I had intended on writing a very different kind of blog post today, if I wrote one at all. Something about movies, music, video games, or some other thing that was bouncing around inside my mind. But then I saw the news of Chester Bennington’s death – one of the Lead Vocalists of world famous rock group Linkin Park – and it gave me pause. I hope it gives you pause too.
“I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong”
– Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park
It’s amazing how quickly the air is sucked out of the room when you hear of the death of anyone you hold above the gray mass of ‘statistics’ that are amassed every year. Anyone famous, infamous, or even someone you only tangentially were aware of.
But especially someone you had a connection with. Artists. Friends. Family.
When they’re gone, it’s a light that’s been turned off in a room that may never be bright again, and certainly not in the same way.
And when you find out that it was the result of the person taking their own life, it’s a heartache that you may never fully heal from. It’s a wound that makes you second guess a million innocent conversations, a thousand events, and every second that you now wish you had done something different in.
It takes something away from you that will never be given back, and in its place is a hole left by a person you never expected to leave. It’s a punch to the gut that you never saw coming, until after you’re doubled over and seeing stars — and suddenly seeing a road map that might have changed, if only you saw the bigger picture. If only you saw the signs. If only you saw the pain.
On average, there are 121 suicides each day.
How could this have happened? How could it have been prevented? How could you have known?
The very nature of a suicide is that you usually won’t know until it’s too late. It’s the abrupt stop on a highway that you can’t always avoid. It’s the crash that changes everything because no one saw it coming.
And maybe there isn’t a ton we can do. Maybe there aren’t obvious visual or vocal signs that we can hear. Maybe even if you know someone intimately, they could still devastate you.
Because the nature of suicide is how personal it is and how empty it is. The nature of ending your life is in deciding it would be easier than facing whatever challenges you have while alive. And those challenges, that emptiness, that difficulty that causes you to rethink everything in life, they’re faced by everyone. In different formats, sure. In different ways, absolutely. And handled differently, by every single person, in every single circumstance.
But some people don’t know how to reach out for help. Some people don’t think they’re worth helping. Some people don’t think others will listen. Some people don’t think others will care if they try to change the course they internally feel they’re heading down. Some don’t think they’re valuable.
0.0001326% – The percentage of people who commit suicide
Men commit suicide at a rate 3.5x higher than women
Every single suicide is a tragedy.
Every single suicide is heartbreaking.
Every single suicide changes everything for someone, often for many.
And every single suicide could be prevented if people knew that they mattered. That they’re valuable. That their struggles are not in vain. That they are meant for something more. That they are worth helping, listening to, and building up. That the world is a better place with them in it and part of it.
You are valuable.
Your struggles are not in vain.
You are worth helping.
You are worth listening to.
You are worth building up.
The world is a better place with you in it.
If you need someone to listen to your struggles, please reach out to someone. Anyone. Reach out to me and I will listen. If you need help, ask. If you feel lonely, then you are simply in between communities — don’t stop moving, you will get to your next place of belonging.
Please don’t ever think you matter less than anyone else.
If you need more information, resources, help, or someone to listen, here are some resources:
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – This is a toll free, 24x7x365 number that will confidentially listen and offer help. Please call if you need help.
- 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) – This is a toll free, 24x7x365 number that will confidentially listen and offer help. Please call if you need help.
This is not something to be ashamed of. Thoughts of suicide surface in many people, but many people seek help. Please be one of them.
It doesn’t matter if you are famous or just another member of society, you matter and you are worth helping.