Since learning of Chester Bennington’s death yesterday, I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I think most of my fellow millennials will agree that Linkin Park was one of the most influential bands of our time. We’ve watched older generations cope with the loss of their beloved icons, not thinking that ours are now on the horizon. But the fact is that we are getting older, and life and death surround us more each day. There’s not much we can do about that but hang on for the ride.
I’m going back and forth between so many moods and tones for this post. I’m heartbroken thinking of Chester and those he left behind. I’m sad realizing that there are people in my own life who I can’t even help. I’m frustrated that society still turns a blind eye to those of us with mental illness. I’m angry at the people who voted to fuck up the healthcare that we need so badly in this country. But the prevailing feeling I’m having right now is action. I’m tired of hearing “more needs to be done” and nothing actually being done. It’s the same thing I hear whenever there’s a mass shooting; more needs to be done about guns, and then nothing is ever done. Because the truth is, life goes on for everyone else. What seems like a great thought fails to gain enough momentum. People become preoccupied with everything else in their lives, and then we get forgotten once again.
So I’ve had just about enough. If you know me or follow my blog, you know I’m the last person to stay silent about mental health. I have been on the side of suicide, and now I’m lucky to mostly be on the other side. I’ve come to see the beauty of life when all I wanted to do was leave this world before. I made that change for myself, but it wasn’t easy, and I’m very aware of how many can’t make that change for themselves right now. I’m by no means a therapist, but I see how many people just need someone to talk to and it pains me when they don’t have that option. Most people avoid reaching out to others because they don’t want to be a burden, and I want to try to take that feeling away. I feel a responsibility to now help others, because it’s not fair for me to only think about myself just because I happened to get through my issues. So here’s my proposal…
I’m starting a free weekly mental health discussion group.
You’re invited if you have shit you’re dealing with and need to let it out. You’re invited if you so desperately want help but can’t afford medication or therapy. You’re invited if you don’t have mental illness, but know someone who does, or just want to learn more about what we go through. You’re invited if you have come out on the other side of suicide and want to help others as well. You’re invited if you just don’t know what else to do at this point. There will be zero judgment and I won’t be giving any advice; this is just a way to meet others going through the same thing and share your story and feelings. If you want to share, awesome. If you want to just listen, that’s great too. We can help each other so that nobody feels so alone and in the dark that killing themselves feels like the best option.
I’ll find a quiet place where we can all meet in Charlotte each week. If you’re not in Charlotte but want to participate, I’ll give you my phone number to call in, or we can Skype. And if the idea of a group setting scares the shit out of you, then I’ll still give you my phone number and we can just chat one on one. This group will be open to people of all genders, races, sexual orientations and religions (though this group will have a secular focus). Any sort of hate, racism, misogyny or homophobia will not be tolerated. Everything discussed will remain in the group.
If you already know my number, text me if you want in. Otherwise, you can send me a message here:
https://www.facebook.com/unshelledblog/ or https://unshelledblog.com/contact-me/
Help me get this off the ground and let’s actually make a change. How many more people do we have to lose before we do something about it?