Crook (2008) suggested that mental illness is often the cause of committing suicide and suicide was the rising choice for young adults. People who have suicidal thoughts often feel that no one seems able to solve their problem (Huddle & Schleifer, 2012) as if Robert Enke. Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory best used to explain Robert Enke’s case. As we can see, Enke was merely looking to express himself on the pitch. Meanwhile, he couldn’t go out from the sadness and shadow, which he made certainly a mistake during a match between Barca and Novelda. After that, he suffered from fear of failure and completely lost confidence in catching the ball. According to Cooper (2007), cognitive dissonance is namely the inconsistency between one’s expectation and experience. This statement supported that Enke may suffer from cognitive dissonance as he simultaneously holds two contradictory cognitions.
Besides, a person will encounter invisible psychological tension whenever one is experiencing cognitive dissonance (Chatzisarantis et al., 2008). As mentioned before, Enke’s daughter Lara died of heart disease when she was two (The Guardian, 2009). Enke had tried as he might to accept the fact. However, he couldn’t get over the death of his daughter and can’t stop thinking about her. It can detect that Enke’s inner side was struggling as his attitude and behavior clashed. Enke’s case is in line with Cooper’s (2007) statement that cognitive dissonance will cause psychological discomfort (as cited in Stalder & Anderson, 2014).
Enke never sought to hide the fact that he had suffered from severe depression. But at the same time, their adopted baby, Leila, would be taken away if his illness was disclosed (The Scotsman, 2009). He was too afraid of losing his second daughter. So, Enke was trying to hide the fact. This is in line with the statement as Festinger suggested that the more the discomfort, the more the desire to reduce the inconsistency between two cognitive elements (Mills & Harmon-Jones, 2009). This may be the reason why he can’t manage his cognitive dissonance well and why his depression is from bad to worse.
A person who experience failure on an important task may lead to depression (Petersen, Compas, Brooks-Gunn, Stemmler, Grant, 1993). At the same time, a person who is depressed may be more susceptible to dissonance effect (Stalder and Anderson, 2014). Therefore, Enke’s case serves an example based on these statements. Based on Enke’s case, cognitive dissonance may be the causes of his depression. To make matter worse, his severe depression triggered his eventual suicide. When applying Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory to Enke’s case, hence one can see that there is an explanation of how he was feeling before committing suicide.