I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter…
These are lyrics from the song “In the End” by Linkin Park, fronted by the late Chester Bennington who took his own life this past July 20th. Since then, his name has been on many lips, websites, and social media pages as people try to cope with his death. It harkens back to the suicides of musician Chris Cornell (just this past May), comedian and actor Robin Williams (2014), and musician Kurt Cobain (1994) when the world seemed in shock and unable to make sense of these losses.
The big question that always lingers is “Why?” On the surface, these folks seemed to have it all: fame, money, fans, family, public adoration. So, what would go through their heads to make them take their own lives?
The answer: we don’t know.
We can never know for sure what someone’s thoughts and feelings are when they consider suicide. They likely have to do with unbearable pain, hopelessness, isolation, and wanting an escape, but again, we can’t be inside their heads to be certain.
What we do know is that each of these celebrities, and indeed others, were dealing with things that challenge the impression of their “perfect” lives. In Chester’s case, he had talked openly about experiencing addiction, depression, and sexual abuse and shared that there had been times he didn’t want to be in the world. And that being a famous musician didn’t take all of this pain and trauma away – he was still a person dealing with incredibly heavy things.
So, what can we take from these tragic losses?
Outside Doesn’t Equal Inside
How someone’s life looks on the surface may not reflect what they are actually thinking and feeling. A great job, family, and other things we all covet may not mean that someone is actually happy and hopeful on the inside.
The Past Isn’t Always in the Past
It may seem like better days are ahead when someone is in recovery from addiction or seems to have resolved past trauma. But there can still be struggles, relapses and difficulty coping. Pain runs deep and won’t just disappear never to be felt again.
Suicide Doesn’t Discriminate
It can truly affect anyone. We’d like to think that Chester, with all of his resources and so much talent to share, would have gotten what he needed to stay in the world. But, as his lyrics tell us, when struggles and hopelessness become unbearable, it may be that “In the end, it doesn’t even matter”.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs support, call our 24/7 COAST Crisis Line at 1-877-825-9011. We also provide training for you to learn more about mental health and addictions and how you can help others. Call us at 1-877-693-4270 and ask about the Mental Health First Aid course and other workshops.