CW: Strong themes of suicide

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park died yesterday of an assumed suicide, following the self inflicted death of his friend Chris Cornell of Audioslave in May. I know for many it must be hard to imagine that one can have it all- money, fame, love, family and still want to take your own life, but it happens time and time again. I’ve seen talk on Facebook alleging that it was actually the Illuminati killing off celebrity rockers, one at a time. Wouldn’t that be a significantly easier, more digestible scenario than the actions of two seriously despondent individuals that just couldn’t endure the pain of living anymore. Suicides can be notoriously difficult to come to terms with. They leave so many questions unanswered.  When my friend J took her own life a few years ago, I struggled with those unanswered questions myself. How could this beautiful, smart, mother in her early thirties, that was finally heading in the right direction after years of drug abuse, chose to end it all now, just as her life was turning around? I’ve consoled myself with thoughts that it may have been accidental. It’s easier to come to terms with than the thought she was so desperately unhappy without my ever noticing. I kick myself for not noticing the signs earlier. Were there signs? If there were, I don’t remember seeing them. I knew she was sad and lonely, but she suffered from Depression and feelings like those are par for the course. The last conversation we had was about her books. “At least I’m surrounded by my precious, precious books” she wrote. That’s it. That’s where our conversation ended. It was the last thing she would ever say to me. How heartbreakingly ordinary.

Sometimes I think I see her when I’m out, but inevitably it’s just another thin brunette with a willowy frame walking with her back to me. I still haven’t deleted her number from my phone. I’ve thought about doing it, but it feels too final. I pass an Indian restaurant on my way to the Hospital on Wednesdays, called Biriyani something or other. I can’t help but think of her and the last meal she made ever made for me. I have tiny indented scar on my neck from a zit that went rogue that she tried to squeeze. Every time I run my fingers over the blemish, I think of her look of perverse pleasure as she tried to evacuate it. I thought of her as I packed my Kate Bush albums into storage. I’d put them away to give to her, but she died before I could. I think about her when I see someone roll a cigarette or when I use the handbag I took to her funeral. All these things still bring me a sense of shock when I remember she isn’t amongst us anymore.

My own Psychologist has me under close watch for similar reasons currently. She called today to see how I was doing. At my last appointment on Thursday she told me she’d call in 48 hours to make sure I was still alive. If I hadn’t answered the phone, or the proceeding email she sent, she was going to send an ambulance to my house. She said she’d call again Monday to make sure I was okay. It made me wonder if J had had the same level of care, if she’d still be here today. Would just knowing someone cared enough to follow up have kept her here? Would that phone call have kept her alive? Who’s to say. Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn’t. But I can’t help but wonder.

If you’re feeling suicidal, please tell someone. Your doctor, your partner, your shrink, even the person on the other end at Lifeline. You don’t have to do this all on your own.
There are people who will care. There are people who will make it their mission to keep you alive during your crisis. You can get through this with help, you just need to ask.

If you’re having thoughts of taking your own life, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 within Australia. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Click here for other crisis lines.