By now, you’ve probably heard about the suicide of former Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman, Chris Cornell. After a particularly rousing performance for a sold-out crowd in Detroit, reports are saying that the singer went to his hotel room and took his own life.
Of course, as is often the case with this kind of news, people have been left shocked. It’s hard for those left behind to accept any death, nevermind one that was intentional, perhaps even, planned well in advance.
As of the time of this writing, for example, Cornell’s wife is being quoted as saying that she doesn’t think he would have deliberately committed suicide. She thinks he may have taken “an extra Ativan or two.” Yet, she was the one who reached out to someone to check on him because she was worried. Deep down, even before this tragedy happened, she knew that something wasn’t right.
Sources are saying that he was in “great spirits” right before his death and a concertgoer who saw his last performance says that “If something was wrong, he didn’t show it. He seemed to be genuinely excited to be performing in Detroit.”
It’s reminiscent of some of the things said after Robin Williams died. He was a comedian who loved making other people laugh, how could he be that depressed? His wife had even said that a change in his anxiety medication that same month had improved his symptoms yet he ended his life just days later.
Is it so unreasonable to believe that someone like Chris Cornell would want to have the greatest show and be happy in their final moments? That they might want to leave their loved ones with the best impression of themselves possible? It’s hard, impossible even, to fathom if you’ve never been affected by depression but this is not uncommon behavior.
In fact, once an individual has come up with a plan to commit suicide, many will “appear much calmer, happier and more relaxed.” We are still investigation the reasons for this but it’s very possible that they no longer feel burdened because they know their suffering will be coming to an end soon.
The investigation continues and new facts could change what we know about Chris Cornell’s death but, instead of denying the evidence, we can use this as an opportunity to openly discuss suicide, the warning signs, and how to best support those around us.
If you or someone you know is suffering with depression, a great resource is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.