|02 September 2014 - 23:46
|"I can tell about the times you know when I wished to leave this world"
On August 11th the world was shocked learning about Robin Williams committing suicide in his home. He will be remembered as one of the most talented and loved actors of Hollywood, but this was not enough to save him from that struggle within, that black hole that often drains someone's life form the inside. He's not the first (and we can only utopicly hope he will be the last) celebrity showing one more time that fame, success, and popularity don't make happiness. On the contrary, too often the life we live on the outside has nothing to do with what's inside, where we cannot hide from ourselves, from our uncertainties, our anxieties, our hopes turned into disappointments, our sensitivity, and our fears, where masks don't work for we cannot run from what we are and from what we really feel.
Lene does know this well, and not only because of the recurrency of such topics in her songs. Unexpectedly, in an open-hearted and courageous chronicle published on Aftenposten on Monday 1st September and translated by Lene herself on her Facebook page, Lene unveils for good the most terrible experience she went through during the years of silence after her breakthrough. Lene did not want to live anymore. Lene actually tried to take her own life.
If today she opens up about this (and thankfully she's here to do it) it's because those moments, even despite the echoes and the scars within, belong to her past now, and Lene hopes her story can help other people.
As fans, we're sitting here right now with our heads full of thoughts. Lene has spoken several times so far about the difficult years following her breakthrough, and that is something everyone of us has made up their mind about somehow. Though, it's just a shocking nonsense that while her music has always been a comfort, a heal, and often even more (yes) to all of us, all that came along with it had become such an unbearable burden to her that she found death preferable. That in the end, part of the reason for that ultimate choice was "us" who wanted to give her success, the excitement and the happiness during meet-and-greets, all that "forced" her (clearly due also to economic interests of who had everything to gain from that) to live that life she just couldn't change even though she knew she should have, as she states in the article.
Lene's words today are filled with hope and positivity, they're not scary now. Still, indeed it feels like a punch in the stomach to listen from her own voice what she's actually been through. As true and loyal supporters, the suffering of someone we've always loved respectfully and patiently (who is first of all a person just like us) is not even the last thing we want, it is something we just don't want at all. Many times we've been so grateful to her for what she is: well, today we couldn't be more, because of the example this little great lady, vulnerable and strong at the same time, is giving us with her story. Here is her massage, with the hope it can be of help to anyone who may need it.
I've been thinking about this for a very long time. And now I've finally done it, the story is out there. I hope it can be of some help to you or someone you love! It can be scary to make yourself vulnerable, to let go of your disguise. But honestly, it feels more good than scary!
I've had some really dark times in my life. But luckily I've made some changes. And I'm so happy that I did!
I know quite a few of you don't speak Norwegian, so I got the article translated into English so you can read it too. Read the translation below.
I didn't want to live any longer
Everything seemed perfect from the outside. That just made it worse, Lene Marlin writes.
I had decided that I would never speak of this publicly. Not because I am ashamed. I am not. But because I just wanted to be done with it all. As the years have passed I've come to realize that I will never be completely done with it. It is a part of who I am. I live with it each and every day and will carry it with me for the rest of my life. So I might as well say it out loud:
I tried to end my own life.
I couldn't handle the pressure.
It's strange, isn't it, how you can go from living life for yourself, to suddenly realizing you are living it for everyone else; their expectations and their dreams. How easily one is lost in the demands of others. How easily one takes to living other people's lives. Now I see it all the time, kids struggling. Even older people; imagine still feeling the pressure after all those years. What kind of hope is left us then?
A different kind of pressure
I wish I could tell you that the pressure lets off, as you grow older. The one thing I can say is that it changes. You simply have more choices. I decided that I was the only one that could make myself happy. This process included making some choices that seemed very strange to people close to me, but I have no regrets. Because even while living this hectic dream-life I knew I had to put a stop to it.
I let it go too far
Because I at that time lacked both the strength and the ability to listen to myself instead of others, years passed before I was fully healed. This is my only regret. It has, however, made me live my life in a different way. For better or for worse, I discovered at an early age how I didn't want to live my life, and that is something for which I am thankful. Others take much longer to see this and might end up never having lived the life they really want.
Went home during recess
I still have bad dreams about high school; that they call me up telling me I need to come back, do it all over again. I felt like I didn't fit in. Like I was weird and different from everyone else. Every time we had free time, even in the middle of the day, I would go home: Play the guitar for as long as I could and run back when I had to. That's where I found the strength I needed. I kept thinking that if I just got through those three years everything would be all right. And it was. Sometimes you just have to hold on for a little while longer.
Sometime during my twenties I found myself lying on a cold kitchen floor weak from crying my eyes out. I don't know how many hours had passed, but I found one can actually run out of tears. That your body can only take so much. I was completely worn out; but I had come to peace with the fact that this was to be my last night. I felt surprisingly cold and detached as I wrote notes to people I cared about. I did really want to end my life that night. When my eyes closed I felt at peace. I awoke several hours later, confused and in terrible pain. Ironically I didn't have the strength to try again; I was too weak to even die.
The importance of being heard
Not being heard is painful. It can take a good while to finally say the words that are needed, but when you do, it is important that those around really listen and take you seriously. Failing that, it is so much easier to just crawl back into your shell, sure that your heavy thoughts are yours to live with alone. That kind of loneliness is the worst.
End it all? You? You've lived everyone's biggest dream. You travel the world; you make lots of money, win awards, what can possibly be bothering you? They told me I was ungrateful. The incredible pressure, the expectations, I just couldn't take it anymore.
The pain you know
One time I ended up in the ER and was told I had been very lucky. I didn't feel lucky. I had wanted to die, yet there I was. That night I found myself in the back of a dismal room listening to a girl on the other side of a curtain. She was talking about why she did it, and I remember her talking about the boy who had left her and how she had thought it would be them forever and now she didn't have a reason to live. Or something like that; I was drifting in and out of sleep and can recall only fragments. No boy had put me in that bed, but I recognized the pain in her voice as my own.
We are who we become. Sometimes the road ahead is long and hard, especially when you are in your teens, when everything hurts and it is hard to believe it will ever end. You just don't believe it will! I see it myself today with people I know who are struggling. It is hard just trying to get them to believe that life does get better. In those instances I use my own experiences; I can tell them that I know what it's like to feel so tired and small that there seems to be no hope left. When they imagine that as they are sitting across from who I am today, that's when I see that they understand what I am saying.
Hang in there!
You can't change the past, but you can change how you live with it. I sometimes get flashbacks of what's gone before. Often times I have forgotten all about it, so when the images appear it can be a lot to take in. My whole body reacts, as if it remembers what my mind has forgotten. That's when I panic, I feel trapped and out of breath and need some time before I can tell myself that it's all behind me. Once that happens my body settles down, but it's a terrible feeling while it's going on.
There is so much more contained in a tear than one might imagine. I have been seen crying on TV, which was something I never planned to do, it happened when songs and conversations took me back there. That experience was both painful and good at the same time because what I felt the most was the feeling of having weathered it and come through on the other side. A heavy thought for someone who didn't expect to live past 30.
Those tears don't make me feel ashamed, I know I should have cried them a long time ago.
So if you're not in a good place when you're reading this and can't imagine life getting any better, please hang on for just a little longer and hear this; it will all be worth it!
Lene will appear on the TV show Senkveld on Friday 5th September at 22:15.