I am on an airplane right now, you have a lot of time to think when you are sitting in a metal tube for 5 hours. I am not (and have never been) a rock star, I really have no idea what it is like (but I have always imagined awesome!) When you get to a certain level of stardom you spend a lot of time on planes, there are usually plenty of people with you, but I would imagine you get lost in thought often against the white-noise hum of the jet engines.
I was at a music convention when I found out about Chris Cornell’s passing… At first I didn’t believe it, I researched it on my own and was blown away to find out it was true. This particular convention is attended mostly by tons of label people (I’m in that camp) and radio people from the Non-Commercial and AAA formats (I would dare say some of the most passionate music lovers I have ever encountered.
I didn’t say anything, but I remember sitting at my desk at work last week and realizing it was May 11th , not a date that should mean anything to you, but for me it was the 9 year anniversary of my suicide attempt. (not something you celebrate, but the date is burned into my mind.) I have shared all the details with you before so I won’t be redundant.
On both sides of the industry (Label and Radio) people at the convention starting sharing stories of Chris. One woman worked his Soundgarden albums and had amazing wonderful memories. There were people who had worked on other projects with Chris or were at events together and they echoed the stories of a kind, cool guy who endeared himself to all he met. The radio people had stories of Chris and associated projects playing shows for their stations or giving engaging interviews, not a bad word was spoken… And not that I expected there to be.
9 years is a long time! 9 years ago Bing was 1 and Lucy 4. 9 years ago I was working in radio in San Diego. 9 years ago I was still married.
One story told to me from a label friend twisted into the depression drugs he may have been taking. (Now let me say right now, I will not be the Jenny McCarthy of depression meds…. Always take what your doctors think is best and make sure they continually monitor you during the process) I was on a few depression and anti-anxiety drugs when I attempted to kill myself, I had only been on them for a month and I have heard that it can take longer than that for the positive effects to kick-in. But more interesting than the drug talk was how she started to speak very quietly and make sure no one could over hear the story of a friend that went through a similar situation. I respect her trying to protect that persons identity, but it was also an indicator of the larger problem. People still whisper about suicide, they mask their voices and keep it a secret.
What we need is people to yell about mental health, to not be embarrassed to seek help or let friends know they are struggling.
So I’m not going to yell on this plane (because we already established I am not a rock star) and being shackled to your seat for the remaining 3 hours does not seem fun. But consider this post a shout out not to be embarrassed and not to whisper about mental health.