The Stigma Of Mental Health

By Anonymous

Society is really confusing, and self destructive in so many ways. Yesterday I was having a frustrating conversation with a coworker and then rehashed it with a good friend last night, and the topic just ate at me all I just wanted to share my experience and hopefully something will stick or at least cause a moment of pause in situations moving forward. I feel this is very important to bring to the surface. I may be long, but it's important to me so oh well. 

Last week I experienced a tragic, unexpected and hurtful loss in the suicide of my old friend Chester Bennington. It was a raw hit and messed me all up for couple days. There were unresolved issues there and its really torn at me in the past few days, and the news of his passing crushed my heart. His influence in my life was loving AND I was in the midst of an ugly drug addiction and he did not condone that at all and forced me into NA when I was 15 to get cleaned up (It didn't work by the way, at that time). He was a big support in mine and my brother's musical careers (even taking my brother on tour with him on 3 tours), and he was a big advocate for me in my child advocacy work following the release of my book as we had similar backgrounds. 

A few days prior to Chester's passing another one of my friends, Aaron Carter, was arrested for DUI and possession and his story was plastered all over the news. When I came on social media those who knew of my connection to both men were constantly tagging me in articles, posting them to my wall or in-boxing them to me, or blowing up my phone with texts. It was hurtful, for one, to get the constant reminder and speculation about Chester over and over again every time I logged into social media. But something stuck with me in the midst of this tragedy and the situation that Aaron Carter is in.

I've seen people say (in regards to Chester's death) "If only he had somebody to talk to", "RIP, mental health is real", "We will miss you" etc...people literally posting suicide hotlines on social media encouraging those struggling to reach out for help. Even such things as "call me if you feel like this or that". The media remembering the life of Chester Bennington and speculating on what was the factor (and I'm sure there were many). IN THE SAME we have Aaron Carter, who CLEARLY is struggling with mental health issues and the media and society (even some of my friends) are dragging this guy through the mud. Somebody tagged me in a news segment where he is legitimately crying...pleading for people to be kind to him and to understand him. How sad is that? Really. He's not a bad guy. I've worked with him extensively via Sony and have spent a considerable amount of time over the past couple of years writing music with him...and he really isn't as fucked up as the media claims him to be. 

The same news outlets honoring Chester Bennington are also ripping Aaron Carter to shreds and then wonder "why do people kill themselves?" "If they only had somebody to talk to", "If only we took the time to notice the signs". And if, heaven forbid, Aaron DID take his own life...would these same media outlets then show an outpouring of love and support? Most likely. Why not help those here around us NOW? Why wait until they make the decision to end their lives? We all need a little support and just experiencing both of these situations so closely to each other and so publicly has opened my eyes to how we as a society are killing each other and then weeping in loss. Somebody told me I need to stop trying to save the world, but I can't. I know I am one person, but this stuff really eats at me. 

With all of this said, I deeply am saddened by the loss of Chester, indescribably sad...but I am equally on board and willing to support and help Aaron as a human being who is hurting beyond measure, regardless of his wrongs or rights. So I just encourage you to be aware and mindful of your part in situations as these. People's lives aren't a joke...and we can't just keep missing them once they're gone. I can't take anybody seriously who can praise someone once they die and then mock the suffering still among us.