Sunday, 23 July 2017

Nerd Church - Losing Chester

(Warning: this posts contains discussions of suicide – specifically that of Chester Bennington - mental health problems, and grief; it also mentions addiction problems and child sexual abuse.)

First of all guys, if you need help with mental health stuff, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE IN A BAD PLACE RIGHT NOW, there are links to helplines and resources at the end of this post.

You are valuable, you are valid, and we want you here.

candle pic

The news of the death of Chester Bennington - the lead singer of rock band Linkin Park - was a big and painful shock to his fans.

I cried. And I wasn't the only one.

But people were also a little taken aback by their own reactions to the news.

This comparison thing started to creep into a lot of people's discussions, a metaphorical, 'Why am I acting like this when I didn't personally know him? Especially when I didn't act like this when [person] died, and I knew them.'

Oh my dearest nerdlets, grief doesn't care what you 'should' be feeling. There is no wrong way to grieve.

You feel what you feel. And that's ok.

umbrellas pic

Linkin Park meant a lot to so many people.

And Chester... that voice, those words, that soul. There is nothing wrong with mourning the passing of a star that shone so brightly in life.

Not only that, but mourning for the loss of what could have been.

He was only 41. He had 6 children. His life was only half lived. There is no shame in tears for such a sad loss of so much potential.

Grief is a funny thing, my darlings, it's so many emotions tied into one that you don't even know which way is up.

If it sounds like I'm struggling to make sense in this post, then it's because I'm struggling to make sense in this post.

This subject is so raw, and so muddled in my little Bookish Rebel brain.

But it was important that I talk to you, my dearest nerdlets, because these things should not be avoided. People with mental health problems are not a dirty little secret.

People who die from suicide are killed by their illness.

Chester Bennington was a beautiful person, and for many of his fans he resembled more than just a person. Many people saw themselves reflected in him and his music.

I don't want to draw too many parallels, as one of the risks with the reporting of celebrity suicides is that those who relate to the person may over-identify, creating a risk of imitation.

That's the last thing I want, and I'm sure the last thing Chester would have wanted.

In this case though, Linkin Park fans already felt a kind of kinship with Chester, and I feel like ignoring that would be even more harmful.

We, as fans, connected with him; so we need to mourn him, and to understand why his death has hit us so hard.

Take the lessons from Chester's life rather than his death.

Create art. Pour your raw feelings into music or words or paint on a page. That is the way to honour him.

Please also understand that Chester Bennington was a complex person. He was not one element, and neither was his death.

The suicide of Chris Cornell (another US rock singer,) hit him hard, yes, but it was NOT the only factor.

To say so (as I've seen a lot of media imply over the last few days,) would be doing both of them a huge disservice.

I'm not going to speculate on the reasons behind Chester's death – he was ill, and the factors behind suicide are usually numerous and complex.

If you were a fan of his music, you probably already understand that his life was full of struggle.

He notably had problems with drugs and alcohol from his teen years – if you have any addiction problems my dear nerdlets, there are helpline directories listed below. PLEASE get help.

Chester had also experienced sexual abuse as a child, and sought to help charities which supported survivors. Again, if this is something that affects you, please seek help. This is/was NOT your fault.

If you're struggling with ANYTHING emotionally or mentally my dear nerdlets, PLEASE get help.

There are also suicide prevention and/or mental health helplines you can use.

Don't ignore your feelings, and don't feel ashamed of them.

You are important. You matter. And, my dearest nerdlets, I adore you.

For more information on mental health problems, and mental health in general, please take a look at my post 'Nerd Church - Mental Health 101'


  1. The news of Chester broke my heart. I don't know much about Linkin Park but it still came as such a shock. All we can do is continue to spread messages of love and support to others in need. Love ya, Cee <3

    1. I've been a fan for a long time. And... wow, it hurt!

      Love you too Emily! <3 :)

  2. I recently read a post about the Aaron Hernandez's suicide. I read this blog often because of the blogger writes really well, about relevant topics in which I'm interested. Her post was actually about the Movie Suicide Squad. She says said "it’s not a movie I would ever watch – just because of the name [...] But this isn’t something I take lightly and want to make light of. I don’t think suicide is a word that should be banded about and given to children to roll around in their subconscious.

    So I appreciated her post very much. I thought it was very thoughtful and made me think about the review I posted for that movie [which I loved so I gave it a good review].

    So, I agreed with pretty much with every she said EXCEPT with this part:

    "There’s a quote I use all the time. Everything works out in the end; if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end.
    You have to be patient. If you’re going through a difficult period, just endure. Do your best to change your situation and don’t give up. A person who gives up, also gives up on the opportunity that the situation can change"

    So I HAD to comment this:

    "Feeling suicidal is a concept very hard to grasp when you haven’t experienced it. People often think it’s about losing hope, about having problems you can’t handle. About not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so often people give the 'don’t give up' advice.

    This may help some suicidal people but not all. Suicidal thoughts often have to do with depression. You may have the most wonderful life, with no problems that are overwhelming BUT you are depressed so it doesn’t really matter because the way depression works is that you cannot connect. You can’t connect with this wonderful life that everyone tells u is so worth living. You KNOW it is but u aren’t LIVING it you are watching like a ghost in a horror movie. You are behind a veil unable to participate. The first help suicidal people need is to get their depression under control ASAP. No words of hope will help if depression is not addressed.
    I posted a good review for suicide squad on my blog because I really loved the movie. Now I’m reconsidering. I take mental health topics very seriously and u are right! Not a word to be taken or used lightly so… thank u !"

    So, Cee.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for saying

    1) People with mental health problems are not a dirty little secret.


    2) People who die from suicide are killed by their illness.

    [sorry for the looooog comment!]

    1. I think this is the longest comment I've ever had! Thank you so much for this! (Normally I'm the one leaving epically long comments, lol!)

      I *personally* don't have an issue with the title of the film Suicide Squad, but, having been in that place, I can understand why people would be unhappy about the title.

      I think we need to move away from framing suicide as a selfish action people take when they 'give up.' People have already endured so much, that they really shouldn't be criticised. I've seen a lot of people wondering how Chester Bennington could 'give up' on his kids, but, in his mind (and he was totally WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG but that's the nature of the illness,) they probably would've been better off without him (again, a completely incorrect thought - but mental health problems often lead to completely incorrect thoughts!)

      To your description of depression, I'd add the factor of self-worth. At more than one point in my life, I've felt less worthy than dirt. I've actually cried and felt almost physical pain when someone complimented me and told me how much I meant to them, because in my mind, they were being unbearably nice to someone who didn't deserve it - worse, someone who deserved to be hated, discarded, spat on. I KNOW that those ideas were completely WRONG, but they feel so real at the time...

      And of course, the horrendous constant sadness is something I won't soon forget!

      I'd implore ANYONE to keep going. To stay here, with us. But I'm not going to judge people who haven't. My heart truly breaks for them, and what I don't understand is people who lack the empathy to show some compassion for suicide victims and their families.

      I totally stand by both statements you highlighted - and I'm so glad that you appreciated it! :)

    2. I'm glad my loooong comment didn't bother you :) I loooove your long comments on my blog so please never stop :)
      yes I think I know what you mean. In my worst moment of depression I felt so disconnect from people and life in general that I KNOW I have been perceived as not caring for the people I love. Like not showing enough joy about being with them or their accomplishments so I have experience those feelings of "not being deserving of them and their love" all I can add to your spot on description is that depression is a multi-tentacled beast that hides most of it underneath like an iceberg. So hard to understand what is to be depressed and suicidal unless you have experienced it. So I just want people to understand that yes, you HAVE to tell them to keep going, that you love them. that they are important that they will be missed. BUT that is not going to make it alone, unless the source of the issue is addressed. If you know someone may want to kill themselves. THEY NEED to address the issue urgently [it may be medication, therapy, both combined etc]

      Keep writing this wonderful post PLEASE :) XOXO

    3. Of course, the thing about mental health problems as well is that they're so specific to the person, that often other people can get frustrated that things aren't going the way they're 'supposed' to.

      Totally agree with what you're saying about getting help - I'd also encourage people to use the helplines I've linked to, or, if things are *really* bad, to call an ambulance. It IS a matter of life and death, and you have the right to call for help!

      And I do my best! This blog was born from mental health problems, so I'm never going to ignore the issue. (I really need to learn to go easier on myself though! I honestly thought this post wasn't very good; I'm not saying that as a fish for compliments - I actually thought no-one would like it or read it.)

    4. lol I realized my last sentence didn't make sense. :) I meant to say "keep writing! This is a wonderful post" oh well. this little brain of mine :D there is very good content here on your blog but OF COURSE you won't always feel happy about your posts :) that's human nature ;-)

    5. Ha, no worries, I caught your drift! :)

  3. This is a really important post. I wasn't a Linkin Park fan but I mixed in circles where a lot of my friends were. His suicide is very upsetting, especially as he has children. It's hard to imagine succumbing to those feelings when you have a family that you love (but I know it happens). In my bleakest days it's my children that keep me going.

    I didn't realise he's had such a troubled past, it's terrible he couldn't have had the help that he so desperately needed.

    Thanks for linking up (Jenny from Accidental Hipster Mum)


    1. Thanks for your comment :)

      I know that a lot of people have struggled to understand Chester's death - and that's perfectly OK - but there've also been comments made which put the blame onto him, and/or frame his death as selfish.

      One of the reasons I wrote this post was to explain that things are so much more complex than they can often appear.

  4. I cried when I found out Chester died. I really felt like I lost a good friend who understood me when I was going through some really tough things growing up. It also brought up the feelings I had when I lost a good friend to suicide back in 2010. It made me so angry to see people say he was being selfish and that he should've gotten help. I feel like so many people don't understand mental illness. I had to stop reading the articles on his death because the comments were making me so angry. When my friend died, my family would make comments on how selfish he was to do it. Even if it's been 7 years I still get angry about it. We never know what someone is going through and like you said things are so much more complex on the inside. We don't know a person's thought process. We don't know their struggles.

    I feel like we need to really work on bringing more awareness to mental illness because for some people it seems like they do not understand at all.

    Thank you so much for this post by the way.

    1. You're welcome - thanks so much for your excellent comment.

      People still don't understand mental health and mental illness enough. Chester was not selfish. Your friend was not selfish. The reason they should've had help is for *them* - not for anyone else. And the fact that they didn't get help is more related to the stigma and difficulties of access still surrounding mental health treatments than anything else.

      It's ok to still get angry at people, even though it was 7 years ago. It's ok to be sad about both your friend and Chester. *hugs* <3


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