Why the death of Keith Flint had me in tears.
I had just turned 42 years old and I was feeling good. I had made it through Christmas without turning into the usual grinch and I felt positive about the year ahead. There had been a lot on my mind leading up to my b'day and it felt quite significant this time around. I felt more at peace with myself than I had in years, and the past was exactly that, in the past. I was finally looking in on it as a spectator. I wasn't anxious, except perhaps a little restless, but I was happy with how far I'd come with my bipolar disorder. I was still here, celebrating another year.
Life was feeling pretty normal and by normal I mean - 'stable'. But the universe has a way of testing you. Days before celebrating my b'day my partner received some news about an old uni mate over-dosing, he had been struggling with depression.
We discussed it briefly between us but nothing major. The weekend came, we ventured out, celebrated my b'day with a small group of friends, and our lives continued on as normal until Tuesday morning.
It's just after 0730 hrs, Tuesday morning, I open up Instagram and the first post I see is by @doodlebotillustration (an exceptional cartoonist by the way) with an illustration of Keith Flint and the caption R.I.P Firestarter. Not before leaving a quick comment I rush to check the news. What? How? When?
THE BATTLE IS NOT OVER.
My walls come crashing down.
I go into pilot mode. I have to get to work. The girls need to get ready. Keep it together.
And in between it all, the words 'Is it just a matter of time?' keep circling around my head.
By the time I get to work, tears are falling and I spend the rest of the shift hiding the pool of tears that should be drowning my desk. I can't think of anything else. The overdose, Keith taking his life at 49 years of age. Even Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, who took their lives only months apart in 2017 pop back into my head. This has rocked my world but in the worst possible way. What makes me any different to them? I too am in this battle and honestly I don't know if I can win.
GOD DAMN IT! I WANT TO WIN. I WANT TO WIN MORE THAN ANYTHING!
I don't want to become a statistic.
But will I have what it takes when things go south?
I can tell you now I am fragile as hell right now. No, not in the sense of harming myself, but my heart is broken for all the sisters and brothers we've lost to depression and/or addiction along the way.
To wallow in my sorrow, I have Spotify playing The Prodigy, who's tracks made me an instant fan way back in the 90's, and it does bring back great memories. Keith had a fire that burned bright and he was electrifying on stage, that much I will always remember. For now however, his departure is all too fresh and listening to Breathe and Firestarter - two of my favourite tracks - doesn't get me up and dancing, not yet anyway.
And for the demons I have buried, well I know they will rise like the zombies that they are......but let them come, I’ll be ready.
By the same token, I promise to keep on fighting not only for myself but for everyone before me.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.
If it is an emergency please call 000.
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