When Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington took his life a few months ago, the loss was palpable. One of the unfortunate by products of his loss is that he has become one of the faces of mental illness.
His widow, Talinda Bennington, recently shared photos of her husband that were taken just days before he left this world. Without knowing anything about him, one might guess that based on the pictures, Chester was a man who was content, even happy with his lot. He had a successful marriage, happy children and a music career that many can only dream of.
But pictures and smiles can be deceiving. Living with depression and mental illness does not mean that someone is spending their day lying around, mindlessly watching television or staring at the wall. For some, living with mental illness and depression means finding whatever it is within ourselves to get up and do what needs to be done while fighting the urge to say f*ck it and lay in bed all day.
Underneath the smile is an ocean of dark emotions with dangerous creatures whose sharp teeth threaten to pull us down to the murky depths at any moment. Somehow, we want to find a way to swim to shore, but the ocean and her inhabitants keep us in the water.
I wish I could swim free, but it seems like the more I swim, the more I tread water and the farther away the shore feels.