Sunday, July 23, 2017

Linkin Park

Hello My Lovelies,

I am sad that Chester Bennington from Linkin Park committed Suicide.

Until I was in college, I was only listening to boy bands and bubble gum music. Up until that point, I went to Christian schools, and I had lived a very sheltered life in a bubble (actually a CULT, but "bubble" sounds cuter), and had very little experience with the real world.

When I went to college and lived on campus, I was dealing with campus life, a full course load, and two jobs. I had a full schedule, and untreated anxiety and depression that was beginning to surface, that I still hadn't identified. What I mean by that, is growing up anxiety and depression didn't exist. Anxiety and depression were signs from the Devil and I needed to be more positive and pray more, and worship the leader of our cult more.  So the stronger the symptoms got, the more worked up I became, thinking I was going to the dark side. I never thought to reach out to mental health professionals, because I was taught that was a sign of weakness and that I had no control over myself. So I managed to bury my feelings for a while until I broke down.

I didn't have a TV moment breakdown where I screamed at everyone, or became violent, and I didn't need to be restrained. Instead, it started out with me waking up feeling completely miserable and being unable to eat. I went to the cafeteria for breakfast and ate a large breakfast. I knew I would need to eat a lot for a while since I wasn't hungry and didn't want to eat again for the rest of the day. Eating that meal was torture and it took a while, but I got through it.

As I was leaving the cafeteria, my stomach hurt, and I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I rushed to the grass and threw up everything I had just ate, and I do mean everything. One of my dormmates saw me, and was really worried. I convinced him I was okay and went to my room and lied down on my bed. I started to feel so much pain in my chest and body, and I knew that I wasn't going to accomplish much that day. I had no other choice than to reach out to the health center on campus, and thank GOD they were there.

At that point, I began to cry and the student nurse was very understanding. This was the first time I was reacting so strongly, I had no control over what was happening, and I was scared. I also had a full courseload and didn't know I was going to manage. I was scared I was going to starve myself by not eating. He looked at me with compassion in his eyes and said that my body won't let me starve, it will force me to want to eat. He also said that I could get medically excused and drop my classes and take time off (virtually impossible otherwise), and I could see the school psychiatrist. I was scared to see a psychiatrist, but I took the appointment, I had to so I could get excused from my classes.

Although I didn't like the psychiatrist I saw (I am pretty sure it was mutual), I did drop a class and retook it over the winter. I got my first prescription filled, took one dosage, and because I didn't feel better that day, mistakenly thought it wasn't working and stopped taking the rest of it.

But nevertheless, I did manage to get better and discovered bellydance a few months later, which helped keep a lot of symptoms at bay.

During this time, I discovered alternative music, such as Linkin Park, Puddle of Mudd, System of a Down, 311, Nirvana and Papa Roach just to name a few. Linkin Park was by far my favorite and I watched all of their music videos. Chester screaming got me through a lot of study sessions at the library (headphones of course), and helped me realize that many of us are "crazy" and fighting our own battles.

Keep in mind that though my battle with anxiety and depression didn't get easier after this point,  it was a starting point, in realizing that I had a problem, and I couldn't ignore my feelings or surpress them any longer. Of course I tried,  and my journey has never been linear, but at least I have gotten better over time.

Linkin Park got me through college, and was there for me again when I left the cult for good.

It is really easy to condemn Chester Bennington for killing himself, especially since he left his wife, children, band and fans hanging. I don't agree with what he did, but I don't condemn him either because it is a really rough place to be in.

It is really controversial to talk about this, because unless you come out blatantly condemning suicide and the people who took their own lives, people will view you as supporting it.

I do not support it, and I want to live. I am thankful to be alive every day. When I was in the cult and wrote to the leader about my depression and how I felt there was no joy in my life, and what is the point of living, she took an active role in telling others I was suicidal and wanted to kill myself. That's false, I will fight for my life if I have to.

But on the other hand, experiencing my own prison of mental illness, and knowing it's far worse for others, I can see why some people see death as the only way out. That is because things have gotten so unbearable for them, they may have messed up and made poor decisions, and they don't think anyone could forgive them or understand.

Depression is different for everyone, but when I was experiencing the worst of it, there was no joy in my life, it was a fight to just even try to enjoy anything. Getting up and functioning was so exhausting, I remember once while I was showering, shampooing my hair was so much work, I didn't even finish the job and condition my hair because I couldn't muster up the patience to finish the job. I then got out of the shower and laid on the floor for another hour.

Depression for me came as a fog, arrived when I least expected it and just clouded my brain. Sometimes it left, but it always returned.

If you are reading this and suffer from mental illness, I do get it. I may not know your circumstances, I may not have the same symptoms as you, but I do understand. Keep on going. Live your live minute to minute, second to second, and don't be afraid to reach out to someone. I am happy you are still in this world.

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