Monday, April 13, 2015

#12Large Forever

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Saturday marked four years since Larry Sweeney took his own life. Sweeney, real name Alex Whybrow, battled depression and bipolar disorder for a long time before his passing. He touched a ton of people throughout his career, whether in the locker room or in the stands. He was an essential part of Chikara, and remains so today in spirit. The people whose lives he affected range all the way up to the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion; one could say his influence and love were omnipresent in independent wrestling in the first decade of the 21st Century.

I did not have the privilege of knowing Sweeney through his art until the very end, when he unmasked as Vökodor at the 2010 Cibernetico in Easton, PA. It would be his last in-ring appearance for Chikara. However, the effect of his passing has had an impact on me through the people he loved and who loved him in his life. The stark tribute to him before the first night of King of Trios in 2011 stands etched in my mind, and it continues to reinforce the idea that suicide rarely if ever only affects the person who takes his or her own life.

If you're battling depression, please know that you can talk to anyone, whether it be a professional or just a friend. Talking helps. Opening up can be cathartic. No matter who you are, someone out there cares about you. If you've lost all hope, then know that even in your darkest hour, you can still call any number of suicide hotlines that will help you get through what you need to get through. Someone loves you, even if you don't know it.