How Chester Bennington and Linkin Park Helped Me Get Through a Tough Teenage Period

Death is such a strange wish to have. I have wished death upon me so many times that I have lost count. But the worst part is that I have wished death upon others. Not in a malignant way though, more like in a thought out way. I have analyzed other people’s hypothetical death. How would it relieve them of the troubles they have? What would they leave behind and what conversations would follow? Would people now think after they are gone that they really meant to take their life when they said they don’t want to live anymore? They are tired. Really, really tired. And continuing to wake up and go through the day till the sleep comes and brings along the nightmares and memories of the days and things that they have put all their energies into forgetting seems so meaningless.

I was in high school, still struggling with my sexuality when my friend introduced me to English music. I heard a really hot guy screaming, ‘Crawling in my skin/ these wounds will never heal’. And I fell in love. This man was singing what I was feeling and he was so raw, so real. So when seven years later scrolling through Facebook I came across the news of his death, it was not much of a shock. I felt like this was coming. And maybe, this is how it was supposed to end. I knew he was suffering from depression and had suicidal thoughts. I knew like I know almost all of us who are suffering from depression will one day kill ourselves that this was supposed to happen.

Chester Bennington helped me get through that tough teenage period which knew of abuse and self-denial and hardly of love. Hearing someone acknowledge that, acknowledge the pain told me I was not alone. This pain is not something I have made up. It exists. And it consumes the best of us. To be validated thus was not exactly a life-saving experience but yes, a part of that nonetheless. Chester Bennington was a long time crush and his death has taken away a part of me that I didn’t even know I had. His music, his words spoke so confrontationally that I was always left fascinated and understood.

I came out a year ago. And until then I had no support mechanism. No one I could really talk to about my sexuality. And of the very few things that helped me through those tough years, one was Linkin Park. Hearing Chester made me feel validated. His words became the expression of my thoughts or vice versa or something in between. That part I will always be unsure of.

For past few days I have been hearing Ishmeet Nagpaul’s “Before You Commit Suicide” on sort of a loop and at one point she says, ‘Or the songs you planned to sing. Or the art you meant to create/ on the days, you know/ all the art and beauty in the world is not going to save you…’ so though nothing could save him and nothing most probably will save any of us because death is just a side effect of depression, we will try to live as long as possible. We will hold on as long as possible. We will hope against hope that love will not leave us or ruin us and that we will be able to sleep for once without the nightmares. And as long as we live we will keep shouting, even if it’s in the void, ‘I’ll face myself to cross out what I’ve become/ Erase myself/ And let go of what I’ve done.’