The Muted health

Raphy Islam pays a tribute to singer Chester Bennington 

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A few days ago, one of my very close friends called at 2:00AM and asked, ‘Have you heard the news?’ I joked, ‘Who died?’ She took a few seconds. I understood she was in tears but trying her utmost to not make a sound lest I hear it. She wasn’t believing me. ‘Haven’t you been on Facebook?’ she asked again. ‘No, tell me,’ I replied impatiently, figuring something serious had happened. In a cold voice she muttered, ‘Chester is dead’.

I was overwhelmed by shock. We said nothing for a couple of minutes. We tried to speak to each other for the next two hours but it went nowhere.

For those who have never heard of Chester, he was the vocalist of an American band named Linkin Park, for almost two decades. They are immensely popular even outside the USA for various reasons, the most distinguished one being able to put the right amount of hollowness and angst of not fitting in. They were the voice of the teenage generation who were left behind. During their teens, so many people found solace in their music.

As a fan of words, I was profoundly impressed by their lyrical presentation. Chester’s voice spoke directly with the melody as well as at a high pitch.

Going back to the incident, I told my friend the story of how I was introduced to Linkin Park and she shared how she had to wait for weeks to listen to a Linkin Park song as recordings and Walkman audios were not readily available back then. She used to write down the lyrics and find out from the dictionary what each word meant.

I can still relate with her as whenever I hear the word ‘numb’ in any conversation I immediately think of Linkin Park as I learnt the word and the meaning because of them. In our long conversation, we tried not to talk about the death but still it felt hollow. We were still internalising that Chester had committed suicide.

I usually spend a lot of time thinking and writing about issues. Mental health is one of them. Recently I presumed that one of my teachers may be bipolar and that concerned me.

As a person of the obese category, I’ve been fervently told that health is wealth. Health has been and will continue to be a big concern in people’s lives. However, most people forget to take care of one side of their health- the health that is not weighed on scale or measured in heights.

First of all let’s make this loud and clear. Chester didn’t commit a crime in the place he was residing in, which is California, USA. So, he chose his death. He did not ‘commit’ suicide. Secondly, it’s a mental health issue and not a religious one.

Having said that, we have to understand, mental health is as complicated as neurosurgery. The causes and effects of mental health issues remain unseen. So, the idea that ‘it’s not as important as physical healing’ is rather lame. Also, the path to recovery is a lengthy process, so people need to be patient.

Do we blame someone if they get cancer? Then, why do we shame the people who suffer from depression? It’s not cared for, frowned upon and the extreme effect, suicide, is seen as a taboo due to the stigmas attached to it.

Mental health issues can be treated like other physical diseases. But our approach and acceptability of these matters have to change for the effective treatment. If you have a problem in your body, you feel the pain. But do you feel mental pain? Individuals need to assess whether they are handling it right.

Additionally, there are signs of depressions such as reclusiveness, withdrawn from conversations, sleeping hazards and tiredness. These are the signs but in particular cases, there are more subtle issues.

Being suicidal is a concerning mental health issue which intensifies with time. Open discussions are needed to address the severity of mental problems and how adequate measures can be acquired.

***

Surviving in this world is a tough task. Surviving with flying colors is tougher. As a result, kids these days are bred and grown up with insane pressure to pursue things and become success stories. The pressures of different stages alone can become the highest contributing factor for counting life as a disgrace instead of a blessing. In our country there is a dedicated service called Kaan Pete Roi who assist those in need of the care.

Let’s not lose a life over something that is preventable. Every day in our country, so many people chose the option of ending their life for this reason or that. We must try to look after those around us. A little conversation can help a lot. Let’s replace cynicism with kindness.

The human nature is spectacularly fascinating. We don’t even realise that there are people out there who have made a lasting impression on us by something they have written as an afterthought or painted a picture of agony or expressed their anger in lyrical music. When this happens, most people exhale a sigh of relief. They feel, ‘I’m not the only person with these things in mind’.

As a kind of an introvert, I rely heavily on music & movies. Somewhere some spoken words and some tune form a deep-rooted bond that becomes irreplaceable. I had that kind of relation with Linkin Park. To conclude, I want to borrow a few lines from them-

‘Who cares if one more light goes out

In the sky of a million stars

It flickers, flickers

Who cares when someone’s time runs out

If a moment is all we are

Or quicker, quicker

Who cares if one more light goes out

Well I do’

  • One More Light (2017)