Today its 223 days ago that I exited the cinema and got the news that Chester Bennington died. When reading the news and double or even triple checking the news sites I came to the conclusion the news was real and this was a horrible moment. However Chester Bennington made a big legacy about mental illness and after multiple discussion lately, I decided to write down my views and opinions regarding #MakeChesterProud. While you maybe think this isn’t really for you I would really appreciate it when you take a moment to read this. Maybe there is something you can help with.
To be very honest, its a very strange feeling you get when somebody you are a big fan of, or even idolized dies by suicide. This is mainly by the fact you know a lot of the person, but don’t know him in real life. From that moment I started to read a lot of the stories surrounding his death and maybe even getting too obsessed with this. It took me a while to get back on my feet. There were a couple of songs on repeat on Spotify, and I watched the memorial concert maybe 10 times. It’s hard to think that somebody that helped so many people with their demons lost against his own demons.
From the very first moment, Chester Bennington was very open about his mental health and the fight against his demons. The facts are that even with all his struggles he managed to be a person that placed other peoples joy, health, and happiness above his own. When you read or watch interviews with him you will see a humble man that doesn’t want or need the perks of being famous. A person with a dark cloud full of angry demons above him, changing that cloud to a driving force for charity and positivity and of course beautiful music.
But one of his biggest ideals would be that he wanted us to be able to talk freely an more importantly openly about mental illness and mental health. Directly after his death, the hashtag #MakeChesterProud was introduced. But what does it really mean? Lately, I was in a discussion with somebody about this hashtag, and she said that the Making Chester Proud is just an easy way to get people to donate money to the good cause.
I strongly believe that Making Chester Proud doesn’t mean you need to donate money or your time to continue his legacy. The true meaning of Making Chester Proud is in the easy things that however are currently so hard to do. When you are struggling and finding the strength again to feel happy then you are at the point that you Make Chester Proud. When you forgive yourself after a big (or small) fuck-up; When you give the real answer when somebody asks how you are doing; When you reach out to people in the time a time of need or when you take a time-out when it gets too much.. Then you are Making Chester Proud.
Before you say that you don’t have those problems so the hashtag isn’t there for them you can also Make Chester Proud the other way. When you take a moment to talk to somebody that isn’t feeling that good without any judgment you are Making Chester Proud. When you ask somebody what you can do to help; When you say to somebody is important for whatever reason; When you help somebody with getting the needed help; When you keep the trust people place in you when they tell you about their problems… Then you are Making Chester Proud.
Currently, there is a still a big taboo around mental illness al around the world. Things have changed a lot lately and more and more companies are hiring people with a physical injury or illness. But the change we had in the physical illness we should also do for the mental illness, this would really support a lot of people and I am even sure it would even be good for a lot of companies. For me, the meaning for #MakeChesterProud is spreading hope to anybody that is currently in darkness for whatever the reason the reason. All of us together we need to change how we look at mental illness and how we treat the people around us.