Roughly 2 years ago, I faced something unfamiliar that shook me to my core.
People around me describe me as someone who is blunt, someone who has a strong and brash personality, confident…mean. I did not necessarily see myself that way, but I unknowingly lived up to my reputation. It worked for years, until 2018. There wasn’t really anything in particular — there was no major event, tragedy, shock or accident that could trigger the depression. I was working full time in the hospital and the same time I was managing a local non-profit association that I was very devoted to. It seemed like everything was going great, but it wasn’t. I felt empty. I felt alone. I had my family with me, and no, they did not necessarily abandon me, but they had their families to take care of. My friends were all getting married, settling down. Now, I wasn’t really sad about being single, but I felt that my life was going nowhere. I assessed everything and anything I have…and felt like I had nothing. I had no house, no savings, no car, no family to take care of, no special someone. I was on my own. All of us sudden, it felt wrong.
Work started to become tedious; I felt exhausted and burnt out. Waking up became a chore. Sleep wanted nothing to do with me. Being the President of a non-profit organization felt meaningless and unfulfilling. I started thinking, “If I die, no one would miss me.” I stopped taking my medications. I ate to my heart’s content, as if trying to fill the void I could not explain. NO ONE noticed. They only noticed my fluctuating weight. None of them, not even my family, heard my desperate plea for help. How could they? I wasn’t telling them anything. I didn’t open up to anyone.
One day, I went to see my doctor to ask for sleep medication. Unlike the others, she started asking questions. She saw through the wall I built. She did what any other doctor would do — she stopped me from working and gave me anti-depressants. At first I was livid. I don’t do depression. I am strong, how could I be depressed? I spoke to my family about it. They said, “it’s because you don’t have a husband.” It shattered me. They did not see it as a problem. I’ll get over it, they said. I knew better. I knew I was in a hole I could not get out of without help. I started to think that maybe, I have no place in this world.
The only thing making me smile throughout those times, were the videos of Bangtan Sonyeondan, a Kpop group I discovered 2 years prior to my depression (2016). Their silly antics made me laugh, and I ate it all up. Their songs were catchy, and felt like being a part of their fandom made me belong to something. Despite all that, it was not enough. As soon as I turn my laptop off, the void reappears. I felt helpless, so I started looking into Bangtan’s music and its message. Their music spoke of self worth, of self love, saying that not having dreams or a passion does not diminish who you are. They spoke of their own fears, their own bouts with depression, their struggles. Every song I listen to, I felt less alone. Every Bangtan Bomb I watch, I felt more of my worth. I held on to them, to their music. Slowly but surely, they lifted me out of that cursed hole, something even my own family and closest friends were not able to do.
Now, as near 40-year old fan of BTS, I face criticism and ridicule. They say I’m too old for BTS. They say that their music is bubblegum (without actually listening to it, mind you). You know what? FUCK IT. Say what you want to say, but these 7 men and their message saved me. They are my saviors. So I say bring it — the criticisms, the judgement, the mockery…bring it. No one can take away the fact that I probably would not be here today if not for BTS. I was spiraling out of control, and holding on to them brought me back.
How many of you can say you were able to do that for someone?