This past week, the world got the heavy news that Chester Bennington died. Most of the millennial generation has related to at least one Linkin Park song, even if it was just the collab with Jay-Z. It was almost like the shot heard around the world. Celebrities and common folk around the world felt the world lose this soul. It got my heart starting to think about what leads someone to make the choice to end it. It’s a hard topic for me to talk about because I have struggled with suicidal thoughts since I was a young child. But I think it needs to be talked about. Mental illness is a silent killer, like Carbon Monoxide. It kills you before you realize what is actually poisoning you.

Last year for World Suicide prevention week, I was journaling about why I kept living, even when I felt I couldn’t possibly go on. I ended up writing about all of the reasons I wanted to leave, but still decided somehow to talk myself out of it. I needed something to hear my pain. I needed to stop ignoring the parts of my story that I hide.  Mental illness and past abuse shapes a human. Both things are taboo to talk about. But why? Why should people have to struggle silently because it makes others uncomfortable? The abuse was not any form of comfortable but society still shames people who speak up after being abused. Having a chemical imbalance or different personalities (most likely from your brain coping with abuse) isn’t comfortable. But society still makes people feel like they can’t reach out. I say that to say this: The jokes about Chester Bennington are not funny. They are heartless, thoughtless, and the exact reason what happened to  Chester is happening at an alarming rate.

I’m not going to come at you with stats because, honestly, my heart is broken. Chester was abused as a kid. He struggled with addiction. He was lost. It breaks my heart because I wish there was someone speaking life into his broken places. Abuse and addiction is something that my family carries on their crests. They only know that. It has shaped generations. How many others of you are in that boat?  Are you so numb that you wish to erase yourself completely? What gets you there? I know what got me there. For years I kept those skeletons a secret. I pushed them down and “kept going”.  Eventually they pile up and weigh you down. Nobody spoke life into my dead places until my teenage years, and at that point I was convinced God loved every single human that ever lived, except Marissa Kay Hall-Burkhart.

Can I speak life into you? Can I tell you how LOVELY you are? Can I tell you that the world NEEDS you? Can I tell you that you are LOVED? Because you are LOVELY, the world NEEDS you, every part of you, and most importantly you are LOVED. Dearly loved by so many. Including God.

I believe that the bible is the living word, I believe I find my worth and identity in a beautiful God. When I found Him, I slowly started understanding that my story meant something. I started learning that it didn’t matter what anyone else said, I had worth. No words spoke over me had power. No matter how many times I got ignored, what happened to me still happened. And even though it happened, I was still going to be okay. There is still good all around me.

Suicide may seem like a good idea. Trust me, I know. But it isn’t. You can over come what has happened to you. You can change the course. It’s okay to work to get to better.

So if you need therapy, schedule that session. If you need medicine, fill that bottle. If you need prayer, reach out. Take care of yourself. Your heart, your mind, your body, your spirit, your soul. Overcome this. You are never alone in your struggles.

You are so loved and so needed. Please stay.