He is the poster boy for Bipolar Disorder, a severe mental illness that affects 5.7 million of Americans. Kurt Cobain, one of music’s all-time greats, may have defined this mental illness and at the same time may have given it the worst stigma possible. Bipolar disorder is a scary thing. A fine example of this is the life and career of Kurt Cobain.
We all know about Kurt Cobain and his crazy life and tragic death. But, I wanted to highlight the fact that his success could be attributed to his Bipolar disorder because it is a gifted curse. Yes, it is terrible but it is amazing at the same time. Without knowing that he was diagnosed for a long time, he was tortured by demons in his head. It would ease his pain by creating all types of mediums of art, not just music. By doing so, this would channel those demons. Bipolar disorder was never an excuse for him to pursue his dreams of playing music. He took his oblivious mental illness and serendipitously used it to his advantage, becoming one of music’s biggest icons.
Kurt addresses his Bipolar disorder and usage of the drug Lithium in his song entitled, “Lithium”. This song is all about the process of having a mental breakdown and what it is like to have and be treated for bipolar disorder. I don’t want to interpret the entire song is but, here are three major points that highlight this mental illness.
When on Lithium, it puts you in a state of mind that is altered away from your chemical imbalance. It will shift your mood in order to balance it out. “I’m so happy because today I found my friends. There in my head…”, is the opening line of the song which means that he feels fine because he is not okay while he is not on the drug because he feels unsafe and crazy without his friend, medication. When he is not on the drug, demons fill his head, but while medicated, his friends fill his head.
Being bipolar is rough right out of the gate, but after you’ve been put on Lithium specifically, nothing seems to matter at all. It makes you feel content. Not too high or low, and that is what Lithium hazily does. That is the flipside of that coin. Every day will suddenly feel the same due to the power of this drug. Before taking Lithium, every day for a bipolar person feels the same, but you feel like a different person. This is a major theme for people with bipolar disorder. The line, “Sunday morning is every day for all I care…”, reflects well on this statement because while on the drug, every day feels the same, and you will feel the same every day, like a happy-go-lucky zombie.
This is a major reason why this drug and prescription medications are feared with also having a bad stigma.
Along with his other best songs, his lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways. The song is all about the flashes of emotions that Kurt has to deal with. We all can relate to this to some certain extent. Even without the lyrics, you can feel the music shifting between two states of mind, which is symbolic of this gifted curse.
With the bridge of the song, he talks about not cracking or breaking down, and he then proceeds to splurge on an array of emotional changes that he deals with without the drug. He flashes all of his emotions that torture him; like, miss, love, kill.
People with bipolar disorder generally do very cool things, having very inspiring professions. With that, if channeled correctly, victims can find success in life because a major cure for this disease is to use it to your advantage through pursuing what you are passionate about. Yes, it is that torturing and the only way to make life a little more bearable, for anyone, is to pursue your passion.
Kurt Cobain is one of many people in the world who has a mental illness which is a common thing amongst many. If we could learn anything from him, is that it is possible to channel your inner demon to become your best possible self.
“The Zos Knows”
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