Why do we mourn when a musician passes on? For me, I remember how their work influenced, inspired, or was there for me when no one else was. I’d find solace and comfort whether what I was listening to was happy or sad. Either way the music would speak to me on an emotional spiritual level that at times was indescribable. I’d recall things from the past that had an impact on me and how I was feeling at that point in time. Passing away from disease or old age is one thing (I cried like a baby when David Bowie died), but when someone takes their own life whose work spoke to me I can’t help but feel sad.
With the recent unfortunate passings of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave) and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) due to suicide I couldn’t help but feel sad. Even though I hadn’t listened to either of the two’s music in quite some time I remember growing up hearing each for the first time. I would program my VCR to record MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” from 12am – 2am and the first time I ever did I watched Soundgarden’s video for “Outshined” and remember rocking out hard to it when I’d watch it the next day. Their records, “Badmotorfinger” and “Superunknown” were big for me in my early teens and I still listen to both today.
Now, I’m not going to claim to be a big Linkin Park fan but when Nu-Metal was huge part of my lifestyle in high school, their debut album “Hybrid Theory” was played non-stop due to the bleak lyrical content that spoke to me as it did many others who have expressed their feelings online since Chester’s death. Suffering from depression in high school and early college was awful to say the least but every time I listened to an album that dealt with sadness or feeling lost I found comfort in it because I felt I wasn’t alone in my struggle and it gave me strength to not give in to those negative feelings. Eventually I moved on from Nu-Metal and Linkin Park but to say they didn’t have positive effect on me, even if it was for one album would be untrue.
Music is my greatest therapy and there’s not a day that pass where I don’t listen. When I was younger musicians were my heroes and that’s still true today because music helps me. The day in which Cornell’s death was announced and then Bennington’s shortly after put me into a sad funk because it showed that depression can affect anyone regardless of status and they were human just like the rest of us, dealing with issues that we all go through at some point, and at times constantly. They were musical artists but they were also human beings. Human begins that felt taking their own lives was the only way to find peace from a world that can be negatively relentless and unforgiving; that’s what made me sad most of all.
When I suffered two concussions within 2 weeks of each other in 2015 I began suffering from extreme anxiety and depression, becoming disconnected from everyone around me. I battled those feelings into early into 2016 when I decided to seek out therapy and after years of not going because I always thought that there was something wrong with me if I started seeing a therapist and I didn’t need help solving my problems. Now, I realize that help is okay and we all need it sometimes. Since going to a therapist I’ve found a lot of people I know have seen or currently see one. It’s nice to have an unbiased support there for you not just to vent but talk and work on bettering things in life.
Even though Cornell and Bennington sadly took their own lives I hope that sought out some sort of help when they were alive and I hope that you do the same if you ever feel like suicide is the only option you have. If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit their website.
There’s more I’d like to say about depression/suicide but I feel like I’ll save those thoughts for future posts because I don’t want this one to feel dragged out. I’ll finish with saying that I hope Chris and Chester’s music will continue to positively influence the ones who listened and to the ones who will in the future. Below you can find links to songs featuring Chris and Chester that I love.
Rest in power Chis Cornell and Chester Bennington. Be at peace.