I enjoyed reading the current New Yorker on article on Bruce Springsteen. It gave an overview of his musical career along with insight into his inner workings. What I found especially interesting was what it said about Bruce Springsteen’s depression.
It’s always interesting to learn about the humanity of an icon. Springsteen spoke of his struggles with depression and self-loathing. Self-loathing? Bruce Springsteen? This is from the article…
Bruce Springsteen’s Depression
He was feeling suicidal,” Springsteen’s friend and biographer Dave Marsh said. “The depression wasn’t shocking, per se. He was on a rocket ride, from nothing to something, and now you are getting your ass kissed day and night. You might start to have some inner conflicts about your real self-worth.”Springsteen was playing concerts that went nearly four hours, driven, he has said, by “pure fear and self-loathing and self-hatred.”
I was teaching today about Healing the Hurts of Your Past, discussing the source of shame. Someone shared that their shame didn’t come from their failure. It came from their success. The more A’s they got in school and the prettier they looked, the more they felt unworthy of all the credit they accrued.
In the same way, Springsteen’s success made him start to feel like an impostor. Who was he to be so successful? Who was he to sing about the working class when he was now a multi-millionaire? The article continues…
He played that long (four-hour concerts) not just to thrill the audience but also to burn himself out. Onstage, he held real life at bay.
“My issues weren’t as obvious as drugs,” Springsteen said. “Mine were different, they were quieter—just as problematic, but quieter. With all artists, because of the undertow of history and self-loathing, there is a tremendous push toward self-obliteration that occurs onstage. It’s both things: there’s a tremendous finding of the self while also an abandonment of the self at the same time. You are free of yourself for those hours; all the voices in your head are gone. Just gone. There’s no room for them. There’s one voice, the voice you’re speaking in.”
Springsteen said that the only way he could cope with his self-loathing and depression was through years of therapy. It’s what kept him sane.
No one is above depression. Fame and fortune are no guarantee of the good life or peace of mind. In fact, it might guarantee the opposite unless you have your head on straight.
There’s different things that speak to depression and self-loathing but what I’ve found to help people is rooted in what God says about us and not our latest performance.
Question: How has your success caused you to doubt yourself, get depressed and/or even loathe yourself. Leave your comment below.
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