In the wake of Chester Bennington’s death, many of us are overwhelmed and confused. The sadness and grief we’re hearing from our friends and loved ones who felt a connection with Linkin Park’s frontman is overwhelming. Those who never expressed their personal suicidal history before are expressing it now and it’s been truly eye-opening. When Chester Bennington committed suicide, he left behind six children, a wife, and millions of fans who are all struggling with their grief now. Same with Chris Cornell when he passed away back in May. And Robin Williams? Will any of us truly be able to move past losing Robin? I’m not sure.
As someone who has experienced deep depression and suicidal ideation my entire life, I see this grieving from both sides. I understand the sadness and the anger felt by those who survive…and I understand the absolute determination felt by those who die. Every year in the US, 30,000 people die by their own hands, by their own will, and if you don’t take anything away from that, please understand this one thing: committing suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.
Committing Suicide Is The Most Selfish Thing A Person Can Do
When we think of selfish, we see it as a bad thing. The child who won’t share their toy. The spouse who is stingy with their affection. The millionaire who kicks dirt in the face of a homeless man as he walks past. But selfish isn’t so one-dimensional, and that’s something I wish people understood.
Chester Bennington suffered every day of his life. I can tell you that from first hand experience because, like I said, I have been there. And even though I’m sure he felt great moments of great joy, he also experienced an unfathomable amount of time where he simply could not find peace.
And if he’d been more selfish in his life, he would not have needed to be selfish in his death.
To commit suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness in the face of a world that always wants to take a piece of us. It’s the one time a person who is suicidal looks at their existence and truly puts themselves first.
Do we like it? Absolutely not.
Is there anything okay about committing suicide? That can, unfortunately, only be answered by those who commit it.
Do we wish people who commit suicide would have reached out for help? Absolutely.
Like I said, if they had been more selfish in life, they wouldn’t have needed to be selfish in death. And that’s where we come in. Chris Cornell, Chester, Robin, one of the things they all had in common is that they told us they were dying inside in a million different ways. Through their music, their interviews, through the moments of pain we saw in their eyes.
And for whatever reason, they didn’t feel as if they could put their burden on those around them. They felt they couldn’t be selfish in asking for help.
So if there is any big takeaway, it’s this: for those we love, for those we see who are struggling, for those who aren’t selfish enough to ask for help…we need to stand up for them.
We all know people like this. People we know are struggling with depression, but we don’t want to push ourselves on them.
We need to push anyway.
Suicide is selfish, but our desire to keep those who are suicidal with us needs to be just as selfish. If you see someone struggling, hurting, wearing a smile that doesn’t reach their eyes…please don’t wait until they’re gone to act. Help them find help before they reach a point where help is no longer an option.
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