Today, I wanted to take some time to write about another celebrity with bipolar disorder. He passed away at a very young age before his true talents could shine, and he could make a bigger mark on music. I believe Kurt Cobain was one of the most talented artists of our time but then fell victim to heroin addiction which cost him his life. It’s important we keep celebrities and their success in our minds because those living with bipolar disorder are often reminded of their limitations. But, looking at celebrities and their success is proof that our only limitation is ourselves because we can truly accomplish our wildest dreams when we put our mind to it.
Kurt Cobain is an example of this and his story is one of triumph and tragedy. It’s a story of chronic health problems depression, and bipolar disorder.
Kurt Cobain – Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, and Visual Artist
Kurt Cobain was born in Aberdeen, Washington at Grays Hospital. He is Dutch, English, French, Irish, and Scottish. Cobain comes from a musical background because of his maternal uncle, Chuck Fradenburg, who played in a band called The Beachcombers. His aunt, Mari Earle, played guitar performing in bands throughout Grays Harbor County. His aunt Mari has stated that Cobain started singing at the age of four, and started writing songs around this time too.
Kurt Cobain grew up listening to various bands like the Ramones, The Beatles, and The Monkees. His aunt has said that his early music adopts different styles from these bands.
Kurt Cobain was part of many smaller bands as a teenager but gained popularity with the band Nirvana which he formed in 1987 with fellow band member Krist Novoselic. The band Nirvana signed to DGC Records and found breakthrough success with the single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in 1991. This album Nevermind’s which had the single Smells Like Teen Spirit sold over 25 million in the United States and 75 million albums worldwide.
Around this time, Kurt Cobain started to have a hard time dealing with the massive success achieved from his album. He felt persecuted and let down by the media comparing him to Frances Farmer. He also resented the fans who claimed to love the band Nirvana but didn’t share their political views or simply misinterpreted them. Cobain was also a vocal opponent of sexism, racism, and homophobia. This led to both criticism and praise within the media towards Nirvana, specifically, Cobain.
Cobain from an early age was experimenting with drugs most notably marijuana in 1980, at the age of 13. He also regularly used drugs as an adult like LSD. As stated by Marander (Cobain’s ex-girlfriend), he was “really into getting fucked up: drugs, acid, any kind of drug”. According to The Telegraph, Cobain had depression. His cousin did talk about the family history of suicide, mental illness, and alcoholism.
There are two important instances which shed light on Kurt Cobain as being bipolar. First, some people believe Cobain was manic depressive because he wrote a song called Lithium – the most important drug in treating this disorder. Lithium is a medication given to people with bipolar disorder to level out their mood swings.
” Lithium acts on a person’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Doctors don’t know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person’s mood, but it is thought to help strengthen nerve cell connections in brain regions that are involved in regulating mood, thinking, and behavior.”- webmd.com
The strongest piece of evidence comes from Cobain’s cousin, Bev Cobain. She was asked in an interview this question –
Did Kurt have other mental health problems besides general depression? And answered the following –
“Kurt was diagnosed at a young age with Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD], then later with bipolar disorder [also known as manic-depression]. Bipolar illness has the same characteristics as major clinical depression, but with mood swings, which present as rage, euphoria, high energy, irritability, distractability, overconfidence, and other symptoms. As Kurt undoubtedly knew, bipolar illness can be very difficult to manage, and the correct diagnosis is crucial. Unfortunately for Kurt, compliance with the appropriate treatment is also a critical factor.”
Kurt Cobain’s life is a great example of how you can truly be successful, but suffering inside. This is why I believe no one should ever take their life for granted because even those with everything can be suffering quietly inside. The mind is a powerful thing, the central command unit of your entire body, so should never be abused through drugs or taken for granted.
Living with bipolar disorder for so many years has allowed me to feel empathy and connect with people living with a mental illness. Even though Kurt Cobain passed away on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27, I still can connect with what he felt living with depression and bipolar disorder because I’ve been living with it for 17 years.
other photo credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuUOcqJb89o
feature photo credit: http://www.tixr.com/blog/kurt-cobain-documentary