by Claudia Garcia, MBA,BSN,RN,LAC
Legends never die. The ironic complexity of this age-old adage is all too familiar. The recent news about the tragic death of 28-year-old Swedish EDM artist Avicii (born Tim Bergling) has sent shockwaves throughout the music world and serves as another example of the devastation alcoholism and substance abuse has caused.
In April, Avicii joined the slew of other well known iconic artists who succumbed to substance abuse - many of whom are members of the eerily, yet aptly dubbed “27 Club.” This includes legends like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain, all who struggled with substance abuse in some capacity and ultimately lost their lives as a direct result of it. While Avicii may not be considered a member of the infamous club, he certainly shares in their all too familiar tragedies.
Investigators ruled Avicii’s death a suicide, bringing another familiar struggle to the forefront: Mental Health. Relatives close to the artist made the following statement to Rolling Stone: "Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. His family continued, "He really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”
Sources say Avicii struggled with anxiety, in part due to the speed at which his celebrity had gained traction. Relatives say he was an “over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress,” and said he was “not made for the business machine he found himself in.” It goes without saying that being successful in the music biz isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s an industry fueled by a seemingly endless need to please fans and convert critics. It can be a mind numbing mental siege for which there is no relief. If not managed properly, that level of stress can lead to a life imprisoned by substance abuse. For Avicii, what he chose to relieve his stress may have ironically played a role in his decent.
Avicii had previously been hospitalized for his alcoholism. In fact, at the young age of 21, he was treated for acute pancreatitis that he attributed to his drinking. In 2016, he stepped back from performing live for the sake of his mental and physical health. He was trying to piece his life back together and had been working on what was said to be some of his best work. Tragically, he was never able to finish what he’d started – his life was too much for him, and ultimately the world lost another gift. There is always something to be learned from such tragedies, but can we stop it from getting to that point? We can.
Avicii’s struggles are not all that different from so many other professionals struggling to survive the day-to-day demands of their varied industries. A well-balanced lifestyle can be difficult when what’s required of you can seem endless. Gifts and talents can sometimes seem like both a blessing and a curse. Yet, not all stories have to end in tragedy. Your story can be different. We believe in your ability to recover. We believe in you. For more information, please visit us at parkdalecenter.com.