I'm not jumping on the bandwagon of being the "biggest fan" of a recent celebrity who's death is all over the news, and I'm not writing this because it is popular to talk about. I've actually instead, been inspired to write and tell you that you matter.
Depression and all other mental health issues are horrible. No matter what you do or say, sometimes people just can't see that you are reaching out a helping hand. And equally some people are just so good at pretending they're floating along fine that under the surface even their closest family and friends cannot see that they are so close to being dragged under and drowning.
This facade is unfortunately blameless. No two people can react to the same mental health issues in the exact same way. While subject number 1 with Depression can be obviously depressed and eventually receive help, subject number 2's depression could be completely masked, and masked so well they are overlooked by everyone. And both these subjects are equally as in need of help. But in the UK at least. although flawed, there is a system in place that can and WILL help if you ask. But something as simple as asking for help seems like just such an easy feat to any "normal" person. To someone suffering under the weight of their own mental health, this is almost impossible.
To add to that- the day to day stigmas of close minded people who have never have, or never will suffer from any issues like this. Society has been so closed and looked away from so many people over the centuries, we have endless amounts of evidence of clearly mentally challenged, mentally disabled and mentally ill people suffering from various psychological mental health issues being either locked away, ignored, experimented on and even killed. There are studies into the horrors of Psychiatric hospitals, people with schizophrenia being "treated" for possession, being burned for being a witch. And all of this needless suffering and pain has come from the simple act of a lack of compassion and refusal to want to understand, and almost a fear because so many people seem unable to understand. And this exact thing is still happening, and I suspect will still continue to happen no matter how many people try and talk about it in a way that everyone will understand.
Of course I am referring to Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. In the last couple of years we have had our fair share of celebrity deaths, through various reasons, including suicide, but none hit me quite as hard as this. Mainly because it brought to light the exact thing most mental health sufferers fear most, and that is the Depression (or other illness) winning.
The only way I can begin to describe it is if you know you have this huge, overpowering darkness inside. You have lived under it for years. You are perhaps at a point where you have an umbrella to shield you from its heavy downpours, or you have a box you can compress it all down and store it in, and for the brief times you are not under its control, and you are able to be "Lucid" and "Normal" you can look back at it and see how much it affects your entire life. All aspects of it, like an annoying fly buzzing in the background of every conversation, every laugh, every smile, it's lurking back there and you know its there. You can even hear it on the happiest day at the happiest moments. You wonder how everyone else hears and sees the world without this evil buzzing about you and your entire life. And the fear as you look back from your lucidity is that it will get so big one day you can't put it back in its box, your umbrella wont work, no one walking past will be able to save you. Nothing will break through the overwhelming sadness you feel into your very soul- and what makes it worse is it all seems to be for no reason. You could have the love of your life next to you, beautiful kids and the perfect job, plenty of money and be the saddest most depressed person in the world. This pressure, this overwhelming horror of every day life hurting your soul on a daily basis makes you want to end it. What is the point in "living" if there is literally nothing to live for. If every day seems like it is your darkest day. When it feels like all the hatred in the entire world is your fault and it all falls back on you.
This is the scariest part. Your brain, Your emotions, your soul. What makes you you....is also the thing that seems to want to kill you. It makes you not want to be here any more. You don't want to eat, or you want to eat too much. you don't want to be alone but you don't want to go out. You can't stand your own company but you're stuck in here with you- forever.
Imagine the most hated person you can in your life. Someone you'd easily hurt without a second thought...now imagine that person is you. And live like that, for the rest of your days.
There is enough hatred on the planet as it is, without you then hating yourself too. And if you have a vendetta against yourself. Who's going to really win?
I am a diagnosed, high Anxiety sufferer and I have paranoia, and as a result this makes me depressed. I have been suffering for many, many years. I had my first panic attack at the age of 12 because I was worried about what happens to you when you die. And the very vast expanse that is our endless universe exists within what? What is the universe actually within...
I had no idea what this was. I thought that I'd been worrying about death so much I'd managed to kill myself with my mind.I actually thought I was dying and I couldn't escape it.
I still panic and freak out about this now. I had a panic attack about dying in June last year. I sat screaming and crying in absolute fear on my landing, while my husband cradled me and tried to calm me down. You cannot escape it.
I have Anxiety as a result of being sexually abused between the ages of 8-12 by a "well loved local man". he was a family friend. As a result of this, therapy, court case and coming to terms with it all... and also blaming myself. I missed a lot of school, kids at school I thought knew about it all and were talking about me. The people in my small town too...which it actually turns out they were talking about me, even going as far as to call me a "slut" at the age of 14. I had people that I was no longer allowed to be friends with... and I was constantly aware of everyone around me. Hyper aware. I'd listen to everyone else's conversations, even from afar. I'd be looking around everywhere to see who was where, if they were looking at me, what were they doing, why? Did I know them, are they walking towards me, if they do come over where can I go to get away from them. I started to predict things before they happened because I was so aware of everything I knew what was coming next, My natural instincts, my "fight or flight" reflex was on constant high alert. Code red 24/7. I became an introvert. I had a few very close very amazing friends. Who I am sure, without them and my amazing family, I wouldn't still be here...because living with that anxiety every day, being so on edge was exhausting and I was tired of myself and my life.
By the age of 16 I didn't want to be here anymore. For someone so afraid of death and what happens when you die, I was very quick and willing to end it. THAT'S how much control it had. I knew this was such a bad thing to have, I grasped desperately at anything to keep me here. I remember watching ITV2 and a TV series called Supernatural was just airing, I watched the entire first season without fail and then it ended on a huge cliff hanger, I remember thinking "well I can't do it yet, I need to see what happens"- so literally as you can see, ANY excuse I could find to not let it win. It was like I was bargaining with my own brain to just survive a bit longer... just want to see the next season, or I just want to make it till Sunday so I can go on a walk to the local woods with my best friend...I cant do it now I've got to go swimming tomorrow with my Pops. I was desperate to anchor myself here for any reason, because daily I could feel this depression taking over and taking me away.
I used to self harm as a way of controlling it. Remind myself that I was still in control and not my Anxiety or Depression, ME, I was still here. And if I wanted to mark myself I could. And I did.
Guess what... I was in control, I am still here. I am a fighter. And ironically the cast of Supernatural have an "always keep fighting" campaign now for people who are struggling. (I will post links at the end).
I was officially diagnosed after becoming really bad again at the age of about 22. I was working for a large supermarket chain here in the UK. I had to move from a department I loved because of my scoliosis and I ended up on a department where I loved most of the people but one manager just didn't understand me at all. By this point in my life i'd worked out I had some form of anxiety and depression. So I also knew when I was pushing myself too much. I began to hate my job and this woman so much on the way to work I just wanted to walk into traffic, make it look like an accident. No one would hate me then. In the end i just wanted to jump off the overpass into the road below. I actually laughed at the image of her seeing my body and being like "oh I guess she really was depressed". She was the kind of person who would tell an Anorexic person to "just eat something". So ignorant to others needs.
I knew I was becoming very bad, and also that perhaps I was focusing all of my paranoia into this one person hating me. I started to skip work a lot. Call in sick for weeks at a time. I knew it wasn't right so I went to the doctors...and he recommended I do less hours, this didn't go down well with the evil manager and I ended up being signed off work, for months at a time. I was put onto medication and told to "relax" try and enjoy the little things in the every day. The therapist I eventually did get to see told me to document my good days with photos and share them, as a way of proving to others I wasn't "mental" (as I kept describing it) and to help my paranoia. I had very few good days, but when I did i'd put the odd photo's online, i'd be proud that I left the house and that I did my own shopping etc...But this actually really backfired and I ended up getting several disciplinary's for "not looking sick" after people I worked and considered friends, took these photos of me out of context, without my captions explaining i'd conquered my agoraphobia and gone to the shop etc; all of it was seen as being off work for no reason. Apparently trying to kill yourself and wanting to kill yourself weren't acceptable reasons for being off work. They didn't understand that, the one photo of me in my garden, and the one of some cakes I baked...well, in my garden was as far out of my house as I had gone for an entire month, and that after id made the cupcakes I smashed them up because I was too fat to enjoy them. This manager sat across from me in my meeting and smirked as she read back my private Facebook status's and used examples of people seeing me food shopping, or out and about (usually going to therapy or my doctors) and they had told her I looked completely fine. So clearly there was nothing wrong. This hit me hard. Because first off, I felt like no one believed me. and secondly people who were my 'friends' at work, and so understanding were reporting me for this shit after knowing everything that was going on...
I rage quit that job. I tried to get justice for constructive dismissal but I didn't have any evidence as I didn't document it all. I spiraled into a deep depression. got into debt because I was out of work for over a year in the end and I was saved simply by the strength of my Husband, my close family and a tiny amount of friends. In fact during this time I lost a lot of friends. I was declining invites. I went months without replying to people and seeing anyone. The darkness had escaped it's box and I was lost in it.
And this is why Chester hit me hard. So many people knew he was depressed. Knew he suffered. But everyone has said how he seemed "fine". he looked "fine" he was "happy".
I used to (and still do) listen to Linkin Parks songs, and they used to speak to me on such a level that understood exactly how it felt, and I felt relieved that someone was making songs about the exact things I was feeling. This guy had this horrible thing of depression but he was beating it and did beat it every day...until one day it won. I am battling my issues back on a daily basis, friends and family members have their own similar issues, they are fighting every day, and looking at them and thinking about how it is terrifying that some may not win. What if IT wins. It gets so many people on a daily basis and their seems to be nothing we can do...But there is. Their really is. Just be there. Think of your words. The most precious thing on this earth is time. Respect the time you have and if you can give your time to others then do. Just a text or a phone call to see how someone is could save someones life. Let them know they matter to you. They are enough. And this planet needs them. You need them. And if you don't understand mental health issues or you think suicide is "selfish", spend one minuet talking to someone who has these problems, and actually LISTEN. Don't just listen to reply with why you are "right". Educate yourself. And if you still can't find that compassion for another human life, then perhaps question why you are here. If it's religion you believe, science, spirits...whatever, why are YOU here on this planet? Is it to be oblivious to everyone and everything else around you, what will that mean you take with you in the end? Is it to not care at all and just blindly skip along until you end. Or Is it to tell someone they mean something...could that be the only sentence you need to say to save someone, because surely even if you don't understand, knowing you have been supportive of another human soul is thousands of times better than the negativity people are so quick to spew. You matter. They Matter. All human lives matter. Even if you don't understand, you can help.
The planet is one finite force of life, and it all matters. Save everyone and everything you can. And Always Keep Fighting.