Split Up at Age 11
You may not be completely shocked that a divorce can have damaging affects on a child. Another impacting moment in Linkin Park lead singer’s life were the negative consequences of his parent’s nasty divorce. Still pretty young at age 11, it devastated him further. In fact, it created internal conflict that ended up being suppressed. In reality, this typically happens to children when parents separate.
First of all, divorce always puts unimaginable amounts of stress on kids. This is due to many issues like financial hardship, economic issues, and/or the loss of connection with one parent. Second, divorce certainly increases the risk for children developing psychological and behavioral problems. Lastly, kids from split homes are more likely to develop anger and social issues.
12. He started smoking marijuana at age 11
With all that this world famous singer had gone through by time he turned 11 he started to have serious psychological issues. His anxiety had gotten so intense and uncontrollable that he began smoking weed. Generally speaking, most kids that age who dabble in smoking marijuana are trying to cope with pain they feel.
However, it could have been a lot worse. Some tweens develop other anxiety induced habits that are damaging. As an example, these habits include self-mutilation (cutting themselves with a razor), or an eating disorder like bulimia (binge eating followed quickly by forced purging). Anorexia, (purposely starving the body of solid food) is another eating disorder causing severe malnutrition. Either way, smoking pot, cutting, and eating disorders are all harmful.
11. Experimented With Harder Street Drugs At Age 13
It wasn’t long after Chester started smoking weed that he ventured into much more powerful substances. His parents’ divorce when he was 11 led him to start smoking pot, which then encouraged him to abuse cocaine and meth-amphetamines. All which can be traced all the way back to the years of sexual abuse by an older male “friend”. In an interview with The Guardian, he spoke a little bit about his struggle: “My God, no wonder I became a drug addict. No wonder I just went completely insane for a little while.” To top it all off, he started drinking beer and hard liquor too. A teenager mixing hard drugs with alcohol is is self-medicating some horrible feelings. Again, feelings, perceptions, and perspectives manifesting as a result of his disturbing childhood.
10. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Surfaced
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after experiencing a traumatic event or from ongoing child abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic abuse. In fact, many people associate PTSD with the military but this mental illness can happen to anyone! Another aspect people are not aware of, is that PTSD can develop instantly after the trauma. Or, it can surface several years after any trauma took place. The symptoms of PTSD are very challenging to live with to say the least.
As a result of ongoing sexual and physical abuse, Chester ended up with this destructive disease. PTSD was unleashed after a visit by his mom’s house. He saw a picture of himself when he was a child then remembered very clearly when that picture was taken. All of a sudden, the horrific memories that happened to him at that age instantly flooded his mind. It was as if he were transported back in time re-experiencing it.
9. First Love, Samantha, Ends In Divorce in 2005
The first love of Chester’s life was Samantha. In the beginning, this is whom he married when they were so poor he couldn’t afford a wedding ring. Being as young as they were, this couple was really toxic for each other. Like other young adults, some people felt they were too young to get married. Mr. and Mrs. Bennington shared a common trait that fuelled destructive behaviors.
Although they always helped each other with different things, they knew they shouldn’t have been together. Due to the instability and constant emotionally driven arguments, they had created an anxiety provoking environment for themselves. Even worse, they had Draven, their son, witness their volatility. Inevitably, this brought up other feelings for Chester. The young couple divorced in 2005.
8. Excessive abuse of illegal drugs for years
Our Linkin Park singer was transparent about his drug and alcohol use at age 13. However, his war with drug addiction teetered throughout the rest of his life. One powerful influence hid addiction had on him was the idea his vices contributed to his success. Mainly, the excess use of mind altering narcotics inspired creativity as well as boosted his perceived confidence.
That being said, Chester listed off his main choice of drugs included alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. Intended to increase his creative contribution to his music career, and obviously to cope with his demons, his drug abuse compounded his mental health issues. In essence, his depression and PTSD had worsened. But, in attempt to numb himself from the horrible symptoms accompanying his psychological problems, he increased the quantities.
7. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Dominated his Existence
Essentially, Chester was up against recurring memories his childhood traumas which causes intense emotional and physical reactions. At first, anxiety levels would go off the charts, and if goes untreated will quickly turn into a PTSD episode. A full-blown episode can include hallucinations, hyper vigilance, highly aggressive rage, and extreme physical pain.
I have issues with anger that you can’t believe, and I can’t learn to control my reactions.
I have a tendency to self medicate with alcohol and drugs because they help me escape.
I feel like a ticking time bomb and would never want or mean to hurt you or our kids. – Anonymous PTSD Victim
Ultimately, during a PTSD episode the sufferer is involuntarily mentally checked out. It’s like someone takes over their body and mind, becoming prisoner to a dark paralyzing pit deep within themselves, and a demon has taken control. This sheds some light on why so many suicides are committed by PTSD victims.
6. He suffered from Major Depressive Disorder
As can be seen, it was clear to the world that Chester struggled with depression. His depression influenced his irrational choices. Although looking from the outside you would think there is nothing he should be depressed about. Considering his successful music career, loving wife (second marriage), five children, and fame. But depression will deplete any joy from your heart and replace the space with a painful feeling of emptiness.
Overall, depression is a mood disorder that creates a never-ending feeling of sadness. In turn causing someone to lose interest in things they once enjoyed. It dominates and affects how you behave, think, and feel. Even though these are fabricated by depression, it’s reality for the person suffering. Aside from losing interest in doing things, it forces feelings that life isn’t worth living.
5. Consumed By Excessive Guilt
Guilt soon set in for Chester. He felt guilty for putting his wife and children through the adversities of his life. Between the drug and alcohol use, inappropriate behaviour, having a previously failed marriage and the mental health issues he couldn’t swallow it all. Unable to forgive himself, his symptoms worsened.
Needless to say, guilt will eat someone from the inside-out. Chester went through several stints of sobriety, and was doing pretty good for a while. Then, old habits and depression emerged once again when he had broken his leg in 2015. It’s safe to say that anyone would struggle with shame and guilt feeling as though they disappoint everyone they care about.
4. Devan Townsend: Stalker Status For a Cyber Criminal
In a 2007 interview with the tech savvy online magazine, “Wired”, Chester described what would creep out and terrify any internet user. Chester and second wife Talinda talked about their cyber stalker experience . This was much bigger than any cyber stalking incident you have ever heard of. In fact, this crisis revealed activities of Devan Townsend, who was sentenced to jail for two years followed by mandatory mental health treatment upon her release.
Given that this woman worked for the US national security laboratory, she abused her position of power. She hacked into all personal accounts of the Bennington family. Devan accessed email, voicemail, family photos, phone numbers of extended family, friends, and professionals. This narcissistic sociopath took it as far as listening to voice mails dating back an entire year. She even hijacked each email ever sent or received. Imagine the paranoia that would haunt someone long after the fact.
3. Best Friend Chris Hung Himself in May 2017
The syndicate media conglomerate known as the New York Times, reported that Chester’s depression soared through the ozone after losing his best friend Chris Cornell. Just before the beginning of the summer, Chris’s wife discovered his body hanging in their Detroit, Michigan home. Survived by a wife and three children, Chris chose to leave this world which set a theme of tragedy.
As a result, Chester took the death of Soundgarden’s lead vocalist’s suicide really hard. You may remember numerous condolences on Twitter and other social media channels from Chester to his late friend. Chris’s death marks the last trauma in Bennington’s life he will endure. Under these circumstances, surviving friend ignored his heart break and went on deceiving the public by acting happy.
2. He Got Stuck In The Denial Phase Of The Grieving Process
Nita Johnson with Healthline validates this as a common reaction but inevitably requires grieving to ensure a healthy mindset. People who lose a loved one to suicide are called suicide survivors. These survivors go through the same five stages for grieving as others do, but more dangerously. Denial and isolation are parts of this process- it’s perfectly normal to pretend the suicide didn’t happen.
Denying himself time to cope with the trauma linked to losing his best friend, he portrayed optimism instead. Essentially, expressing excitement for Linkin Park’s upcoming album. Chester claimed the “place” he was in today was 100% better than last year. Just four days prior to his death, regarding last year’s state of mind, Chester stated: “I hated my life and couldn’t care less not having feelings.”
1. Eliminating The Stigma & Accelerating A Noble Cause
As devastating as Chester’s death is, it just may pave the way in helping others who’s childhood looks similar to his. Joan Cook, president of the American Psychological Association’s in the division of Trauma Psychology recently featured on CNN. She delve further into the topic of sexual trauma, mental illnesses, more specifically PTSD.
Sexually assaulted boys and men have been overlooked when it comes to receiving proper care and treatment. For example, the public generally responded negatively by neglecting male victims, minimizing severity, and stigmatizing trauma induced mental issues. Previously, victims were set up to fail, forcing them to suffer. Consequentially, reporting sexual assault to get the help they needed fell on the way side. Joan is hopeful for victims because hearing Chester Bennington’s story will encourage them to speak up and begin to heal.
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