Today’s society is riddled with depression and there are plenty of reasons as to why someone would want to commit suicide. Depression has become a real problem especially in our generation today seeing teens as young as 11 who don’t know much about life commiting suicide. Depression very often leads to suicide when left untreated. According to David Coombs in “Suicide in the Middle Years”, one reason a person can committ suicide would be an economic downturn like for example losing a job, income, or even using drugs and alcohol to escape feeling depressed. This causes a sense of hopelessness and despair which for some can eventually lead them to believe that their only hope is death. In Linkin Park’s song “Heavy”, lead vocalist Chester Bennington sings about battling depression and battling his own self, his thoughts, and the state of mind he is in. Chester Bennington battled depression and substance abuse for most of his life and on July 20, 2017 he lost that battle when he ended his own life. Bennington before his death became for many fans a role model to look up to for going through depression as many claimed his music helped them get through dark times. But what no one really knew was that he was crying for help. We listened to the songs but never payed attention to what he was saying.
In the beginning of the video for “Heavy”, Chester is shown sitting at the kitchen table with a notepad scribbling across the paper. The first lyric to the song says, “I don’t like my mind right now, stacking up problems that are so unnecessary, wish that I can slow things down I want to let go but there’s comfort in the panic.” You can see how hopeless Chester becomes throughout the video. On the kitchen table you can see there are bottles of liquor. As the video continues, Chester goes to a support group and begins fighting with another man and as that is happening in another scene he is physically fighting his own self. It goes back and forth between both scenes and finally Chester leaves the support group and walks to the restroom where he fights his own self again destroying the restroom. The woman featured in the song and video is also going through the same thing. The video ends with the both of them sitting on the bathroom floor together upset and hopeless not knowing what to do. The scenes from this video really provide what someone with deep depression goes through on a daily basis. The song “Heavy” was from Linkin Park’s final album “One More Light” months before Chester Bennington committed suicide in his own home. The death of Chester Bennington showed so many people in the world that fame and money don’t provide happiness and someone like him can easily hide what they are really going through. Nobody ever expected him to take his own life but his death shed light on depression and what can happen when you don’t get help. Chester helped so many people with his music but was unable to help himself. Another lyric to the song states, “ I’m holding on, why is everything so heavy?” Chester was pleading for help but because he was a person who always smiled and hid behind his fame, nobody really knew what was going on and how bad his depression was. Bennington did receive medical help but even with all that he was unable to get out of his depression.
One of the ways people with depression get led to suicide is through substance abuse and personal family issues like the death of a close loved one. As Chester was a perfect example of this. He used drugs and alcohol for a good majority of his life and lost many people close to his heart which worsened his depression and eventually led him to end his own life. The video clearly shows the alcohol on the table indicating his heavy use of it and contributing to the negative thoughts in his mind. For many going through depression, they believe the use of drugs and alcohol can help ease the pain, but is actually worsening their depression. “Substance abuse is often co-morbid- the risk of suicide is much higher.” (Coombs et al 21). Using drugs and alcohol gives a person with depression a numbness and a sense of comfort. In many interviews with Chester Bennington he was very open about his issues with depression and admits that he had a hard time with life. In the music video you can see Bennington attending a support circle which is showing his attempt at getting help. This is important due to the fact that many people who have a problem are ashamed of getting any kind of help. Bennington throughout the video is struggling with his own self and is telling viewers that depression can attack in any form, whether it’s anxiety, economical, stress, or a sense of hopelessness. All these factors contribute to deep depression and eventually the need to take your own life. Chester’s video hits all sorts of emotions especially sadness and anger. Anger because he is battling his own mind trying to get out of thinking negative thoughts but not knowing how to get there and sadness because he feels empty with no positive solution. The end of the video with both Chester and Kiarra (the woman vocalist who is featured in the song) signifies they never really found a solution and ended with them being stuck in that sad mental pit that drives their depression. We can’t ever really know what one is going through but it doesn’t mean we can’t help. Chester gave many interviews on his depression shedding light on when you should go and seek medical help. His music helped thousands of people understand their own depression and battles and has helped many overcome them. Today’s generation still battles with depression and suicide but there are now many forms of help one can receive. For example, calling the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 which is completely confidential and don’t have to reveal who you are but you are still talking to someone who is willing to listen to everything you are going through. Depression should not be a battle you fight on your own and with more people asking for help, the higher the chance we have to eliminate suicide overall.
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Coombs, David W.,et al. “Suicide in the Middle Years.” Alabama Counseling Association Journal, vol.38, no.2, January 2012, pp.15-31. EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1015923&site=ehost-live
“Depression Explained Perfectly by Chester Bennington (A message for everyone).” Youtube.com, Alex Hefner, Apr. 9,2019, Youtube.com/watch?v=MBnh8yMDxxs&t=73s
“Heavy.” Youtube.com, Linkin Park, March 9, 2017. Youtube.com/watch?v=5dmQ3Wpy1Q
Licinio, J. and Wong M-L. “Launching the War on Mental Illness.” Molecular Psychiatry, vol.19, no.1, Jan. 2014 pp. 1-5. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1038/mp.2013.180