“I WISH you would step back from that ledge my friend...” echoed Third Eye blind’s song from twenty years ago.
This comes after the internet algorithm gods directed me to a tragic live-video of a rockstar who jumped to his demise a week ago. The jumper, Bryan Velasco of Razorback, is an icon in Pinoy rock that my generation look up to. The incident resurrected talks about depression and suicide prevention, just like when other rockstars have done it – from Kurt Cobain, to Chris Cornell, to Chester Bennington.
In one occasion, Bryan V. talks about love and passion to maintain a band, and how music has always been the purpose of his life. Just like most victims of depression, no one knew of the demons that have been sucking his life away to his ultimate end.
“It is always the vibrant, the accomplished, those who seem to have it all...” concluded the many observers.
As a former suicidal myself, I cannot compare my circumstances, or those that I saw, with others. But generally, the demons come from the void, the emptiness, the angst that comes with it. The said monster creeps from the thoughts of meaninglessness, and the drudgery. In a chaotic and wild world which adds to the pain of it all, the suicidal sees the jump as an escape to the inexplicable and painful feeling of not wanting to exist anymore.
Another rockstar (and another Bryan) who became suicidal, but thankfully backed away from the ledge, is Queen’s Bryan May, the most valuable band Pillar next to Freddie Mercury.
When asked why and how he stopped himself, Bryan M. narrated his experience: "I lost my dad, I lost one of my closest friends, I lost the band, which was like a family, I lost my marriage. All in the same year. I thought my life was over. I was totally and utterly depressed, I mean real, proper depression. When you literally can't get out of bed, you just want to pull the covers over. It's like you're paralysed. I found I couldn't see colour. There was no colour in the world, literally. Even music didn't get to me in the worst moments. Depression would clamp down like a fog. Black fog.”
Bryan M. went through therapy, but admitted that the primary thing that got him out of those darkest times was deciding that he will not do it, and his love for his family: “What stopped me was that I have children and people who depended on me, and people who love me. In a sense it (suicide) is a very selfish thing...you leave a lot of mess, and you do terrible things to the people around you. It would have been awful for my children.”
Those are two rockstar Bryans who went through depression with completely different endings. Still, we cannot judge them similarly because of their unique circumstances. Perhaps, we can learn something from these stories – the focus on mental health, meaningful relationships, and making the world a better place for everyone. After all, we are all in this life together.
I wish to use this most respected platform to air my opposition against an absurd move to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 years old. I understand that there were heinous crimes committed by children as shown by recent reports (similar with senior citizens), but that is a very small percentage compared to the general statistics that children's misdeeds are brought about by unfortunate circumstances; poverty, immaturity, lack of family guidance. This proposed legislation is simply a knee-jerk band aid solution (kill-them all type of action) that does not address the root-causes of the issues. According to my friends from Manila, the move is very much supported by heartless business people and evil lawmakers who see street children in urban areas as pests or disgusting vermin to be exterminated instead. Typical gods who think that their lives are more valuable than us common people. Sorry for bringing this out, but I was brought up by my parents to speak out when there is injustice, if there is something wrong... I was raised to stand up against bullies and protect the weak. After all, my heroes are the caped ones – Batman, Superman, you know.