The confusing and complex emotions that often come with experiences like Bennington’s are sometimes impossible to articulate, and yet, the singer repeatedly described his feelings in beautiful, heartbreaking, sometimes angry and sometimes therapeutic songs — ones that resonated with millions. It seems while he dealt with his own pain, he helped people around the world make sense of and cope with their own.
We wanted to recognize that, so we asked our mental health community to share a Linkin Park song that got them through (or continues to get them through) a dark time in their life. We miss you already, Chester — thank you for helping so many of us.
If you or someone you know is questioning your own worth, especially in the wake of this news, please reach out for help. You are worth it.
“This song always spoke to me. I grew up always feeling pressure to live up to everyone else’s expectations of me. I would sit in my room and scream to this song when I was home alone. I was always numb, and having a song that so perfectly captured how I felt at the worst time in my life was one of the few things that kept me afloat. I would sit and watch Fuse for hours hoping to hear it, or any other Linkin Park song. But when I think of Linkin Park, I always think of ‘Numb’ first.” — Diedra S.
“I can’t even pick just one. Every word to every song helped me through the worst times of my life. They saved my life numerous times, and still to this day, they are my therapy. Yesterday’s news shattered my heart, I only wish that someone did for him as he did for me countless times! However, ‘Numb’ was my go-to song, because that’s how I felt throughout high school.” — Alanna S.
2. “Breaking the Habit”
“People were always asking me why I self-harmed, and this song just summed up my thoughts and what it was like to be in the chaos of the moment. I never had words for how I felt. Linkin Park created entire albums that allowed me to speak.” — Kristen B.
3. “What I’ve Done”
“‘What I’ve Done’ is a very important song to me every day. It reminds me that we make mistakes but all we can do is try to do better. Try to make better and more positive choices for ourselves.” — Charlie K.
4. “Easier to Run”
“Chester couldn’t perform it live this was so personal to him. It’s about his childhood abuse. I, like him, was sexually abused as a child. I didn’t acknowledge it or work through it until four years ago as an adult just like him. This song made me feel understood, validated, and not alone. I felt like I had an ally in my battles. All of his songs gave me a voice to borrow at a time when I didn’t have the strength to use my own. I sang with him. I loved and felt pain with him. And now I cry for him. Thank you, Chester and Linkin Park for 20 years by my side and in my mind. Thank you for five amazing concerts. Thank you for years of feeling like someone understood me. Thank you for singing the strength to keep going when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. Thank you for your life and your songs and your dedication. Thank you for you.” — Megan M.
5. “Figure .09”
“‘Figure .09’ spoke to me while I was being sexually abused as a teenager. I didn’t know at the time that Chester was also abused as a child, but the lyrics comforted me in the aloneness of my feelings. Even now when the pain comes flooding back, their music sees me through the darkness. Rest in peace, Chester. I’m sorry you hurt so much.” — Jane M.
“Oh where do I start? The song ‘Papercut’ always was a relatable song. Through my teenage years my life went to hell, it was bad relationships, abusive partners, bullying, some other things I don’t want to say, but I always played that song on the way to school, on the way back. When I was at home I’d lay in bed all day with Linkin Park among a few other bands, but ‘Papercut’ was my go-to song. It helped me make sense of my emotions and thoughts and helped me find some peace in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone in the pain I felt.” — Jessie M.
7. “Leave Out All The Rest”
“‘Leave Out All The Rest’ is an anthem for anyone who’s ever suffered from mental illness. It was a meaningful song to me, before I even knew I had a mental illness. The notion that if you’re gone, no one might care or miss you is a reality for a lot of people going through depression. Hoping that you’ve left a good impression on someone when you’re no longer here is what all of us hope for.” — Leticia L.
“As soon as I heard that Chester was no longer with us, ‘Leave Out All The Rest’ began to play in my head. With that said, there isn’t just one song that helped me through my dark times. All of their songs from every single album has personally touched my soul in ways I can never fully describe. They were the only band in my youth that seemed to understand the battles I fought within myself. Their lyrics spoke for me when I could not. I wish they knew how many times they saved me, when I felt I could not be saved.” — Linda T.
8. “The Messenger”
“Just the lyrics alone speak volumes. ‘When you feel you’re alone. Cut off from this cruel world. Your instincts telling you to run. Listen to your heart. Those angel voices. They’ll see to you. They’ll be your guide. Back home where life leaves us blind. Love keeps us kind.’ Just the message in those lyrics have brought me out of my darkest places. His voice, the visceral power behind it, just strikes a cord in me that leaves me with chills. No matter how down I am, no matter what is going on. I know I can listen to that song and find hope. Remember that I am loved and that even though the world can be cruel, it’s that love from friends and family that keep me going.” — Travis K.
“‘Crawling’ and ‘One Step Closer’ helped me when I was a young teen and didn’t quite understand the anger I was feeling. It helped me express that anger in a surprisingly healthy way. Something major about Linkin Park’s music was how much it helped normalize difficult emotion. I’ll never forget how it made me feel, and I hope to pass that on to future generations. Rest In Peace, Chester, may you live forever through your music and memories.” — Lucy B.
“There are so many, dating all the way back to high school! I heard ‘Heavy’ shortly after I was released from a psych ward stay, when I was still struggling very much with my depression and anxiety, and it was one of those ones when you stop and soak in every word. ‘I dont like my mind right now, stacking up problems that are so unnecessary…’ It remains a favorite on tough days.” — Julie M.
11. “Shadow of the Day”
“That song always made me feel better. To me, it has a very soothing quality. I couldn’t help but sing along when it came on. By the end of the song, I would feel that my problems would just melt away.” — Amanda F.
12. “Castle of Glass”
“You’re asking for a single shade of grey here… they’ve always been a favorite jam of mine. ‘Castle of Glass’ guided me towards realizing and accepting my own identity in the midst of anxiety and depression from childhood trauma and a family broken by alcoholism, drug addiction and violence. Rest easy, Chester. Till you blow the speakers right out of my car!” — Nick S.
“I can’t choose just one. There have been so many dark times in my life, and Chester was there through every single one, reminding me that I was never alone. Even when I had nobody to talk to, nobody who cared enough to ask if I was OK, he was there. He was not OK, too. And it was OK to not be OK. He saved my life, over and over, since I was 13 years old. Linkin Park, and Chester’s unique, beautiful vocals are a hugely important part of my daily life. I’m hollowed out, gutted, thinking of a world without him in it.” — Robi K.