Existential Anxiety Killed Avicii and People Still Don’t Take it Seriously

I’m almost certain everyone will have heard of Avicii, being one of the biggest EDM DJs who grew to fame very quickly. Avicii, also Tim Bergling lives an exhaustive life of travelling the world and performing in front of thousands of people almost every night. With his enormous world wide success, came a huge sacrifice which caused him to suffer pretty much in silence for way too long.

People will quickly judge and say that drugs and party lifestyle is what killed Avicii, when in fact it did not. He didn’t die through physical health problems, although he did have them. Avicii took his own life from an existential crisis and severe unhappiness with how his life was. It seems crazy that someone who was so rich, successful and earned a living travelling the world to DJ at the biggest events could be so sad. But it’s the brutal reality that mental health issues can affect anyone at any time. Mental health issues don’t discriminate, you could be the richest man in the world and you could still be affected. I think people need to start educating themselves and taking it a lot more seriously.

Avicii struggled with existential anxiety. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a constant burden of trying to come to terms with the meaning of life. He was a very passionate and thoughtful artist who just could not find the true meaning of his life and where he ought to belong. Combine this form of anxiety with a hectic life of live shows in the ever-damaging nightlife industry and you have a seriously scary situation.

I was fascinated and of course saddened by the death of Avicii, I remember at first being completely shocked as I’m sure everyone else was – why would someone so successful and seemingly living the dream end up killing the selves? I’m certain that the majority of the publics first assumptions will have been to blame drug taking. Who knows if Avicii consumed drugs, based on his lifestyle it is very likely. But I cannot stand when people just label a suicide or death as drug related and leave it at that. You need to look more into it, especially when it’s suicidal. There is so many opinionated ignorant people who will just say ‘oh well that’s what you get for taking drugs often’ rather than realising that the complex human mind is way more deep than that. Avicii has serious mental health issues and it is important to highlight how he died, as a way of educating people to realise how serious mental health problems are.

After his devastating death, his family released a statement:

Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life, to be happy and be able to do what he loved most: music.

Tim began as a teenage bedroom DJ who just loved making music, before being discovered on the internet and grew to rapid fame through his track Levels (which is a banger and I’m sure everyone remembers). Nothing could have prepared him for how his life would have changed. Being discovered and whisked around the world sounds like a dream, but for a young boy can be so daunting and damaging. His life was overtaken completely, he could not say no to shows and the lifestyle is came with it. It is no secret that he was completely over worked, committing so sometimes more than one show per day at a constant rate for years. This will eventually take its toll on an already fragile being.

Avicii obviously had enough of the exhaustive lifestyle, announcing his retirement from music in a statement where he hinted at his existential anxiety. He struggled to accept his life, he wanted so much more out of his existence than just playing music to people.

Yes, music was his passion and he loved making it. But the materialism and energy that came with being a famous DJ didn’t sit well with him. In 2016 in his Billboard interview he said

The scene was not for me. It was not the shows and not the music. It was always the other stuff surrounding it that never came naturally to me. All the other parts of being an artist. I’m more of an introverted person in general. It was always very hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy, I think.

The fact that the impact of this industry lead Tim to a very dark place with his mental health, leading to his own suicide is devastating. He was treated like a machine, existing only to provide entertainment and fulfil headlines of events. He wasn’t treated like a person and this affected him greatly.

Already a deep artist, he thought a lot into how he was treated and what he was fulfilling in his life. He spoke about his interests outside of the music industry and his ambitions to fulfil his personal aspirations besides being a DJ. Music was his job and it took over his life, he had no time to just be Tim, he constantly had to be Avicii, he biggest EDM DJ at the time.

These entertainers are people, who lack self care and help. In various interviews, Avicii spoke quite transparently about his struggles and his desire to break free from his lifestyle. It’s devastating that no one listened, and look what happened.

The main message I wanted to put out from this blog is that if you’re not happy with your life, change it. You cannot be forced into living a stressful life from pressure of other people, if it affects your mental health and happiness.

I think we can all relate to this on some level. Whether you don’t like your job and find yourself living for the weekend, or you’re struggling to find a career that you feel fulfilled in. I definitely relate to this (sounds a bit weird coming from a student from Cumbria saying she relates to a worldwide DJ), but I constantly worry about whether I’m fulfilled in life and have found myself in some pretty dark mindsets where I didn’t feel like life was work carrying on.

I feel like my life should mean more than working 9-5 to fulfil someone else’s dream. I feel like life can get really depressing if you’re not going something you love. At one point I kind of accepted that life is just meant to be that way and happiness is impossible. But it can’t be, if you fight for your own happiness then life can be beautiful. Think about what will make you happy and then do it. If that means giving up society all together and living in the jungle as part of a tribe then do it. If that means being your own boss and creating a fortune then start your own business.

I’m particularly struggling with existentialism at this point in my life. I’ve spent the last three years in uni surrounded by my best friends, went to live in ibiza for three months meeting new people every day and never having a boring moment to myself to now living quite an isolated life living alone and working with pretty much no social life. It’s been such a big change and I definitely have never felt loneliness like it, I think when you’ve experienced a lifestyle like travelling and being in a fun environment it definitely hits you hard when you come back to live alone and work full time. I just can’t settle with this life and I want something more, I cannot accept that this is what life is all about. I want happiness so bad and to just feel fulfilled in my life, but I’m definitely determined to get that for once.

We truly do have control of our own lives and I think Avicii’s story is a devastating example of what happens if you don’t just do what makes you happy. NOTHING is worth more than your own mental health. Be selfish, cut off relationships or friendships, quit a job that you hate, we all have the power to change our own lives. I’ve a long way to go but I’m always looking for ways to get my happiness, although I’m not sure where that might be yet I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m ready to work for a life I enjoy. Being selfish and focusing on yourself is more than okay and we should all do it. If only Avicii thought ‘fuck this’ and threw in the towel a lot earlier.

Beauty by Disaster x

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