The Linkin Park Guy…

He’s no more. I never knew him as Chester Bennington, so when my sister told me he’s dead I didn’t recognise the name… “Crawling in my skin?” I asked, “Yes,” she confirmed. I stood in silence for a moment.

There is so much energy in that one song ‘Crawling’, from his singing. I can remember him performing it on the TOTP chart show back in the day, and in the video. I have that album in my collection and I still listen to it from time to time. ‘In the End’ is another favourite. More recently ‘New Divide’ from the Transformers movie.

Cause of death? Apparently suicide. Supposedly he has always battled with depression; you can kind of relate that to the music, the lyrics and the style, although you could never assume that such an ending would come from that.

I’ve always wanted to live to a ripe old age, looking after my health to help ensure I achieve that; regular exercise and a healthy diet. But mental health is a tricky one; you can’t really have one without the other, it turns out; if you don’t look after yourself physically then mentally you’d probably be a mess. And for people who are “a mess”, as they might explain to me, I would, as tactfully as possible, question their diet and exercise first. Healthy body and healthy mind.

Depression is such a viscous spiral though. I’m not without my down days, which seem to swing round both at random and as regular occurrences as the phases of the moon. Of course I listen to my own advice and call into question my own diet and exercise; have I missed my daily apple?

Living on my own, some might assume through choice, I think partly yes, but partly through circumstance, maybe even through my down days and the inward thinking they cause, all this can leave me alone to my own devices with only my own will to question those extra cups of anxiety-inducing coffee, that I believe will give me reason to regret later, but… “just for a pick-me-up…”

I think about how type-2 diabetes could perhaps not only be an eating disorder, but a depression-fuelled one at that, with sugar-filled foods sought to act as a dopamine kick because something else is lacking. Binge eating is often a sign of depression. Other addictions could be brought up here also.

To ask the question: “What kind of person chooses to end their own life?” Firstly I would question if it would feel like a choice; something within must spiral out of control, and probably repeatedly, but the obvious answer is: an unhappy person. That unhappiness can be hidden deep within too.

As millions of other people will be, I’m sure, I turned to Youtube for something about Chester Bennington that might bring a little light. I never knew him other than from his singing with Linkin Park; but I had an inkling there was more to him; after all, you really only get lyrics like that from a deep thinker, and his singing and style, with all that energy, was his form of articulation. You could be forgiven for thinking here was a young man full of anger, if Crawling was your point of reference, again my inkling said not. Many ‘new’ videos have been hurriedly [re]uploaded following the news, so I scrolled down the list of ‘interviews’ I had called forth, and found a video of a casual and self-imposed ‘Q&A’ session.

Here I found a funny and sensitive guy who was a pleasure to listen to; almost shy in front of the webcam it seemed, I can totally relate to these things, but which is perhaps odd for someone who has performed on stage in front of millions. He liked watching sport and TV though, and that’s not me, and I don’t have kids (the poor kids) – he seemed like such a loving dad. Other musical artists have surprised me and impressed me with their depth of thinking when if you take their work at face value you might think less of them: Marilyn Manson and Eminem are two I think of here. The way Chester said he was reading the questions to himself first, in a voice other than his own, and whistle to himself through his teeth; I do these things.

9 minutes into the 38 minute video and Chester answers a question which could be related to the topic of depression: “What usually inspires you when you write songs?” His answer:

Life throws a lot of things at you … Life never leaves you with a stretch of time where there’s nothing really going on… right when you think you’ve got it all figured out and everything’s good, it just comes and kicks you right in the nuts, and every time you think it can’t get any worse, and that life sucks, and it’s never going to get better, all of a sudden the sun comes-a-shining. So, you know, wake up; that’s all you have to do to get inspired to write a song.

Life is a song we write.

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