and living with the black dog.
Yesterday morning, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide. I never knew him personally, but I am sure millions of people will agree that Linkin Park’s music touched our lives in some way. I am sure their music helped countless people wade through deep waters when they felt like their heads were just above, struggling to keep it up with every gasping breath.
Music has a fascinating thing about it, doesn’t it? It has such a huge impact on our lives. We associate music to our memories, to what we were going through in our lives at the time of listening to it. We turn to music because we relate to it. It moves us, inspires us, and helps us navigate the darkness. It can even save lives because it makes us feel like we’re not alone.
When I read this news, and kept turning it over in my mind again and again, I couldn’t help but feel the tears well in my eyes, I couldn’t help but feel the pit in my stomach, the choke in my throat. Because even though I didn’t know him personally, I can relate to what it’s like to struggle mentally and emotionally. I can relate to feeling like there’s a heavy shadow casting over, that doesn’t ever truly disappear.
It makes me remember the times where the tidal wave of depression would hit at its worst. The times where I’d inflict pain on myself with razor blades in hopes to relieve the emotional despair. It reminds me of the times I’d just sit alone, listening to their music, to Disturbed’s music, to countless other bands that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It reminds me of the times when in desperation, I’d turn to drinking.
Depression, cutting, self-medicating….suicide.
These are all serious and are not simply bouts of sadness or phases someone will
Over the years I’ve known dozens of people who struggle with depression.
Several of them are gone now, having ended their own lives as well.
Suicide is heartbreaking- but it is real. It’s not something to take lightly or dismiss.
I needed to write this post today to spread awareness, and hopefully help someone.
Here’s the thing. I am a personal trainer, yoga teacher, health and lifestyle coach who constantly educates on how to be physically and mentally strong. And I also live with depression and anxiety. There have been times in the past where it has been debilitating. Times where I’ve contemplated suicide, but thank the gods did not attempt to act on it. However. there are many people who do, and many people who succeed.
Long ago before my career had even been a mere idea, I dealt with the depression by inflicting pain on myself, then pretended like everything was okay and kept it hidden. In the past there were times where I resorted to drinking.
After building my career in health and fitness, I no longer self-inflicted pain or self-medicated, but the depression was still there. Sometimes it was too hard to even get out of bed. Times where I easily slept for over 12 hours, got up to eat, then slept for 5 hours immediately after. Times where it was too exhausting to even shower, let alone write any health and fitness articles.
I felt shame for a long time around having depression once I got into the fitness industry. I told myself it was contradictory to write and teach others how to get healthy, if I was struggling. I told myself that depression is a first world problem, where it’s a luxury to wallow in our privileged misery. I told myself ‘I just needed to stop being sad.’
(Even though depression isn’t sadness.) I caused myself more suffering with these untrue, debilitating thoughts.
They certainly did not make the depression go away, they absolutely made it worse. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of shame associated with depression.
Once I told myself I needed to be open about it, that it wasn’t contradictory or wrong, things started to change.
Even if I didn’t 100% believe it at first, I realized I could in fact help someone else by telling my story. To hopefully bring awareness to the hard reality of depression and suicide.
And that’s why we do this, right? To help people. It’s something we can’t not do.
But…the black dog is still there. The shadow still hangs above. For me it comes and goes in waves, waves that can last for months on end for better or worse.
Something Chester has solidified in me today, is how huge of an impact we can have on someone’s life without ever actually meeting them. Millions of people mourn his death, the loss of a great person who influenced so many. His suicide shows that this really can happen to anyone, and drives home the seriousness of depression, the seriousness of those who contemplate and commit suicide.
Whether we’re musicians, coaches, fitness professionals, public figures… we show up and provide to people that we don’t even know. We have the ability to teach others how to live healthier lives, how to do the best they can. We create communities and supportive environments. People look up to us.
Our job is important.
If you’re reading this, I want you to know that when you struggle, and when all seems lost, that it isn’t.
I want you to know that even if depression doesn’t ever disappear, that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. That when you talk about it, and seek support, you can develop resilience and get stronger.
I want you to know that if you’re struggling,
That you are not alone.
In memory of Chester Bennington.
Source: New feed