Kurt witnessed a classmate’s suicide when he was just in 8th grade
As an eighth grader Kurt discovered the body of a classmate who had committed suicide by hanging. It had a profound effect on him, a friend at the time stating that for the rest of the year he looked like “a walking suicide.”
He became a born-again Christian for a short period of time
After his parent’s divorce Cobain lived with friend’s born-again Christian family for a short time. He adopted their beliefs for a time before renouncing god and becoming emphatically anti-religion. The song Lithium is said to be about this time, lithium being a reference to Karl Marx’s famed analogy of religion as the opiate of the masses.
Leaving a fundamentalist religion like evangelical Christianity can have an extreme and lasting effect on an individual’s mental health.
Kurt was in chronic pain from an undiagnosed stomach condition
The pain was so severe he had spoken about it making him suicidal and being a driving force in his heroin use.
Kurt’s mental health battle started when he was just a kid
Like many addicts, Kurt’s drinking and drug use began as attempts to self-medicate after he had already suffered through a childhood and teen years marred by mental illness. He struggled early on with depression and had thoughts of suicide often in his teens.
A contributing factor was Cobain’s unhappy home life. His mother has stated that after she divorced his father when Kurt was 9, his personality was never the same. As his mother began to date, Kurt also witnessed domestic violence, with one incident escalating to the extent that she was in the hospital with a broken arm — and chose to stay with her partner.
As an adult Cobain was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. It’s estimated that self-harm occurs in as many as 40% of people with bipolar.
Kurt’s suicide note was addressed to his imaginary childhood friend Boddah
Far from innocent, Boddah was the “evil part” of Kurt’s soul, he sometimes explained.
Courtney Love’s private detective still believes Cobain was murdered
As explored in the documentary Soaked in Bleach, the private detective Courtney Love hired prior to the discovery of Kurt’s body, Tom Grant, believes that his death was not a suicide. His argument rests on a few hypotheses:
- Cobain had a high concentration of heroin in his system at the time of his death. Valium was also found. Grant argues it was not possible for Cobain to ingest this amount of heroin and also pull the trigger of the shotgun that killed him.
- Grant believes the “suicide note” police found by the body was actually a letter from Kurt to Courtney Love, announcing his desire to leave the relationship.
- Usable fingerprints were not found on the shotgun.
- There exists discrepancies in what Courtney Love calls a prior suicide attempt Cobain initiated in Rome, while his doctors seem to deny that this was more than an accidental overdoes.
- Cobain’s attorney, Rosemary Carroll, claims that he asked her to remove Courtney Love from his will, and that he intended to divorce her.
Another conspiracy theory is that Kurt faked his death to escape public life.