“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.” ~ Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf
On Friday 20th April, in the city of Muscat, world famous Swedish EDM DJ Tim Bergling, known as Avicii, tragically died at 28.
Although the exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed, his family has shared a few words that explain a little more about the mental health of this creative and artistic genius.
Translated from Swedish here are their words:
“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.
He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.
He could not go on any longer.
He wanted to find peace.
Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.
Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed.
The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive. We love you,
I find it heartbreaking that our world has lost yet another highly sensitive, beautiful soul far too soon. Avicii described himself as an “introvert,” and being an introvert and writer, I know too well how torturous it can be at times when you exist, for the most part, internally.
Many people become more introverted as they go through life, mainly because they become disillusioned by the external world and they struggle to understand why some humans behave in ways that are manipulative, chaotic, and destructive.
They often turn inwards, partly to escape and partly to try to find those “existential” answers his family mentioned.
Introverts, generally speaking, are ultra sensitive to external energy, and are deeply affected by the emotional, psychological, and physical pain that millions of people and animals suffer daily. They ache to start a revolution that heals the whole world, that takes away all forms of harm, yet they know it isn’t as simple as it sounds, or likely even possible.
Introverts struggle to watch people treat one another harmfully, or to see how privilege determines opportunities, and how demands are born from entitlement. They become exhausted by the human-to-human and human-to-creature indifference and disconnection.
Introverts see the world with an alternative perception, and because of this they find it extremely difficult to operate externally in this world.
Introverts are deeply intuitive souls, and are sensitive to other people’s energy levels, and highly attuned to their surroundings. Although they may love socializing and creating deep bonds with others, they can also find other people’s company intrusive and overbearing.
When around certain people, introverts can often feel as though their personal space is invaded due to the vast amount of energy that is whirling around and interlocking with their own. Introverts often prefer to exist in absolute silence, whereas extroverts tend to feel more at ease with external visuals, noise, or company for stimulation.
Although there are aspects of an introvert’s character that would love to venture out into the world and mix freely, when they do they often find themselves yearning to return to a haven that feels safe and secure, as the bombardment of external energy can become too intense. There is constantly an incredible amount of energetic data flushing through their minds, so it is vital that introverts spend periods alone where they can allow the stimuli the opportunity to simmer down; however, that can turn to loneliness, which can also cause suffering.
It can be exquisite to experience life when you’re hypersensitive to energy, and it can be beneficial to be able to read situations without the need for words. However, it can also be exceptionally draining, traumatic, and can cause emotional and psychological overload and distress, particularly when interacting with those whose energy feels toxic or those whose energy feels pressurising, heavy, and weighs us down. This can result in introverts feeling emotionally and physically burned out, and even more alone with a stronger urge to completely close off.
Many introverts become reclusive over time as they struggle to find other people who experience life as they do. This can lead them to feeling as though they exist on the outer edge of society, experiencing loneliness, or, in more extreme cases, becoming ostracized and isolated.
High levels of self-esteem and self-worth can be difficult for introverts to achieve as they do not look to other people to validate their character, nor do they seek recognition, ego-boosting compliments, financial reward, validation, or endorsements. They are quiet achievers and would rather create without anyone knowing its source.
Introverts question their identity and scrutinize their core traits, and spend so much time trying to navigate their inner world and making sense of the enigma of life that they may go through low periods of anxiety or depression while unearthing some of the darker aspects of themselves and the outer world.
Social events can be excruciatingly painful for introverts, which can be frustrating, as they enjoy venturing out—but if it is to the wrong places, their energy floods out from them, often leaving them riddled with anxiety and extreme exhaustion.
However, introverts will likely feel energized and at ease at events where there is a common focus, such as concerts, sporting events, and festivals, as everyone is there for a similar purpose and the energy has accumulated so that everyone is vibrating on a similar frequency. This is why many musicians feel compelled to perform, and are energised while doing so, but many of the other aspects of the industry deplete them.
It is believed that introverts naturally perform better in low-stimuli, low-pressure environments, whereas extroverts perform better with a higher amount of stimuli and greater pressure.
Introverts can become so immersed in their hobbies and passions that innate talents and skills rise to the surface, and this can lead to a high standard of output. They think, feel, and behave in ways quite differently than those around them and their alternative perceptions are visible through their creations. Often introverts can find it difficult to explain how the intricacies of their mind work, yet through creativity they are able to channel their thoughts, ideas, and feelings and put them into context through artistic expression.
The first time many introverts attune to their creativity is during childhood, due to an overwhelming cathartic desire to escape to the safety of their imaginative, curious, inquisitive inner minds. Introverts are naturally creative and innovative, and find that a form of art is the ideal platform to express and imprint their complex matrix of emotions.
Although introverts are sometimes the great philosophizers, genius thinkers, inventors, creators, and artists of the world, they are not always the ones who make it to the top of their field due to their desire to live by their own rules, outside the established norm. They would sacrifice all for their art and choose living true to what resonates with their soul above being tempted by material goods or financial wealth.
Processing emotions and feelings through art is a deeply personal way to exist; it can be testing for them to open up and expose themselves to anyone who may be observing. Even though introverts may feel compelled to open up, this is an area of conflict for many introverts—they want to share, as they feel others may relate and resonate with it, but they also have elements that they want to keep private, so they have a strong desire to close the curtains and hibernate where no one can see their internal wiring.
For an introvert, showcasing creativity can rub against their naturally introverted grain. They do not like to be center of attention, and this is partly because they are not comfortable with the emotions that can arise when the spotlight is turned on them.
A recent documentary called Avicii: True Stories, showed Avicii saying, “I don’t really like being centre of attention.” He explained, ”I have said, like, I’m going to die. I have said it so many times,” adding, “And so I don’t want to hear that I should entertain the thought of doing another gig.”
Avicii quit touring in 2016 after an excessively heavy schedule and explained, “‘When I decided to stop, I expected something completely different. I expected support, particularly considering everything I have been through.”
Avicii spoke more about his struggle in a clip from the documentary:
“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. They have seen how ill I have felt by doing it, but I had a lot of push-back when I wanted to stop doing gigs.”
Avicii also spoke about his battle with alcohol abuse, which many people use as a coping-mechanism when they are pushed to their breaking point.
Although externally people could look on and think Avicii had a life most would dream of, touring the world and earning a fortune, the pressure and demands that arose from this lifestyle were not as visible, and neither were his internal suffering and emotional and mental struggles.
The UK charity, Help Musicians, published a study in 2016 called “Can Music Make You Sick?”. They found that 69 percent of its 2,211 participants had experienced depression, and 71 percent had panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety. It also found that people in the music industry may be up to three times more likely to experience depression than the general public.
Hopefully Avicii’s tragic passing will serve to raise vital awareness and support many others artists before it is to late.
“The biographies of great artists make it abundantly clear that the creative urge is often so imperious that it battens onto their humanity and yokes everything to the service of the work, even at the cost of ordinary health and human happiness.” ~ Carl Jung
Avicii’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but if anyone is suffering with mental health or suicidal thoughts please contact:
For support and assistance in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. In an emergency call 911.
For support and assistance in the United Kingdom, call 111 or contact a local accident and emergency center, and ask for details of the nearest CRT (Crisis Resolution Team) team. In an emergency, call 999.
For support and assistance in Australia call, 13 11 14.
For worldwide online support, click here.
Please click here for a link to supporting someone who feels suicidal.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: @avicii; YouTube
Editor: Emily Bartran
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
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