Avicii Depression (A voice silenced)

This blog post is a brief guide to understand Avicii’s depression. Avicii was a famous musician, and DJ who grew popular in the 2010s. We will gather some information about his life, his struggles being in the limelight, how he used music as a medium to emote. Unfortunately, he died by suicide in 2018, therefore we will also look at how to get help in case you or anyone you know is battling depression.  

Was Avicii depressed?

Avicii was in depression on a daily basis because of the stress his work posed on him. In 2016, he announced his retirement from touring stating health concerns and struggles with poor mental health. He was often very vocal on his social media platforms about how a period in his life was “intense, stressful and hurtful” based on which a documentary film was released. 

Often behind the glamorous curtains of fame and success, live lonely individuals who find their life very overwhelming. Avicii mentioned that his touring, promotional, and performing schedules were very rough on him which often made him rely on alcohol and drugs to keep himself afloat.

His challenges were very evident to his close circle and management team but it is difficult to say no to the demanding media and fans requests. The thing with fame is that it sustains purely on the fans who follow your work. For celebrities, it almost acts as a fear-evoking challenge to keep pleasing their fans in order to not lose what they earned over the years. Avicii too kept pushing himself often reaching intense levels of burnouts.  

Habitual emotional burnouts are considered mental health issues which if not addressed can lead to illnesses like anxiety disorders, depression, etc. Avicii did realize that the underlying issue in his case was excessive workload, therefore it would have been the best for him to stop touring altogether. While he could act on the underlying issue, he found it difficult to seek support from professional sources and his fans were not a kind source of motivation either.   

When he decided to retire from touring, he firmly told his management team “I’m going to die, I have said it so many times. And so I don’t want to hear that I should entertain the thought of doing another gig.” 

He explicitly shared about how tough it was for him to cope with his decision of retirement without any support from his fans, “I have been very open with everyone I work with, and everyone who knows me … When I decided to stop (touring), I expected something completely different. I expected support, particularly considering everything I have been through. Everyone knows that I’ve had anxiety and that I have tried. I did not expect that people would try to pressure me into doing more gigs.”

We can only imagine what it would have been like for him to face his demons amidst an ungrateful and unsupportive crowd around him. 

Who is Avicii?

If you have ever hummed along with the songs ‘Wake Me Up’, ‘The Nights’, and ‘I could be The One’ you already know who I’m talking about. A name so popular that barely requires an introduction, Avicii was a star right from his teen years. Lesser-known by his real name, Tim Bergling, was a Swedish DJ, musician, songwriter, remixer, and record producer. He adopted the stage name Avicii and by age 16, he began posting his remixes on electronic music forums and soon he bagged his first record deal. His track ‘Levels’ was so well received. His debut album titled ‘True’ was an interesting mix of electronic music with the essence of Country-Western music. ‘True’ was in the top ten charts in more than 15 countries which proves that he had a gripped global audience.     

Bergling received a nomination for a Grammy Award for his work on “Sunshine” with David Guetta in 2012 and “Levels” in 2013. Avicii was also given credits by many music publications as among the finest DJs who paved way for EDM into Top 40 radio in the early 2010s.

In 2016, it came as a surprise for many fans when, as a 26-year-old, he announced that he was retiring from touring for concerts and shows because of health concerns and poor mental health status. On 20 April 2018, he, unfortunately, died by suicide in Muscat sending shock waves across the hearts of everyone who loved him and his work. His third and final album, Tim, was released posthumously in 2019.

Music as a medium of catharsis and expression 

For many people listening to music and music-making is a form of expression and catharsis. Speaking about difficult emotions or life experiences can be triggering for most people that is when music comes as a form of relief for them. Song or poem writing serves as a mode of penning down difficult thoughts and emotions in a non-judgemental and non-threatening space.  The output in the form of a beautiful creation leaves behind a feeling of contentment and calm in the mind and heart of the creator. For artists, when their cathartic piece of work receives massive support and applause it feels like their pain was validated and understood. It also serves as a source of income for them.    

What is catharsis?

Catharsis is a process where a person vents out their strong repressed emotions, preferably through art or some other medium of communication, which enables the person to develop a sense of restored balance and energy. 

The word is derived from the Greek word kathairein, meaning “to cleanse, purge.” Catharsis began to be used in English initially as a medical term that was related to purging the body—and especially the intestines and bowels—of toxins and other unwanted material. The adjective cathartic began to be used in English with a meaning descriptive of such a physically cleansing purge. Soon after that, the words were figuratively used in reference to emotional release and spiritual cleansing.

There is a mixed response in the field of psychology on how well catharsis works because initial researches indicated that expressing anger using activities like hammering a nail just lead to more anger in the person. Or, using intense physical exercise to calm down the emotion of rage just lead to increased heart rate and more physiological concerns. 

But, bottling up emotions never did anybody any good. So if speaking is difficult for you, channelize your energy into a creative way of catharsis. Using creative means to cathart has been beneficial for many because it involved using the mind to think and calm down which is different than mindless hammering of a nail. 

An example of an ideal cathartic activity could be a mother playing a musical instrument or scribbling/ penning down her thoughts after a long day of caretaking, professional duties, and other chores.

Why are catharsis and self-expression important?

Repression and suppression are defense mechanisms that humans often use to avoid feeling strong unwelcomed emotions. 

Repression involves pushing down thoughts or emotions unconsciously out of your awareness. And suppression is trying to forget painful or unwanted thoughts. Both these defense mechanisms may seem like they are working momentarily but in the long run, when it gets difficult to keep the pain and emotions stuffed inside you there could be an outburst of the emotions. 

It is always better to take the road towards expression and acceptance. It will be more difficult to walk through but it will surely do you more good than harm.

Some benefits of self-expression are:

  • Reduced frequency and intensity of anxious or depressed thoughts. 
  • Eased out mental and emotional pain
  • Better management and coping with feelings and emotions.
  • A better understanding of self. 
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • A better communication ability. 
  • Improved “flow” of creativity and expression.  

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

How to deal with emotional burnouts and depression 

Focus on the basic needs of survival

When facing emotional burnouts and depression, take small steps of self-care and appreciate the little victories when your health is recovering. Find joy in being able to feed yourself, bathe your body, being able to move and exercise and do the bare minimum of your chores. 

Know

Know that your emotions are valid. Know that sometimes what you think and what you feel may not be aligned with each other. It is okay to not know everything about what you are feeling and why. Be patient with the process of healing and find resources to help you understand your depression and how to seek help. 

Write

Write down what you feel, why you think it is happening, what you wish you could feel, and what according to you will help you feel the ideal way. Speaking to people and explaining your state might be helpful but difficult. Writing may be a good source of venting everything out. If writing does not resonate with your likes, try painting, singing, or dancing. The idea is to keep the stuck energy moving and flowing in some way.   

Seek social support

Social support from family and friends would be great. But if their support is inadequate for you, join support groups for anxiety/depression/trauma/etc. A sense of being understood and secure can help your emotions feel validated.  

Seek professional help

Consult a psychiatrist in case you need medication to treat your symptoms of depression. Before and along with psychiatric help, consult a psychotherapist/counselor who can psychologically help you understand and elevate your pain. They can help you get rid of irrational thinking patterns and help you replace them with acceptance, gratitude, and emotionally benefitting logical thinking. 

Conclusion

This blog post was a brief guide to understand Avicii’s depression. Avicii was a famous musician, and DJ who grew up popular in the 2010s. We gathered some information about his life, his struggles being in the limelight, how he used music as a medium to emote. The loss of his life is a reminder for everyone struggling with depression that help can be sought, therefore we also looked at how to get help in case you or anyone you know is battling depression.

Frequently Asked Questions: Avicii Depression 

What was the last song Avicii made before he died?

The last song that Avicii worked on was released a year after his death and was titled ‘SOS’. The money earned out of this release proceeded to organizations working to prevent suicide. 

What health issues did Avicii have?

Due to excessive drinking, Avicii suffered from acute pancreatitis for years before his death. Symptoms of acute pancreatitis can be upper abdominal pain that can cover the back too it might get worse after eating food because of the load on the digestive system, increased heart rate, nausea, and vomiting, fever, tenderness when touching the abdomen. 

Apart from this, he had mental health concerns like depression and burnouts too.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioral therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/recovering-from-burnout.htm

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