FIGHT DEPRESSION: Advocacy for Mental Health & an Honest Conversation.

Jan, 15th/19.

With my experience after Chris's passing, the phrase "fight depression" was used as a go-to catch phrase. A means by some to tell me that I'm wrong, cruel and insensitive for expressing my beliefs. My wholehearted belief Chris Cornell not ending his own life by choice nor accident. Those who told me to "fight depression" were in actuality telling me to shut the hell up. They were not advocates for mental health, battling addiction and suicide awareness. Instead, they behaved and spoke in mannerisms dangerous to anyone struggling internally.


If you want to talk, let's talk.

No BS. Anonymity will be respected.


In all that I've expressed, and whatever I do express, is bound to offend someone. I don't deny feuding with a few I've encountered on social media. With anyone that had opposing views, I've always done my best to be considerate, understanding and respectful.


At the end of the day, no one is exempt from criticism and everyone has a right to question and express doubt.


I've been a fan of Soundgarden for over 14 years from Screaming Life/FOPP to Chris's Higher Truth. Chris open of his past history of addiction, alcoholism and depression while proudly expressing his sobriety, a new Soundgarden album, touring, family and his passion for living for me were not of a man who would've taken his own life abruptly. DISMISSAL OF THE OFFICAL RULING. . . (my forensic/medical breakdown and criticisms of the official ruling)

Nevertheless, I carry on with what makes me happy and fulfilled. Writing, writing music, playing music, drawing, painting, analog photography, sculpting. . . I could go on! I encourage it.


Do what makes your heart whole and happy.


Portishead: "We Carry On."




A bit about me:


There's nothing in this world that sets my heart of fire like music does. I wouldn't be here if the art of music didn't exist. I type this out as I'm listening to the sensual bass line of "Kingdom of Ice" from The Filthy Tongues.

Whatever the era though, there are requirements: a uniqueness in lyricism, instrumental delivery and a strong voice to pull me in.

I've held thousands of artists I admire on a high pedestal, sometimes dangerously getting absorbed into the aura of them. The persona. The starry-eyed admiration I've carried ceased as I grew older into adulthood, being heavily inspired to create and master the craft of my own art. Clearly, those that I'm in awe of are simply human beings. Human beings who've grown, triumphed, made mistakes and went through the pits of hell and back.


Chris Cornell in particular was a human being.


I've been through depression many times my life from being extremely timid as kid, not making a lot of friends and being a bit below average academically. Teenage rebellion was a culprit too. Although I wasn't medically diagnosed with depression, prescribed medications, (though my mother told me she'd given me something to keep me still and quiet at school. I harboured a lot of energy that was a bit to much for the teachers. They recommended Ritalin for my supposed ADHD. I don't recollect the result of being a mindless zombie from the drug in the classroom. Mom freaked out and she immediately took me off the central nervous system stimulant since.) had zero drug addiction or contemplated suicide. Once in a while I felt negatively affected. This was usually from my mind drifting back into uncomfortable situations, facing people I did not like and grossly absorbing their bad vibrations. I was a human sponge out of being overly sensitive. With that, I'd fantasize being radiant of dazzling confidence to speak my mind and to act accordingly.


Certainly, I don't find that my experiences are prerequisites for depressive disorder.


In a perfect world, we should all be acknowledged and treated strictly on our individual circumstances, not be labeled with terms nor thrown into mere categories.


Rowing through this life for each and every one of us is unique and complex.

SOUNDGARDEN: ROWING.


The death of Chris struck me harder than any loss of a person in my adulthood. The tears I wept and the sadness I still feel for him are remarkable.


There were times though where I felt bit foolish, and I thought to myself, "I'm just a fan", a spectator of a brilliant musician I didn't know personally, but was so up close to him that previous year during his Higher Truth tour, the curious sweet look he gave me at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Our birthdays within the same week of July.

His three children, close family and friends I can only imagine suffered the loss greatly than I ever did. From Chris's death, I realized he had profound influences on me, mirroring what I knew intuitively as I quickly pulled away from my acceptance of his reported suicide.


I lost one friend to suicide for the first time many years ago. I was shocked. A friend from junior high school dead by their own hands was nothing I've ever dealt with before. I've had family members die, but all due to old age and illnesses. I had no close relationship with them as they remained in Ghana, my mom and dad landing in Canada before I and my brother were born.


What I know deeply of myself, besides being in such wanderlust all the time, is that death is a part of life I'm learning how to dance well with.


When death comes.


Elements for my first advocacy.

Until recently, I've never fully thought about mental health issues, focusing more on myself and how I can improve in various ways.


Learning always to be compassionate, to be genuine without abandoning your own inner peace, can save another person's life. Offering unconditional support whenever possible.



Bryan Gibson, (toured with Chris during Higher Truth and Songbook) I found I launched a fundraiser last year before Chris's birthday. Sunshower: A MusiCares Fundraiser. I made a donation of $100 on July, 20th/18 which would've been Chris's 54th birthday. Putting in a donation eased my heart a bit, knowing my tiny contribution would assist fellow musicians in anguish. Knowing I could focus more on something beneficial, helping me heal the lingering pain I carried from Chris's passing.

I then read further into MusiCares and I fell in love with what they do. Months after Bryan launched his fundraiser, I developed interest into local organizations offering services for mental wellbeing. One organization I found here in Calgary called Elements I plan to volunteer at.


Becoming more aware, more involved, helped me immensely in so many different ways.

Chris himself I discovered was involved with MusiCares; CHRIS CORNELL Talks About His Battle With Addiction published in 2007.


Beauty and truth collide

Where love meets genocide

Where laughter meets fear

Confusion all around

And as I try to feed these mouths

That have never known singing

And before I let one more tear hit the ground

I will be the one standing between you and the sound. - Chris Cornell; The Keeper.

Chris wrote "The Keeper" for the film Machine Gun Preacher. Money raised from the song benefited the non-for-profit charity Angels of East Africa. The charity dedicated to rescuing children from war, rebuilding shelter, helping with access to clean water, food, providing health and education.


The Hollywood take on Sam Childers's life pulls you into the chaos as expected, a great film where I first learned of Sam founding the charity.


"They're acting like you'd see my children in a photograph, smiling and being kids. That really influenced the writing of the individual song more than anything." -Chris Cornell; SONGFACTS.

From that, I've committed to a $20 monthly donation to Angels of East Africa, adding the charity to my folder of organizations I plan to lend support to on a greater scale.



I saw that Chris was passionate about helping children, his philanthropy stood out beautifully with his song "The Keeper".


This is a reason, among many reasons, why I don't believe Chris permanently left this world by his choice. Promoting what he stood for seems to be overshadowed by other famous musicians, merely expressing platitudes of "how great he was" as if I didn't know that already.


I've not heard anybody acknowledge Chris's long-term sobriety or anything positive (aside from "how great he was") from the year he had died.


Then there's "The Promise." What promise is being kept? Keeping Chris's memory alive with supporting his beautiful foundation for helping the world's most vulnerable children? Unfortunately, the seemingly fraudulent activity that took place within the charity and likely without Chris's knowledge, tainted the foundation's humane purpose in my eyes.




. . . Make a promise if you can

You know You’ll only break it

Make a promise if you dare

Go on right ahead And let’s see where it gets you . . . HIGHER TRUTH, Chris Cornell.



In all, to be an advocate for mental health, you must be actively involved! Initially, have conversations openly and honestly without restrictions. It's never enough to simply declare to "end the stigma", "fight depression" or name drop organizations. The value in advocacy is in action.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be saved. It's a brutal reality we're not always meant to accept or understand.

The best we can all do is to listen, have honest dialogue, educate ourselves, educate others, and most importantly, have compassion.


Every bit is well worth it.


Chris Cornell: NOT BY SUICIDE.


To make it absolutely clear, as I mention within my previous posts, I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories, rumours or deep discussions into Chris's personal life. Everyone's privacy should be respected. (I've only discussed and refuted information released to the public.) I don't entertain absurdities. It was only with Chris's death I've crossed boundaries I didn't feel I had any business going into. Feeling uneasy, heavily emotional and obsessive of the case but hell, I didn't care! I desperately wanted to know what happened to him. Who killed him.

Chris Cornell killed for what reason?


What I highly suspect could be the mishandled (I believe fraud took place within the charity) funds to his foundation, (The Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation) possible marital problems, a possible divorce, contracts, certain people around him with much to gain from his death, long term antagonism towards him or a physical confrontation, in the heat of the moment, leading to drastic measures in the end.


Chris's death, with most certainty, was NOT BY SUICIDE. (my forensic/medical breakdown and criticisms of the official ruling)



The information presented to the public did not add up to a legitimate suicide. The claims exclusively from Vicky Karayiannis are of a supposed relapse from prescription medications. Ultimately, this lead to Chris allegedly ending his own life. Vicky's claims were not supported by the toxicology and post-mortem reports released thereafter.


Here are two examples of Vicky's several stories (I go over and criticize) published by Alternative Nation in early 2018 that I found quite suspicious.


- #NOMOREBULLSHIT article#2: “February 10th, 2018: CHRIS CORNELL’S WIDOW REACTS TO SUICIDE NOTE . . .


-#NOMOREBULLSHIT article#4: “February 21st, 2018: CHRIS CORNELL EMAIL ADMITTING. . .


In the wake of Chris's death, I've come to know a bit about his wife Vicky Karayiannis. My criticisms of Vicky are based on her stories of Chris's passing she's openly shared with the public. Also, her interactions with others and behaviour she's displayed publicly. Aside from that, I do not know her deeply on a personal level and I do not encourage ill intent her way.



Matt Cameron, Ben Shepard and Kim Thayil are the additional reasons why I wholeheartedly reject the suicidal ruling of Chris. Matt, Kim and Ben have never explicitly corroborated Vicky's stories of Chris's supposed relapse and prescription drug abuse.


Where is anybody to say explicitly Chris fell of the wagon? Besides his widow? Where is the medical documentation to prove he fell off the wagon and abused drugs? All from Soundgarden's last show, the stories (changing frequently) contained several problems that I couldn't except as the truth, thus deeming me insensitive.



Also, Matt, Kim and Ben to the best of my knowledge have yet to publicly speak on the nature of Chris's death, what was going on with Chris on stage that final night, Chris's visible head injury and the band's whereabouts when Chris had died.


These are two different stories published a year apart that touch upon the whereabouts of Matt, Kim and Ben on Soundgarden's last show. To me, I really suspect the band wanted to distance themselves from Chris's abrupt death.


I believe they knew exactly what was going on with Chris and knew of his death well before the whole world got the news.



. . . "The group were whisked off together to the MGM Grand Hotel in a mini-bus."


. . . "The guards, who were dressed in blue, accompanied the band to the hotel and they arrived within minutes.​"


. . . "His fellow band members have helped police by agreeing to be interviewed, but are 'reeling' at their friend's suicide." -The Daily Mail, (Published May, 18th/17)


THEN,


"Thayil and other Soundgarden members were already en route to Columbus for the band's next date when they got word that Cornell had died back in his Detroit hotel room." -Detroit Free Press, (Published, Oct, 25th/2018.)





THE DARKNESS OF THE PAST SHALL NOT OVERSHADOW THE LIGHT.


"Fell On Black Days," "The Day I Tried Live" "Just Like Suicide", "Pretty Noose," "Worried Moon," or any other songs that carry dark undertones (beautifully dark) have me, as I'm sure it's similar with other fans, immersing into the lyrical story telling, rocking out, fighting and healing through the shit life gives us.


Selective songs shouldn't be used as confirmation of Chris's supposed suicide, nor do I believe focusing heavily on his past struggles with drugs and alcohol should be a determining factor.

Though I do believe particular songs from Higher Truth were reflective of Chris's experiences within the last years of his life, a desire to live among considerable circumstances. I'll explain again further here.


With that, I do not claim to see everything or anyone for who they really are merely from music and lyrics written, what goes on in their head, what goes on in their personal lives, nor do I claim to know any artist or musician deeply whom I've never met.


Depending on how open artists are with their life and their body of work, you get a tiny glimpse of who they are.



With all the discussions surrounding suicide and depression, I find it extremely irresponsible to use the complexities of mental illnesses and conjecture as an answer concluding to anyone's abrupt death, WITHOUT considering all reasonable angles to the circumstances. Of coarse, we're not always going to know why people of all walks in this life choose to end their own lives. If we are to "end the stigma," nothing should be barred (within reason) nor should there be immediate dismissal of reasonable doubt.


This is what I believe with my whole heart the case with Chris Cornell.



His name is never explicitly mentioned in direct relation to drugs or any mental disconnect (with the exception of Vicky) from the year he had died. Find and observe any interviews or statements made from the remaining members of Soundgarden, Tom Morello, Eddie or anyone who jammed with Chris and knew him deeply.


It is only when speaking of Chris's alcohol and drug abuse, particularly oxycontin, decades ago that online articles from mainstream media are hyperfocused on his past history of addiction, repeating only what Vicky claims that lead to Chris's death. Also to my frustration, some of those news articles finished off with suicide prevention hotlines.


The details that conclude Chris's "suicide" from depression and prescription medication is conjecture.





ENDING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH & DEFLECTION.


As I've witnessed up to this point, mental health issues are sometimes used as a deflection, "mental health" used to ignore the elephant in the room.


Some may argue that I'm just trying to hard to find reasons, in denial and shifting blame.

I understand so, but I believe my reasons to be legitimate. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, if anyone wants to talk, let talk.

Email me; OCCASIONAL-RAIN@PROTONMAIL.COM.




The oddities in Chris's death and what I've seen to be utter lies have been detrimental to my own mental wellbeing. Our culture today more than ever encourages us to be open, honest and be in a comfortable space to discuss triggering matters. But does purposely overlooking relevant questions and concerns within the realms of mental anguish exacerbate the problem? Not being truthful, not acknowledging those questions and concerns and just pretending crucial elements don't exist?



"You just don't know!"

"You don't know him."

These are common responses to my sentiments in addition to anecdotes of:


"I've been on (insert drug) and it did/cause me to (insert side effects/reaction/physical/mental action)


and


"my friend/family member died had (insert mental disorder/comorbidities)


and


I'm a (insert medical profession) and I know/treated people on/who had (insert drug/mental disorder)



This is not me dismissing nor mocking anyone's medical, physical and mental conditions. I am open to listening to those experiences, as I connect with others sometimes when I can resonate. They still remain anecdotes, meaning that we all respond and react to things differently.


Anecdotal evidence doesn't show nor tell me Chris Cornell suffered a relapse with "Ativan" leading him to "end his own life". And just because no one significant to Chris, besides Vicky Karayiannis, have publicly confirmed nor denied the narrative resulting in Chris "ending his own life" with his supposed relapse, doesn't invalidate what I believe outside of that narrative.





HIGHER TRUTH: A CONVERSATION.


Picture I took of Chris. @Jack Singer Concert Hall. Calgary, AB. Sunday, July 24th/16.



I felt Higher Truth openly shares combating what most of us struggle with, easing the listener that it's alright and you're human. Family, love, conflict and betrayal are themes beautifully sung throughout the record. When I saw Chris in Calgary 3 years ago, I remember him saying, ". . .the song was unfinished." and ". . . my wife really liked it, so I finished it." before sweetly working into "Josephine." After Chris died, I watched tons of uploaded videos of the Higher Truth tour with him briefly explaining many songs before singing them. "Josephine" especially. He even explains the presence of that red telephone! Now I know it belonged to Jeff Buckley!


Cameron Crowe, you know, the guy who wrote and directed "Singles", talks about Higher Truth with Chris.


I personally listened to their conversation on Spotify: HIGHER TRUTH: A conversation with Chris Cornell & Cameron Crowe.


Higher Truth, especially after Chris's death, is among one of many resources that are actually helpful in ending the stigma.


A record with songs that express triumph and celebrates life.



"It's about trying to step out of being patterned and closed off and reclusive, which I've always had a problem with. It's about attempting to be normal and just go out and be around other people and hang out. I have a tendency to sometimes be pretty closed off and not see people for long periods of time and not call anyone. It's actually, in a way, a hopeful song. Especially the lines "One more time around/Might get it," which is basically saying, 'I tried today to understand and belong and get along with other people, and I failed, but I'll probably try again tomorrow.' A lot of people misinterpreted that song as a suicide-note song. Taking the word live too literally. "The Day I Tried to Live" means more like the day I actually tried to open up myself and experience everything that's going on around me as opposed to blowing it all off and hiding in a cave." - Chris Cornell in 1994; Rolling Stone: under, Is “The Day I Tried to Live” on Superunknown a heroin song?




" You don't know what drives somebody to do that, but if I ever committed suicide, I would do it in a way that meant no one ever knew that it was suicide - because to me, the biggest fear of killing myself would be what it would do to my friends and family." "If things are fucked enough that I want to kill myself, the last thing I want to do is go out and really fucking hurt a bunch of other people." - Chris Cornell in 1994 on Kurt Cobain's death; Tales from the Crypt! 55th paragraph.

*Read the entirety of the articles linked.*

“If I think about the evolution of my life as it appears in songs for example, Higher Truth is a great example of a record I wouldn’t have been able to write, and part of that is in essence because there was a period of time there where I didn’t expect to be here. . .,”

“And now not only do I expect to be here, and I’m not going anywhere, but I’ve had the last 12 years of my life being free of substances to kind of figure out who the substance-free guy is, because he’s a different guy. Just by brain chemistry, it can’t be avoided. I’m not the same, I don’t think the same, I don’t react the same. And my outlook isn’t necessarily the same. My creative endeavors aren’t necessarily the same. And one of the great things about that is it enabled me to kind of keep going artistically and find new places and shine the light into new corners where I hadn’t really gone before. And that feels really good.” - Chris Cornell; 2015. The Life & Times of Chris Cornell (Link provided is to a Wikipedia page with Chris's many quotes. Rolling Stone Australia; The The Life & Times of Chris Cornell, an article from which the quote is from an interview Chris had with the publication, is no longer available. What Chris Cornell Has Said About Depression and Addiction published May, 18th/17 is another source of the quote.

"What ends up happening with musicians and actors is, they're famous, so when somebody has an issue, it's something that gets talked about,"

"People die of drug overdoses every day that nobody talks about. It's a shame that famous people get all the focus, because it then gets glorified a little bit, like, 'This person was too sensitive for the world,' and, 'A light twice as bright lives half as long,' and all that. Which is all bulls---. It's not true." Chris Cornell; 2016. Chris Cornell talks about his latest reinvention, living in Florida​ *4th to the last paragraph.

*Read the entirety of the articles linked.*


IN TIME. . .


There's certainly more to Chris's passing than what was presented, and perhaps, while I acknowledge and understand so, that the actual truth on Chris's death is best not to be revealed nor discussed. Though I believe only time will tell, I really felt the truth revealed itself the night Chris's physical life was taken.


The truth revealed that night through Chris's final interactions with the fans.

Come let’s sit in the sun Feel the world spin around As the birds fly overhead Can’t you hear the waves Can’t you feel the rain As it falls upon your face - HIGHER TRUTH.

#nomorebullshit.