Actor Robin Williams’ death was tragic and heartbreaking, and quite ironical as well. A comedian who devoted his entire career to making people laugh, ended his life due to depression. Songwriter Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide for the same reason. His death sent tremors in the world of music, but what came next was more concerning. After his demise, his wife Talinda Bennington tweeted a family video showing the musician playing with his children. The famous songwriter showed no signs of depression. “This is what depression looked like just 36 hrs b4 [sic] his death,” Talinda wrote in the video caption.
Unlike transient emotions like sadness, happiness or anger, depression has no face. In Chester’s last recorded memory, he looked happy. No one could have imagined he was depressed or that he would surrender to the agony. No wonder, depression is considered an elusive, faceless disorder that often remains hidden beneath the many layers of human mind. It’s almost impossible to understand the kind of dismay, guilt, or anxiety someone could be carrying within through a superficial interaction.
The fact that most people in depression refuse to talk about it doesn’t make it any easier to identify the problem or help them. Chester too took a while to come out in the open about the chaos in his mind. Talking about his dark days and the toll depression took on his life, Chester revealed in an older interview: “I literally hated life and I was like, ‘I don’t want to have feelings. I want to be a sociopath. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to care what other people feel like [sic]. I want to feel nothing.” Then, there are those who, through their inadvertent actions, give out clear signs of depression, such as resorting to substance abuse.
Sitting in the abyss of depression is perhaps the most debilitating experience for a human being—to acknowledge it, to come to terms with it, and to address it takes every ounce of courage one can muster.