On the morning of July 20th in his home in Los Angeles, the frontman of the band Linkin Park and former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots was found dead; the death was caused by hanging himself in his home. Chester Bennington was 41 years old and was known as a family man who had six kids. Bennington was open about his past drug addiction and abuse as a child. He was molested at age 7 and started using drugs and alcohol at 13. He has always been open about depression and struggling with it.
Linkin Park has always been known for Chester’s songwriting which came from the darkest parts of him. From a song like ‘Heavy’ that has lyrics like “if I just let go I’d be set free” showed people his struggles within. With lyrics like this you may be saying, “How could people have overlooked this?” But after his death, his wife posted a video of Chester and his family a day before his death. In the video they were playing the jelly bean game, “Bean Boozled,” and there was nothing but laughs and smiles. The video, posted on Twitter had the caption, “This is what depression looks like.” This has been found with many people. Chester had been on tour recently and was seen and heard as doing well.
Depression is not always visible. According to fifteen million Americans, 6.7% of them who are 18 and older suffer from depression, not including the 20% of teens that experience depression before they even reach adulthood. This means someone very close to you could be suffering from depression. You probably pass a couple of people in the hallways who are suffering from depression and no, they do not have to be wearing all black and crying.
Depression can be found in the “happiest” person you know who you assume has the perfect life and I don’t mean the word “depression” that people use daily, I mean the medical term “depression”. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.” There is a difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is a normal human emotion that everyone occasionally has, while depression is a mental state that interferes with a person’s ability to do everything. Symptoms of depression include a feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, guilt, loss of interest in activities, fatigue, substance abuse, etc.
Common signs of depression are when a person makes big changes such as cutting their hair, dying it, or getting tattoos or piercings, but not all of these signs necessarily mean someone is depressed. That’s why depression is so hard to understand. Not everyone’s symptoms are the same, not everyone feels exactly the same, and not everyone is suicidal or harms themselves. One of the most common misconceptions about depression is that everyone who is depressed self-harms or wants to die. People that are depressed ARE NORMAL people. People who are depressed also don’t need to go through a traumatic life experience to have depression.Therese Borchard, a mental health writer and activist writes, “Specific events and situations can certainly trigger depression, but the illness is its own separate entity,” meaning that sometimes a traumatic event can cause depression in a person but overall depression is its own separate thing.
The reason people don’t come out and ask for help when they’re depressed is because they don’t want to seem weak or they’re embarrassed. There can be a stigma about the word depressed being related to the mentally insane or crazy people due to people not being informed as to what depression really is and what it means. It also seems like the word “depression” is thrown around a lot in this age as a joke. People have lost sight of what the word really means and how it affects people diagnosed with depression. People also seem to use the word without being diagnosed. Social media sites and apps such as ‘Tumblr’ are known for its dark photos of self-harm scars and talk of suicide. By posting these things, people are romanticizing depression and exposing these things to adolescents who may not realize the extent of how this impacts them. So what can people do to stop this and help people with depression? Well first of all, be understanding. Know that depression can make it hard for a person to connect on a personal level and they may get angry and lash out. Just know it’s their depression and not them. If this happens, don’t be afraid to ask questions such as asking how the person feels every once and awhile. Another thing you can do is get them help by contacting a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist and talk to your loved one about possibly scheduling an appointment with them. There are resources always available to you if you are in need of help such as your school psychologist. Depression is not always visible, so don’t ever overlook it.