Chester Bennington & Me

We’ve lost another brilliant artist, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, to suicide and I’m so sad about it. I do understand though.

 Walk with me.

August 2007, I was in a sweaty mosh pit in the front row when Linkin Park played Houston.  I was sober as a stone and hadn’t eaten or had water all day to keep my front row place and see one of my fav bands. Linkin Park expressed how I felt on the inside.  The dark night was stifling and all the songs resonated with me, an undiagnosed Bipolar 2 (low to suicidal mood cycling) person, whose life seemed together but was not.

All the lyrics like “crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal…” had been a part of my soul for years, listening to the Nu Metal of Linkin Park, running with my dogs, trying to figure out why I always felt so broken and that “if I just had a better attitude, prayed to God, ate enough Kale, ate enough sprouts, became a Master Gardener and Volunteered, things would improve my mind”.

I had a good job, was very accomplished, had an advanced degree, did volunteer work and had survived a terrible spinal injury, yet I could not shake this shadow figure.  It hunted me and haunted me my entire life.  Every 3 days this mood would cycle Depressed to suicidal as it does in untreated BP2 people.  I would not know why and would not get proper diagnosis for several more years.

During the concert, frontman Chester came over to me, and took my hand as he sang and I looked into his eyes and I could see the pain. My eyes welled.  I KNOW, man, right? It sucks! Thank you for putting it into words and signing it to us!

Linkin Parks’ music kept me going on days when I felt like Chester may have felt in the early morning of 20 July 2017.  It’s not like we BP2 types relish being weird and angsty,; we do want to feel and heal and belong.  Ok, there’s a tiny bit of us that likes to shock you with our music, but just a little.  People will say “you’re so quiet!” And I think “You should hear what’s going on in this brain…”

Some chipper, unrelatable writers with agendas are already being paid to say that in Chester’s case it was “just drugs and alcohol”, but I beg to differ.  The monster that is mental illness should be treated properly, just like a broken leg.  

Mostly, the waiting rooms for psychiatrists are overcrowded with screaming suffering kids and the doctor doesn’t have time to figure things out, so it becomes an experiment over several years.  And the side effects of the wrong meds can be nasty-abdominal epilepsy. 

And epilepsy meds can cause your hands to fight each other over pens and paper. That’s super fun I can tell you. Especially at work: “Need the report at 10.”  So, part of the report dealing with timelines is on this page and the other page has creative ideas for Chili Cookoff Costumes…

Maybe the monster in Chester’s mind just dared him to do it like it did me at 18.  “C’mon! Don’t be such a Wuss!” is what mine said at 18.  PTSD and BP2 are just 2 of the illnesses I’ve experienced that are this powerful.  Sid, the bad kid who lived across the street in Toy Story and who tortured toys, lives in the mind, torturing, daring sick people to do stupid things like The Choking Game or Take These Pills.  Sid is the hunter, the shadow figure.
The antidote to Sid in my case was Nortriptyline and Lithium.  Those keep Sid out of my head and epilepsy out of my gut. Modern medicines aren’t always best. Mine are old, cheap ones. You’ve seen the commercials for “if you still feel depressed…add this one (mood stabilizer). Antidepressants themselves can aggravate mood disorders and cause rapid cycling and make conditions worse. It seems the best course (from the suggested book below) is try mood stabilizing first, then choose the antidepressant.

The music of Linkin Park spoke for so many who didn’t have the brilliant words to express what thousands feel inside.  There’s a reason thousands flock to their concerts. They composed I’m mad and I want to cry in such a cool way.

I will miss you, Chester. Rest In Peace my artist friend.

I hope this post enlightens those who can’t even imagine feeling like this.  And comforts those who are dealing with it or have or had a loved one dealing with mood disorder.

A helpful book in understanding the spectrum mood disorder is “Why Am I Still Depressed?”

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