Avicii’s Lasting Legacy On Mental Health

2 million Twitter followers, 7.2 million Instagram followers and 85 million dollars are the stats he died with. Tim Bergling’s suicide forces me to think that if his stats weren’t enough for him, will they ever be enough for those that yearn for wealth and fame.

“It was a lot of work. A lot of heavy tours. And I just kind of went with the punches that came along because I was so extremely lucky to be able to do what I am doing.”

Tim Bergling is Avicii’s real name. He took his life on April 20, 2018. According to his family and friends, they were aware that Tim struggled with finding answers to age-old questions concerning how to find his own happiness. However, they were surprised at what happened. Tim struggled throughout his short journey, but he prioritized himself when it mattered most.

Avicii was not your average world-famous, multi-millionaire DJ. He not only got very nervous before his performances, but he eventually grew to not enjoy them. Tim’s passion was music making. His center was sitting in the studio and mixing tracks until the Earth did a full spin, and then maybe he’d take a nap. Tim’s story begins when he began to realize that he did not want to live the life of a performing DJ. It took him 8 years to find this out.

Avicii's Lasting Legacy On Mental Health

“I was running after an ideal happiness that wasn’t my own.” – Tim

His journey from a 16-year-old kid sending tracks to a local DJ to see if they were any good, to an international craze was a fast and wild one. At age 18, after he played his first Avicii gig in Miami in 2007, his career on the road was off to the races. He would tour over 830 times in 8 years.

Tim’s nervousness got the best of him before his live performances. He drank to prepare to go on stage and play for thousands of crazed fans. We can’t even imagine how destructive of a routine it became for Tim after a couple hundred performances. His alcohol dependence rose as time went on.

“I didn’t expect people to push me to do more shows when they’d seen how shitty I felt.”

Tim is a sensitive soul. He was comfortable to speak on camera about his feelings. In Levan Tsikurishvili’s 2017 documentary Avicii: True Stories, the audience is introduced to the human behind the Avicii brand. On a tour bus, Tim, a scrawny and unshaven 25 year old, is wearing a bomber jacket while he talks to a fellow musician about something he read that day. He says:

“I’ve found something really great. You know Carl Jung? He was a psychoanalyst who had this system of personality types… According to this, I’m an introvert… For example, I struggle a lot with small talk. I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t enjoy it at all. I get nothing out of it. I have deep talks with people, so small talk is something I have to suffer through rather than something I enjoy. I’ve always felt judged for being an introvert. I’ve felt like being an introvert is inferior. And just reading about it today. I mean, I’ve read a lot of things the last six months, but this was incredible. It’s stuff like that, the evolution of everything that I’ve been reading about all day.”

Tim knew that a successful person constantly in the public eye does not always have to act composed and sure-hearted, they can be honest and admit they are confused sometimes (like the rest of us).

Avicii's Lasting Legacy On Mental Health

Part of Tim’s confusion in life rested on how the rest of the world wanted him to perform live, when he did not. He detested the way it made him feel inside: he just wanted to make music and “Speak to my fans through my music.” Tim had made his announcement that he would retire from touring after his summer tour of 2016. At this point in his career, he knew it deep down that he did not like to perform live, and he prioritized himself by making the decision that would be best for him. He, of course, caught flack from his manager, and lost the people that worked for him a potential of millions of dollars. But for a guy so high profile as Avicii, any major decision he makes will have major consequences.

Avicii's Lasting Legacy On Mental Health

“I’ve told them over and over I won’t be able to play anymore. I’ve told them it will kill me.” – Tim

Tim Bergling did not make his fortune because he was motivated by money. He was motivated for his love of producing music. Of the many lessons he taught us, the one that I argue inmost important is that prioritizing yourself is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. He prioritized himself by choosing to obsess over music production. He put others first when he began touring, and he got lost in the pressure of attaining a happiness that wasn’t his. He hurt himself in this way, as we all have. And then he fought back.

He went on an 8-month tour hiatus in 2015, to do what he loved: make and not perform music. Afterward, he turned down the prospect of millions of dollars because he knew the process to that money would hurt, more than help him. In the weeks before his visit to Oman, he engaged in several sessions with a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation: something Tim wanted to learn more of and practice for his own good. Tim’s work ethic and story inspires me to prioritize my needs in life, and only compromise for those I love.

The legacy Tim Bergling-Avicii has created for mental health is a reminder of who the most important person is: me. We lost a genius last year, and countless more all other years, famous and not, who left once they reached the end of their search for the answers to their own questions. Perhaps Tim offered us all an answer on where to begin on our search for happiness: with me.

What You Can Do

  • Share This Article
    • Reach out to those in your social media circles. If Tim taught us something, it’s that you could never NOT go without help.
  • Give $ (Not To Us, lol)
  • Research Resources
    • Don’t know what to tell your friend when they’re talking to you, in need of support? Here is a list of helpful phrases to use.
    • Text a trained crisis counsellor at 741741, for prompt responses to your texts.
    • Click this link for a plethora of resources in the U.S. that are designed to help orient you in the right direction when it comes to mental health.
    • Try watching Project UROK‘s comedic videos produced and starring teens that know what you’re going through.
    • Mental Health America produces slideshows and webinars to offer those, or those with loved ones in need of mental health support.
    • Call the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration number (1-800-662-4357) anytime anywhere for confidential free referrals to address either your friend’s or your own mental health.

How do Tim Bergling’s actions speak to you? Comment below!

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