Chester Bennington’s cry for help.

Photo Credit:Reuters

I was quite young when Kurt Cobain took his life. His wife, Courtney Love sort of reaped from the fruits of his fame. Sort of, because as years went by, the poor woman became a total wreck, weighed down by drugs and the remains of a blotched facelift that left her bordering on ugly. Once Cobain died, she made constant headlines-but for all the wrong reasons. Like her late husband, she was a victim of depression, suffering it far longer than he most likely did.

Kurt Cobain Photo Credit: Michel Linssen/Retna


Michael Hutchence, frontman of INXS sang one of my best rock/alternative songs, Elegantly Wasted. Michael had an impressive career; I found out that besides being the lead singer of a band, he was an actor. He too was found dead at a hotel in Sydney with his death later found to be as a result of suicide.

Michael Hutchence

Michael Hutchence Photo Credit: Filmink

There are other old time rockstars who took their lives in the past-Richard Manuel, Tom Evans, Boston lead singer Brad Delp, who 10 years ago lit two charcoal grills in his bedroom and sealed the door. He died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Today, the world mourns Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame who hung himself at this home in California, yesterday. This comes just two months after his friend, Chris Cornell, another Rock Singer, hung himself at his hotel, following a concert performance in Detroit. And Cornell’s last tweet?

#Detroit finally back to Rock City!!!! @soundgarden #nomorebullshit’

Getting fans excited till the next day they had to use the hashtag along with one that said #RIP. Here’s the thing though, did the hashtag carry with it a warning?

  • #nomorebullshit- I’m about to kill my self
  • Please tell me there’s #nomorebullshit so that ill stay. Promise me.

Chris Cornel Photo Credit: Rollingstones Magazine


Or perhaps these cries for help are buried in the lyrics of their songs? A quick look at Bennington’s latest song, Heavy, released on February 17, 2017.

I don’t like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down
I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
Yeah, I drive myself crazy
‘Cause I can’t escape the gravity

Obviously Bennington didn’t take the death of his friend well. The rocker had spiralled down into a deep dark place that needed clinical intervention. Looking at the date Heavy was released and when cornel died, I feel Bennington’s depression had been on for a while and his friend’s suicide only nudged him that way. Here’s why I think so.
It’s in his farewell note to Cornel:

I dreamt about the Beatles last night. I woke up with Rocky Raccoon playing in my head and a concerned look my wife’s face. She told me my friend had just passed away. Thoughts of you flooded my mind and I wept. I’m still weeping, with sadness, as well as gratitude for having shared some very special moments with you and your beautiful family. You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known.

I’ll be honest; I am not a Linkin Park fan. In fact the only song of theirs that comes to mind is Encore, which they did with JayZ. But when my friend, Moji –an avid fan- texted yesterday telling me about his death and Google later explained that it was as a result of suicide, I felt it was one rockstar death too many.
And again I have to ask about those who interacted with or lived about Chester Bennington. Didnt they notice he was depressed? Some would say they never knew, or that he looked ’perfectly fine’ that morning. Others, ‘well he knew he could always come to me for help’
The thing is Bennington did reach out. It’s all he did in that song Heavy. The grey depressed look and feel of the video , the rushes that showed him in physical combat with himself and again the lyrics?

I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy?

And if this isn’t a cry for help, I don’t know what it is .
A friend once told me about how his childhood friend took his life. He said he’d been depressed when he found out but more than that, he admired his friend for the courage. For some reason, I think Bennington too felt some inspiration from Cornel. He’d called out and no one answered; or heard, maybe. So sad.
We all need to open our hearts, hear and help. Depression is real and suicide shouldn’t even be an option. Rest in peace Chester Bennington. We the world should have done more.

Let’s do a Mental Health check!


Today is the International Day Of Happiness. Ironically enough, it comes after a weekend of suicides in Nigeria. 

On Saturday, a 500 level student from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State committed suicide by hanging. His friends said they’d returned home from a night of reading to find Adesoji Adediran dangling from the ceiling. According to them, there was nothing strange in his behavior when they left him that Friday night. In fact, a close friend of the deceased described him as as “funny and lively”, not the usual candidate for suicide. More on Adediran’s story here.

Just yesterday ( Sunday) a doctor asked his driver to park while he got out of the car and jumped off the Third mainland Bridge in Lagos and that was that. This is the reality: what appeared to be foreign practice is slowly becoming a norm in Nigeria; it’s clearly not about location, it’s a state of mind-such a pity!


Mental health is important and we really need to take it seriously. Last week, I heard of a guy who went on his FB page and told his friends that he planned to take his life. No one took him seriously. Some even taunted him, daring him to go ahead and next thing they knew they were drafting RIP messages while others cursed him out for being silly. 

I suspect for such people it’s a bit more than the surface sadness we all face for a limited period. I think they must have reached a point where they can no longer control themselves. It’s a disease and like many diseases can’t be controlled by sheer will power.

Barbara Kingsolver perhaps puts it more succinctly. She says: 

There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.

What can we do then?

1. Watch our mental health really closely 

2. Seek help if we think things are getting out of hand 

3. Watch out for our friends closely and ask them questions. 

This graphic I found on the net profers some great solutions to maintaining happiness as well.


Depression and other forms of mental health are things we hardly ever discuss in this society but perhaps it is time we do. 

With this , I bid you Happy International Day of Happiness and dare to ask you, ‘How are you doing today. I mean, really?I would like to know.’