Linkin Park “Crawling” and the stigma of suicide

I had a different and brighter post to go on mixing up with the other two I have already posted, but some weeks ago something happened and this topic turned up and I consider important to talk about it. What’s more, I felt pushed to do it, and the drawing came in fact, like a flash a few seconds after listening to the news on the radio.

But first of all I want to apologise for any mistakes appearing in the text because I’m not an English native speaker and I lack a lot of vocabulary. Sorry ;D

Social stigma refers to extreme disapproval of (or discontent with) a person or group based on socially characteristic grounds that are perceived, and serve to distinguish them, from other members of a society

Chester Bennington, Linkin Park singer, had presumably commit suicide the same way Chris Cornell, one of his best friends, two months earlier did. I’m not going to go through the real reasons why they did it, because that is something that only belongs to them. The news on Chris Cornell were so sad to hear that day… he was somebody I would have never expected to do that, precisely because we the fans “knew” about his past issues with a lot of different addictions and we knew, at least me, that this is a daily war they have to undergo in their skin. But he seemed happy, commit to his family and music and it looked like he had in fact got over all those issues, I mean, you could see in his face and colour that he was spreading light around… that’s why his passing in those circumstances make it harder to believe for everybody… (In my humblest opinion, what I think is that he wasn’t himself completely that night, I’ve seen the videos of the concert that night and for me, it was clear he was struggling even physically, he looked weak and his body language was that of a person crumbling from inside, barely holding himself standing with his legs. Something was different to other concerts when he stood in front of the audience with his body completely straight, arms wide open and face and sight facing everybody out of the stage).

I repeat we can never know what happened in their minds, but I can understand that Chris Cornell was very, very important for Chester, and as he stated, he couldn’t imagine here on Earth without him. He also had his own issues which he had been fighting against all throughout his life, and it’s clear that everything turned out unbearable for him lately, and from my perspective, inner pain is a thousand times more painful than something physical, because at least when you break a bone, you know where the pain is coming from, but when is something emotional you don’t have any idea where the origin is and moreover, you can’t see how to stop it. This is so, so sad indeed, and how many people are nowadays struggling with this kind of pain and how underestimated and unknown mental disorders are, is something that saddens me much more.

In this video you can see them both singing together precisely the song “Crawling”. You can tell from their performance they were someway deeply connected, they weren’t just to singers performing. The way both voices couple together perfectly, how they breathe, sing, feel and heal together as one is so moving that I can’t believe they’re gone. And how Chris Cornell unexpectedly appears, with his voice suddenly filling everything with a melody and a tenderness that magically spreads around touching everybody, as if singing were efortless. And how he touches his chest and bones any time he sings ‘wounds’, feeling every word he is pronouncing and singing. He was great. They were awesome.

The day I heard about Chris Cornell’s news I felt a deep sorrow, because of his passing and the loss of what he represented to me as an artist and as a singer. He’s been (with Eddie Vedder who is and always will be the best person, singer and musician) the greatest voice in Rock, and I grew up listening to all of them, learning English through their lyrics and learning to love their music also: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots… I think I first learn about Pearl Jam and after about Chris Cornell when they released the “Hunger Strike” video with “Temple of the dog” here in Spain. I will never forget that moment when I heard Chris’ voice and thought “wt.. who’s this?” and seconds later heard and recognised Eddie’s when he enters with his “I don’t mind…”. Goose bumps. I felt them then and I do it now every time I listen to that song. Or any of his songs. His voice can go through my entire soul and makes me vibrate with emotion. I can’t believe he’s gone yet.

It’s so sad because it’s hard to realise you’ll never listen to his voice caressing your soul as he could do. He was special. His voice was special too. The kind of voice that could change 5 notes in the blink of an eye, or the kind of voice which could do so many different registers and tones in the same song, or the kind of voice which could transmit so many different feelings just whispering… he was an awesome human being. I think that he is the only one, with Eddie Vedder, who’s able to go through my soul when singing, touching places they couldn’t be touched else way. With Chester, his voice wasn’t as powerful as Chris’ but his lyrics were always very real, true and powerful. It’s always a great loss when artists who help us with our lives and struggles through their music are gone. I feel very sad and sorry for them. So so much. And think that we are not going to be able to listen to them again, singing anything new for us is very sad. Because as in “Black hole sun”, “nobody sings like you anymore

Why? Because losing somebody is painful. Losing somebody you admire is more. Losing somebody who also inspires you even harder. But when you realise it was them who decided to go because they couldn’t handle this life anymore… it breaks my heart. Death is an unspoken topic, a taboo for some if you mind, because of the pain it brings and because of the pain that is hidden just not to face it. But for suicide it looks like it is stigmatised and turns out that the person committing it, is the worst kind of person because he or she has yielded those remaining to the pain and suffering of their death and loss. And here comes the debate. As I said before I had another post to go before this one, but when I first heard about Chester’s passing I started listening to and reading comments of people JUDGING his and their decision, “if it was on Chris’ birthday (who died only two months before him), if he was looking for attention just to be the main character, if they are selfish when they do it, if they don’t fight enough for their lives”… and so on.. so after all these thoughts the first thing it came to my mind was: “oh god… people don’t have a clue about what a real depression means and what it is like to be in a fucking deep hole in the ground surrounded by shit” and then, automatically, the drawing you can see in the post came to my mind in a flash, which I tried to represent/draw the best I could. Then came the words: “you crawl in your own skin, you are your own prisoner” and then remembered that in “Crawling”, which Chester wrote, he went saying: “Crawling in my skin, these wounds will never heal…” so I went on the internet to check on the full lyrics just to verify that what he described in this song was exactly what I think it is to be in that black and deep hole inside yourself. This is what came to my mind more or less (I’m not a professional painter or drawing artist):

linkin park crawling cropped.jpg

Being depressed is not only being sad. Having a depression is not only being tired. Not alone wanting to get up. It is not only you don’t like your job or you not being happy with what you have because you want more. It is not anything simple which disappears with a “come on man, you have everything “anyone” would want, just get over it”. NO. A depression is a mental disorder.

(Here I feel I should pause and clarify what a mental disorder is. It is NOT being insane, it’s “simply” a type of situations where your mind doesn’t function or work as it should, due to either emotional or physical causes or both. They can be caused by something as familiar as stress or so unknown and stigmatised as schizophrenia for example. I have quoted “simply” because reality is that it is not that simple, on the contrary, it’s something very complex to solve because as the word states, “mental” is something immaterial and it’s very difficult to physically locate where the problem was set. Not like when you have a pain in your knee and you go to the doctor’s to check on it)

It is not something from the heart. It doesn’t belong to love… doesn’t have any loving features… so to say. It can’t be filled up, it only empties itself. It can’t even be refilled with all the love (from outside) that someone can give you. A depression is being in a deep black hole inside yourself where light can’t come in or go out. Because it doesn’t belong there. You feel yourself stuck in the deepest dump hole of the universe where something very strong, stronger than you, pulls yourself into that pitch black. I tried to show this notion in my first drawing with Pearl Jam “Black”, and it’s even useless to know you have people who love you, a lot, or it doesn’t even matter if you have a good or ordinary job you should be thankful for, and it doesn’t even matter if you are a millionaire who sings songs which help and guide a lot of fans… and it doesn’t matter that externally you look like you have everything or a perfect life, because, all those things despite positive, within you, they don’t sum up, because you-can’t-feel-a-thing.

You feel nothing inside. Positive can’t come in. It is dissolved in darkness. You feel empty. Inert. Dark. You neither can feel your value, what you can give to everybody else nor your love. You believe you don’t deserve being loved, that you don’t deserve anything good happening to you, and what’s worse, you believe you are nothing but a burden to everybody, because you just feel yourself judged and criticised for feeling so unwell. You feel bad for being bad. Then you feel even worse. So that you THINK you’re unworthy, that what you do is unworthy too, that everything surrounding you is a dumb show, where nobody understands nor wants to comprehend everything you feel inside, because it’s not cool, neither interesting, and nobody wants to hear complaints, because this society only rewards “fake” happiness, so that you feel you will never reach those expectations, and every negative THOUGHT is feeding itself and you break in an eternal whirl of blackness which pulls you deep inside to end up seeing everything blacker…

In psychology these are called “disproportionate functionings”. And they are. But notice I used capital letters in “THINK AND THOUGHT”. Your mind makes you BELIEVE those thoughts are real and true. It is then, when your heart stops being objective and recognising your worth as living and human being and is some way it kind of blurs its “power” and it is then when the mind starts riding the vehicle. Let’s say our human body is like a spaceship or like a car which can go places or do things depending on the orders it receives. There can be two different remote controls. One being the brain or mind and the other the heart, passions or intuitions, you can call it what you want.

(The post I thought about before this one is about this, learning how to listen to your heart and let it guide you in your life, stopping your mind control and the fear it brings in our lives. I will deal with this in the next post, through Starsailor’s new song “Listen to your heart”. To get a general idea, just keep this quote: “Your mind makes what your heart desires”. This is directly related to new waves of science as neurology, Neurolinguistics and the famous “Law of attraction” which already stated in ancient times that we could create our own reality, simply thinking and attracting what we felt we really desire. It sounds like an impossible, but research a little into any discoveries in quantum physics lately and you’ll see that science starts accepting this is real.)

What do I want to say with all this? To try to make it clear, on one hand you can be one of those fortunate people who have learned to listen to your heart on your own, following your intuition and then your mind gracefully trusts yourself and consequently, it goes on to serve the machine to get what the heart wants. It can happen. But you really have to desire it. You have to wish it real bad. It’s like a “click” inside. Or, on the other hand, you can be a person who belongs to the broadest percentage of population, who wasn’t taught the fact that, in this life is better not to let your mind ride the control, because if it does it can turn into something dangerous. Why? Because as expected from her, it questions and analyses everything, it makes you doubt your possibilities to do anything and makes you believe you aren’t good enough to do it so you don’t end up doing it. We underestimate it and we don’t realise the power it has, if it can make what the heart desires come true when the heart is in control, it can also make the heart believe that everything she commands is real. And she gets that too. It’s very smart because it’s going to use any little crack to enter and destabilise you, instilling fear and doubt to anything you can think about.

So, this is the reason why we can’t say that a person who has decided to stop living this existence is selfish. We can’t say there’s always another alternative. We can’t say they didn’t think about it. Neither can we say they don’t ponder what they leave here. Nor saying disrespectfully that they are insane people as if suddenly they have lost what made them human beings. They can’t be judged for leaving and saying they didn’t fight for their lives, because they have probably fought tooth and nail every day every second until they couldn’t handle it anymore. No, we can’t say things like these. Due to respect. And due to the fact that nobody can’t get inside anybody’s minds to check what they were feeling, but you know, sometimes I wish some of you could make it just for… let’s say barely 20 seconds of an intense agony and deep pain which pull your soul towards an endless abyss where you can’t breathe and the only thing you feel is the weight of the damn whole universe ON you… PRESSURE.PULLING. PUSHING. WEIGHT. SUFFOCATION. So imagine LIVING with that days, months and years. Ask yourselves what it would be you had to feel as the most extreme feeling in this life that which lead you to question your own existence and life in this planet and the truly conclusion you’ll arrive to would be that the ONLY, not the BEST, the ONLY choice possible, is stop existing/living. When you find something to put you there I’ll tell you that it is not close at all to what reality is for them.

DECIDING to stop existing is not taken from one second to the next, it’s pondered and thought about a lot. It is not like saying: “mmm… I feel like taking a nap” and go to the lay in the sofa… remember what James Rhodes said in his book about suicide that you can also check on the previous post about him.

 “I didn’t sleep. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t eat. Couldn’t talk. Properly ‘on the bed prostrate, eyes glazed over, head hot, fucked’. And when you’re like that you have finally reached the point where you don’t care any more. There is simply no deeper level of self-hatred and shame you can go to. You’re at the bottom and everything falls apart. It is at once exhilarating, freeing and excruciating. It felt like the link inside me that was holding everything together had just snapped – as if any semblance of doing the right thing, being a decent person, had been swept away in a wave of gigantic indifference”.

James Rhodes “Instrumental” – Pg 133

“When you’re in there, when you feel yourself choking on that shit and everything seems so real, you can’t see things with perspective. In depression, trauma, PTSD, as you wish to call it, there is no space for reality. My world had fallen apart and there was only room for me, my delusions and my ego. There was no other option than leaving this world. One of the most dangerous misunderstandings about suicide is that nobody knows that, for those contemplating it, it is almost always an absolutely acceptable choice ”.

James Rhodes “Instrumental” – Pg 144

Some of you know what happened to me, in the surface, you know about the story and that’s all. Others know I felt bad. Others asked and others didn’t want to do it “just if” and others I know you also judged me as exaggerating… and everything is ok, every person makes what they consider the best according to what they know and can handle. I can say that just my mother and a couple of friends know that I felt really bad… and my therapist hahaha. Jokes apart I reached rock bottom. I’m never going to get tired of saying that the pain is unbearable… it is a different pain to any kind of pain you’ve felt before… It’s the pain of having lost yourself, of not finding any sense to have to live your life sharing space together with that pain. I’ll try to explain it better another day but I believe nobody can be able to know what it is like unless you have felt it first-hand. It is like being gutted from the inside and something pulls and pulls, and at once tries to get rid of the pulling and tries to escape pushing out. It is like being trapped in a tiny black hole and you fight to leave it but you can’t see the exit door. And nobody helps you because it’s just you who can help yourself and guide you to the exit. But you see nothing. It sucks.

I was really lucky… I tried to go out from there on my own but couldn’t. I never asked for help nor I said to anyone how badly I felt. Day after day following routines forcing yourself to wake up to go on living pretending you’re fine but crying both when going and coming back from work. Adding tons of obligations and responsibilities not to THINK. Crying in silent corners when nobody sees. Crying dried tears, exhausted and sold out after hours of being waterfalling. Those close to me could see me that bad a couple of times when I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. Explosion after containtment. The week I considered more than twice that I couldn’t stand it anymore, that it was worthless living this life here and this way I realised that things weren’t going ok, so I asked for help. I had a cousin who was in the same situation as me but he couldn’t get over it. What he got instead was his longed peace and rest forever. But I wanted to try one last time, although accepting help for the first time in my life and feeling myself useless again made me embarrassed about myself much more, this was the mind, and with tons of help I’m still here (as in Pearl Jam song), and if life allows me to be for long, I will appreciate every single day it gives me from now. Because now I WANT TO HOLD ON. I chose life.

In Linkin Park song “Crawling” he (it was Chester Bennington who wrote it) exactly describes, to a T, what is like and how it feels to be inside there, falling in the black hole pulled both by your own pain and that self distorted dark lifeless idea about yourself. The song goes like this:

Crawling in my skin

These wounds, they will not heal

Fear is how I fall

Confusing what is real

There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface

Consuming, confusing

This lack of self control I fear is never ending

Controlling

I can’t seem

To find myself again

My walls are closing in

(Without a sense of confidence I’m convinced

That there’s just too much pressure to take)

I’ve felt this way before

So insecure

Crawling in my skin

These wounds, they will not heal

Fear is how I fall

Confusing what is real

Discomfort, endlessly has pulled itself upon me

Distracting, reacting

Against my will I stand beside my own reflection

It’s haunting how I can’t seem

To find myself again

My walls are closing in

(Without a sense of confidence I’m convinced

That there’s just too much pressure to take)

I’ve felt this way before

So insecure

Crawling in my skin

These wounds, they will not heal

Fear is how I fall

Confusing what is real

Crawling in my skin

These wounds, they will not heal

Fear is how I fall

Confusing, confusing what is real

There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface

Consuming (confusing what is real)

This lack of self control I fear is never ending

Controlling (confusing what is real)

 

If it isn’t clear enough what it is like to be there so two plus two ain’t four. You feel you can’t control your own life. You can’t stop negative thoughts about yourself. Anxiety attacks where you physically feel something pulling your guts and pushes from inside and you can’t breathe. You look at yourself in the mirror and can’t recognise that face and you see your body as if it wasn’t yours. And you neither can feel it. And this feeling is overwhelming… it is as being a stone. As if your ability to love or being able to feel anything again had been removed from your body. You aren’t a living being anymore. And the worse comes when you don’t trust yourself anymore. Self-less confidence. You fall hard. I tried to explain through the drawing the feeling beneath the words, the pain and the suffering. Check it back. Not everything is just beautiful in this life. Neither simple. Nor easy. But not only because you can’t feel or know about it, because you haven’t felt anything similar in your lives, means it’s not real for somebody else out there. And reality is shaped by our brain and mind and what they believe is real. Negating this would be like telling a person with the 90% of the body burned in a fire, who comes looking for help saying: “this is really painful, can you help me?” to go on and get over it. Simple as that.

If it can be felt it is real. Invisible things DO exist.

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