Of suicides, depression, and the man with a haunting voice

My thoughts on the article Twitter Wants To Protect Eddie Vedder At All Costs After Chris Cornell’s Death.

A bit too soon to talk about it? Maybe. But it’s not just about protecting the best vocalists, grunge icons, or legends anymore. We’re talking about protecting precious lives everywhere. And it’s never too soon to raise awareness on supporting and helping one another out of anything that could lead to self-inflicted injuries or suicidal thoughts. 

I recently wrote an article for a local youth magazine on the issue of teen suicide and depression. As usual, as I would in any of my writings, I did not only research on people who have committed suicide or tried to take their own lives; I made myself one with such character. 

It wasn’t very difficult, given the fact that I’ve journeyed through depression before. But I realised that you have to be in so deep, buried under so many layers of self-hatred and be completely devastated of any self-esteem in order to be wading through dark thoughts of hurting yourself to the point of death. 
“It’s like walking around with a giant lead blanket on you.” – Jonathan Davis, Korn

“I looked at all these beer bottles and saw they were kind of like a metaphor for my life. I was just an empty shell, something to pour alcohol in and was ready to break at any time.” – Randy Blythe, Lamb of God

Whatever it was that Chris Cornell and all these precious souls were going through, whatever it was that was going through their minds moments (and maybe even months or years) before they decided to end it all, I believe there were tiny windows of opportunities for them to climb out of the cold and dingy room they kept themselves locked in. 

There are many people who have come out of this. And they are all out to help those who are going through what they’ve been through. (You can find out more on You Rock Foundation.) Because at the end of the day, we all need to help one another see that “[t]here is always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all temporary. Pain is temporary; depression is temporary. You are stronger than you know…you can get through it.” – Corey Taylor, Slipknot

Jonathan Davis says that “[i]t takes time. Sometimes, it takes medicine. Sometimes, it takes re-arranging your whole life and doing things differently but it does get better at times and those are the times [he lives] for.”

All of us will fall into some kind of self-rejection or anxiety at one point or another in our lives where we will find it hard to focus on climbing out of a nasty situation. (I’ve got to tell you that it gets kind of cozy all wrapped up in the blanket of depression at times that you just don’t want to get out of it.) But there is something we all need to remember before we decide to get into an addiction, self-hurt, or entertain suicidal thoughts: we are all accountable for the lives of everyone else as well. Whatever we do to ourselves, it affects other people more than we know or care to admit. It affects our loved ones, the people we are destined to know in the future, and the people who would stumble upon our life stories. 

At any time, seek help. Even if it’s the smallest of things. You are never an inconvenience to anyone. You will never be a burden to anyone with your problems. Regardless of how alone you think you are, there are people you can reach out to, who would be honoured to walk with you through it all. 

Despite everything, I still hope and pray that Chris Cornell and all those precious souls who have given up too soon will find the peace and liberation they were looking for wherever they are now. 

“In my shoes

A walking sleep

And my youth

I pray to keep

Heaven send

Hell away

No one sings

Like you anymore.” – Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden

… because seriously, no one sings like Chris Cornell.

*Originally posted on my Facebook page on 19 May 2017.

She twirls

Twirling, whirling, spinning

Turning, twisting, pivoting

Swiveling, revolving, rotating

That is what it feels like

As opposed to

Sinking, falling, dropping

Submerging, plunging, descending

No one is

Losing, missing, wasting

Failing, eluding, leaving

She is just going around in circles

Twirling and pivoting like a dancer

While the world is

Swiveling and revolving beyond her

The only way to get to her

Is to break into her

Spin around with her

Feel the vertigo that is her

Grasp the rhythm together

Perceive the cadence

And flow with her

She composes

She formulates

She devises

She choreographs

She plans

Contrary to what they think

She is not

Ignorant, oblivious, unaware

She is simply taken

Captured into a different world

Away from what is

Normal, ordinary, conventional

She is remarkable

She is exceptional

She is special

But she still needs you


Author’s Note:

I wrote this after watching the music video of ‘Dig’ by Incubus. It hit quite close to home. As I watched the ballerina twirl around, I realised that someone trapped in desolation does not ‘sink’ into their condition that is too often mistakenly called depression. They do not fall into desolation. I believe they are caught in it and they go around in circles within it.

Do you remember that feeling of spinning around giddily when you were little? It took you away from the world. But you loved that feeling. For a moment there, you did not want to come out of it. You wanted to watch the sky rotate above you. You wanted to feel the shadows in your closed eye swirl.

Coming out of melancholia is like stopping that twirl, being smacked with the fact that you’re getting off-balanced and finally hitting the ground really hard. No one wants that painful experience.

Brandon Boyd tells us how we could help someone in desolation:

If I turn into another

Dig me up from under what is covering

The better part of me

[Sing this song]

Remind me that we’ll always have each other

When everything else is gone

And I say, all this person needs is you by his/her side.

Our Father – the Divine Providence, the Divine Assurer

Not one family in this world is without problem. Some come with infidelity issues, some families have disability in a member or special children, and others relationship issues.

As I sit at my breakfast table here today, the only thing that comes to mind is the very thing that haunts the family’s financial situation – debts. Our financial issue goes beyond ‘not being able to make ends meet’. We’re already at ‘legal action’.

It has been like that ever since the domestic depression in 2007. It got better for awhile in 2008 but by 2009, it was back to square one.

I used to tell people, back in the days when my faith was so unshaken, that God knows what He’s doing. And that He gives every one of us only the challenges that we can handle. And so sometimes I wonder if the Lord really thinks so ‘highly’ of us that we can handle monetary problems. Most times, I just thank Him it’s a finance problem that He picked out for us and not infidelity, physical disability or hard in-laws.

I started writing this post, ready to pour out my frustrations about this whole money thing hanging around my head. But as I went along, I was reminded once again, that thanking God and praising Him will save our family from the toughest situation.

Incidentally, today’s Gospel reading is about Jesus teaching us how to pray. It really is such a beautiful prayer. It begins with us giving glory to God our Father who is holy and reigns above all. As we give Him honour, we also put our trust in Him that He will always provide for us in every where. We are also reminded that we can turn to Him to ask for forgiveness and to help us overcome temptations.

So pray with me today, to our Father, the Divine Providence.

Our Father in heaven,
Holy is your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the test,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

To God be all glory.