I’m Not Shocked by Suicide Any Longer by Brandy Lidbeck

posted in: Uncategorized | 17

I was saddened to hear about the recent suicide of Chester Bennington, lead singer of the rock band Linkin Park. He left behind a wife and six children who are, no doubt, reeling in the devastating loss of their husband and daddy. He had so many fans and people that loved him and his music. He had fame and riches. It seemed he had it all…from the outside. It breaks my heart whenever I hear of a recent suicide. But I am not shocked.

I was shocked when my mom died by suicide twenty-six years ago. She was a high school teacher who worked with at-risk youth. She was the favorite teacher on campus and the last person on Earth anyone would expect to take their own life. I pinched myself every day for the first year after her death because I felt I was in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. Our community was in shock.

I was shocked when my cousin took his life shortly after returning from his military deployment to Iraq. He was the life of the party, a jokester at all times, and a master at karaoke. He was handsome, engaged, and a great guy. His death was shocking to his military brothers.

When news of Robin Williams’ suicide broke, I was in shock. He was the funny man, successful, and well loved. How could someone who had it all kill themselves? The world was in shock!

The more I learn about suicide, the less I am shocked when someone completes one. You see, suicide has never discriminated against a certain type of person. Suicide affects all of us. The celebrity who has riches and fame the rest of us can only dream of, the brand new mom, the elderly man, the teen with such a bright future, our favorite teacher or pastor, the sweet lady next door, the strong and brave police officer, all of us. Every single person is susceptible to suicide.

There is no equation for suicide. A + B does not always = C. There are warning signs and help lines for those thinking about it or those concerned for another person, but those don’t always prevent suicide. If they did, the suicide rate would be close to zero. Don’t get me wrong, we need those help lines in place and each of us needs to pay attention to the warning signs for our friends and family, but it does not save everyone.

At the root of suicide is a profound level of hopelessness. Hopeless that things will ever get better or improve. Hopeless that their physical or mental pain will ever subside. Hopeless that life will ever be worth living again. Suicide has never been about being selfish or cowardly, but more about ending the pain they face on a daily basis, sometimes in secret. 

I am not shocked by the suicide of Chester Bennington. To say that I am shocked reveals a belief that he was somehow immune because he was a celebrity. To be that naive does not progress the conversation of suicide, it only delays it. We need to stop being shocked by suicide and, instead, look at it as the tragedy that it is. A tragedy that kills approximately¬†121 Americans every day. We cannot be shocked by this any longer. We need to educate ourselves. We need to reduce the stigma about suicide. Suicide does not make people “freaks” or “cowards” or even “selfish.” Suicide is the manifestation of a very real emotional, physical, and mental pain/illness that we cannot always see. Let’s stop being shocked and do more to help those around us who are fighting this battle daily, usually in secret.

 

If you have been impacted by the suicide of a loved one, check out the book, The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide. You can watch a video trailer for it here. 

 

17 Responses

  1. Julie
    | Reply

    It is hard to help when it is in secret. The person keeps a secret for a reason. I agree with you about the feeling hopelessness and never feeling the same again.

  2. Joan
    | Reply

    No I am not shocked either. I just hurt.

  3. Jan Sheppard
    | Reply

    Very well said. My son died of suicide in 2003, it can claim anyone from any walk of life. And yes those who complete suicide do it to end their pain. Thank you for speaking out.

  4. Pam Smith
    | Reply

    Thank you for your statement. My 17 year old son,Scott decided to leave this world on his own 2 years and 2 months ago. He was my only child and instead of becoming crazy and depressed I have become a board member of Mississippi American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. It is a stigma in MS and it’s now my second job to make everyone understand Suicide is a mental illness and the government should provide more assistance to lower the Suicide rate!!!!!!

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      I am so sorry for your loss, Pam. Thank you for the work you do with AFSP. I assist with organizing the OOD walks. Thank you.

  5. Ruth Roth
    | Reply

    Your writing is always so authentic. Once again this is spot on. Thank you!

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Ruth.

  6. 'Ofa
    | Reply

    I’m not shocked either but I don’t understand people’s fascination with trying to connect the dots. Many posts saying “He loved and missed his friend Chris (Cornell) and wanted to celebrate his birthday with him. “… really!? He loved Chris more than his wife and kids? I don’t buy it. And how come all of the interviews they are digging up were “cries for help”?Almost. every. interview! How was it missed then? Is it the way the media is selling the story? Editing and taking things out of context? How do you think the family will feel seeing all these “cries for help” that they didn’t see that went unanswered? I caught my 13 year old son listening to LinkinPark on repeat and reading articles on Chester. I realized this is the first suicide he is affected by. I’m letting him have his time to mourn but then we are going to talk about it. Any suggestions? P.S. I enjoyed your podcast you posted awhile back. #allthefeels

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      Thanks, Ofa! I do think the media tries to make it how they best feel suits them and their agenda a lot of time. It is unfortunate because they have little regard to the family is completely devastated and already, most likely, blaming themselves for this horrible tragedy. Good work on talking to your son about it. That is the best things we can do. Open the dialogue and discuss it so the stigma is lessened and it allows for some real conversation. Good work, momma!

  7. MARY SMITH
    | Reply

    My son Seth completed suicide May 1st 2017. He fought till the end with mental illness.

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      I am so so sorry to hear about Seth. My most sincere condolences to you and yours.

  8. Carolyn Truscott
    | Reply

    Brandy, this was a great well written article.

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      Thank you, Carolyn. I appreciate that.

  9. Kimberly Widmer
    | Reply

    I would like to link to this on my page, but with a friend who has recently suffered the suicide of her 17 year old son, I fear of rubbing salt in the wound.
    The ripple effects of suicide are far reaching and some days those ripples are more like a tsunami.
    Thank you for what you said, and when the time is right, I will be sharing.

  10. Allie
    | Reply

    Beautifully stated. I am so very sorry for the loss you’ve endured. Thank you for so eloquently saying what so many have been feeling.

    Warmly,

    Allie

  11. eta levenson
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    My wonderful, beautiful son took his life last February, at the age of 28, after 14 years of suffering the pain of mental illness. We celebrate his life, even as we mourn him, and wonder at the courage it took him to fight those demons for so long.
    Not coincidentally, I’m sure, Linkin’ Park was one of his favorite groups – and he followed them on line and in concerts for many years – we even have signed programs by the band. Eric always felt an affinity to their songs, and clearly, there was a kindred spirit.
    How sad that we can’t seem to find a way to help diminish their pain, to make life worth living.
    But we must keep trying – speaking out – fighting the stigma of mental illness, if they are ever to get help.

  12. Lisa
    | Reply

    I’m not shocked either…just brings me back to the day I got the phone call about my mother…the heart brake, the soul shattering loss…I am not shocked, just terrified for the ones receiving that horrific news, and how it will forever change them!

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