Avicii’s diaries detail his mental health issues
Avicii, born Tim Bergling, was a popular Swedish DJ, songwriter and producer. With chart-topping songs like “Levels” and “Wake Me Up”, Avicii’s music was redefining the genre. Despite Avicii’s early success, the artist’s lifelong struggles with anxiety and addiction led to his death by suicide in 2018.
A recently published biography, written by Mans Mosesson, details how Mental Health worries and addiction were present in the life of the Grammy-nominated musician. For Moseeson Tim – Avicii’s official biography, the author had access to Avicii’s personal diaries. These journal entries reveal just how much the DJ struggled in the years leading up to his death.
Early substance use and the dissociation of Avicii
Avicii was in high school when he was smoking Marijuana for the first time. This experience caused an episode of paranoia for Bergling that resulted in feelings of derealization. He began to feel unconnected to the world around him. While in this state, Avicii confessed his substance use to his parents and expressed concern that the marijuana had triggered a psychosis. They took him to see a child psychologist who eased their concerns.
What Avicii was likely going through after using marijuana for the first time was a period of dissociation. It can be defined as a disconnect between a person’s memories, feelings, behaviors, perceptions, or sense of self. Although dissociation is often mild, it can also become a disorder that can interfere with an individual’s daily life. Studies have shown that derealization can occur after an individual has used marijuana, not as a cause of use, but rather can be triggered by the substance. These sensations may appear after first use or after prolonged and repeated use.
Lifelong struggles with anxiety
Dissociation can also accompany the majority of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Avicii, who has often been described as a shy person, struggled with both of these conditions throughout his life. As a teenager, he was self-conscious about his appearance, especially his nose and his acne.
Fame, success, and DJ’s lifestyle only increased Avicii’s anxiety and substance use. Being recognized by fans in public, performance nerves and a grueling touring schedule led him to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.
“I feel like I’m going to pass out every day now. And not just today and this tour, but since the first time I mentioned that I felt exhausted. Fairly regularly, but I pushes back and I choose not to talk about it because there is nothing I can do about it,” he told his manager in 2011.
Health problems caused by substance use of Avicii
In 2012, at age 22, Avicii was admitted to hospital with extreme stomach pain. It was determined that he suffered from acute pancreatitis due to excessive alcohol consumption. Doctors told him to cure the inflammation in his stomach by avoiding junk food and staying sober for at least 6 months. While in hospital, he was also prescribed Oxycodonea Opioidto face the pain.
Once back on tour, Avicii added taking pills to his old habits of poor eating, drinking and not sleeping. In journal entries in Mosesson’s book, he wrote, “Of course, I didn’t listen to the majority of doctors. I listened to the couple who said it would be nice if I was careful. I was ignorant and naive and I went around the world, always on endless tour because once you circled it once, guess what? You start over right away.
When stomach pains returned in 2013, doctors recommended Avicii have his gallbladder removed. He chose not to have the procedure until he had more free time in his schedule. The following year, her appendix ruptured and her gallbladder was removed. Both hospital stays resulted in the prescription of additional painkillers.
An intervention in Ibiza
Following his cycle of hospital visits, Avicii’s loved ones began to notice his behavior changing. He was often irritable and acted erratically. In 2014, her parents tried to help her with her opioid addiction. He resisted their help and flew to Los Angeles where a personal doctor would write to him prescriptions when he wanted.
After twice needing to pump his stomach from a mixture of pills and alcohol, his friends and family staged a intervention. This intervention took place in Ibiza where Avicii gave some shows. He agreed to enter a quiet and expensive place treatment program on the Spanish island. It was during this 1 month of intensive, inpatient rehabilitationthat Avicii came to understand that his addiction was a coping mechanism for his mental health issues.
“I had to have it explained to me very logically and like a caveman for me to really understand its nature and how it was hurting me. Ouch, pain. Why am I in pain now? Feeling uncomfortable. Future Time s’ deals with pain. The future deals with pain better than current Tim because there are already too many more urgent pains present to deal with,” he wrote in his diary during the treatment program. ‘Ibiza.
Avicii’s life after rehab
Once he has finished his month in rehab, Avicii seemed to have a new outlook on life. It was meditate regularly, reading about the collective unconscious, and I had a puppy. After being away for a long time, he returned to the stage in 2016 at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. It was announced a few days after this concert that he would no longer perform live. Avicii chose not to play so he could focus on improving his mental health.
Although he seems to have a newfound stability, Avicii is still struggling to cope with his mental health issues. While continuing to suppress the anxiety and depression he frequently felt, Avicii also began to lose interest in his music career. During this time, he smoked and drank on occasion, which may have led to a resurgence of his feelings of dissociation.
He told Tereza Kacerova, his girlfriend at the time, “What if everyone around me was just a projection in my mind? Sometimes I just think about those things. About the fact that nothing really matters.
Avicii began to focus heavily on meditation, which he found helpful in clearing “nonsense” from his mind. He believed that a deep form of meditation taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a way to exercise his brain which he believed would lead to his happiness. Although this form of meditation is usually done in 20-minute increments, Avicii would sometimes spend entire days meditating in an effort to achieve enlightenment more quickly.
During a trip to Muscat, Oman, one of Avicii’s friends called his father to express his concerns for the DJ’s well-being. The friend described Avicii’s intense meditation and shared that he refused to eat, talk or take shelter from the sun. Just a day later, on April 20, 2018, Avicii committed suicide. Avicii was 28 years old.
Addiction and suicide
For Americans of all ages, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. Those, like Avicii, who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), are at higher risk of death from suicide. In fact, those who drink heavily are 5 times more likely to die by suicide than those who drink socially. In recent years, suicides related to opioid addiction have nearly doubled.
It is common for people at risk of suicide to struggle with addiction and other mental health risk factors such as depression, anxiety, chronic illnesses and a history of abuse. Since drugs and alcohol can aggravate these conditions while increasing aggressive behavior and reducing inhibitions, suicidal thoughts may occur.
It is important to be able to recognize changes in behavior that could indicate that a loved one may be suicidal. Behavioral signs include:
- Admit to feeling trapped, hopeless or aimless in life
- Excessive sleep or sleep disturbances
- Struggling to control anger
- hurt yourself physically
Relapse can also be an indicator that a person is having suicidal thoughts.