Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the immortal phenomenon of a band, Nirvana, took his life in 1994. The reasons for this are debatable. Even the issue of the death of Kurt Cobain is debatable; did Cobain commit suicide, or was Cobain murdered? From here, we enter the realm of speculation.
It is broadly believed that Kurt Cobain killed himself. He was found dead in his apartment on the 8th April, 1994. There was a shotgun across his body, a head wound, and what appears to be a suicide note.
The suicide note:
Note the last three lines that say: “For Frances. For her life which will be so much happier without me. I lovE You. I LOVE You”. Does this not make it, conclusively, an obvious suicide note?
The only case that this would not be a suicide note, is that if Cobain didn’t write it himself. It is far too long to be something written under threat, for example, at gun point. If you examine the note closely, you will find that it is largely incoherent. It shows signs of the lack of concentration attributed to ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that Cobain was diagnosed with as a child. Or perhaps the inability to stay focused on one line of thought, rapidly switching from one topic to the next; an attribute of Mania, an episode. or a “pole”, of bipolar disorder.
But a manic person would not kill himself, as mania is also often associated with euphoria and grandiosity, yet Cobain seems to have loathed himself and severely depressed in this note. However, it is possible to experience both episodes of bipolar disorder, both mania and depression, at the same time. It is called a mixed episode.
The impact of the effect of both ADHD and BPD are apparent in this note, at a very rare and unstable combination of both. It resulted in this note.
I have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, and have written a suicide note similar to this one. I never attempted suicide at the time I wrote the note I’m talking about at least. However, I try to analyse what Kurt Cobain was feeling when writing this note. I imagine it has taken Kurt a long time to write this note, picking his words as well as he could have at the time, experiencing what he was. Reading and rereading, fixing it here and there, which is evident by the crossing out of many sentences.
You can detect mania with its delusions shown by a sentence like “Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your altar”. Frances is his daughter, while Courtney Love is his wife. What altar could he be talking about? How will he be there in death? Only Kurt could have answered this mystery, even if illogically as a delusional mind would explain it.
I lovE You. I LOVE You. Is the choice of letter casing in these two sentences intentional? Why say it twice? I believe that the first I lovE You was intended for Courtney, while the second, fully capitalized I LOVE You, was intended for Frances, with almost screaming emphasis and certainty.
The prime reasons for someone committing suicide, from my own experience, are mainly two things. One: The personal belief that, after initial grief, loved ones’ lives will be better after the death of the suicidal person (for her life which will be so much happier without me). Two: Freedom, in the relief of great pains of one’s own life, especially emotional pain, resultant of extreme depression whose symptoms can be unbearable as shown in my article about depression symptoms here. Even in religions that greatly warn that suicide is an unforgivable sin, these religions are also known for God’s compassion for the insane, which may also be believed by the person about to attempt suicide, that the inexplicable pain and depression is a result of one losing his mind (I’ll be at your altar).
The death of Kurt Cobain is one of the greatest losses witnessed in art and music. But perhaps there was a gain, even if minimal compared to the loss, for Kurt himself.
“That letter is such a powerful and heart wrenching thing to read. The chaotic writing style and messiness alone is just a perfect visual of what was going on inside of him. The jumbled pain and chaos that was attacking him from the inside out. But, then when you get down to the actual words and what he says it’s just so hard to read. I read that and it’s almost like something that I might say to a therapist. The feelings of what I have inside, of feeling too much and caring for people too much. He says this multiple times, but in different ways. It’s just so sad ’cause rather than having someone who he could really express that to, he put it in the letter before taking his life. It speaks a great deal to the pain that people suffer from in depression.
I’ve heard that people can kill themselves in a manic state too, but I see that as more of an accidental death. The irresponsible behavior, lacking inhibitions and dangerous actions, I think are what lead to those deaths. For example, I jumped into a moving vehicle several years ago in a hypomanic state. I wasn’t trying to kill myself, but all it would have taken was for me to miss the door and slip underneath the wheels and I could have been killed. That would have been a result of the bipolar (which I didn’t even know I had yet), but it would have been due to my irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Not, because I wanted to take my own life. Depression is completely different story, though.
I’ve heard so much about how Kurt Cobain was wild and lived on the edge and how it was only a matter of time due to his drug use. People say how it was that wild life that lead to his death. But, if this wasn’t some murder cover-up (which I personally don’t believe it was, but I’m open to information to prove otherwise), and he did indeed shoot himself, then ultimately it was depression that took his life. I wish more people would realize that. Those of us in the mental illness community do understand that due to how we feel day-in and day-out ’cause of what we go through. But people who haven’t experienced that kind of pain just view Cobain as another sad statistic of a rocker lost to drugs and alcohol.
I think it’s really great that you analyzed his suicide note and put it out there for others to read. It helps to put a more human face onto his rocker legend persona. It helps to show that although he was a wonderfully talented and lost-way-too-soon musician, that he was also a human being with a mind that was just as fragile as anyone else’s.”
Summer, I believe his drug use was his attempt to relieve his pains. Wish it worked.
Kurt, may you rest in peace. May you be at peace, and your loved ones.
PS: Kurt’s death motivated the birth of the wonderful website www.livingmatters.com, by Beverly Cobain, Kurt’s cousin. It is aimed at preventing teen suicide, the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15 to 19.