When I was thinking about the name for this blog, it took my about two minutes to think of RX: More BTS because the battle with anxiety and despair feels like a never ending one, so the self-prescribed medicine that is BTS for me, is in constant need of refilling.
We all know the state of our current country and if you are on the wrong side of history this feels like the golden years for you. This feels like the best dreams come to fruition, this is an America to be proud of. If you are like me, every day is some new fresh hell you think cannot possibly be happening and wondering how to get the fuck off this ride.
If there was ever a time for me to be thankful to BTS it is today, today when I feel trapped in fear of my family who is applying for asylum and as far as I know can be taken in an ICE raid at any moment. I feel trapped by a fear of my neighbors and strangers in the street and wondering if the by-rote hello and goodbye waves and pleasant smiles hide a hatred of my skin color and perceived nationality. Trapped by a slow burning terror that I won’t see my new nephew grow up next to me because he is an American, but his parents aren’t. It makes me feel worse than my flying phobia, which is volatile and aggressive. This fear, this feeling, is debilitating and corrosive, always in a simmer in the pit of my stomach.
Sometimes I feel like nothing is going to make me feel better no matter how in desperate need I am for a break from it all, but something that always helps is feeling understood, feeling heard. When someone grabs your hand and tells you “Oh my God, me too!” it’s like a balm to an open wound. All of the sudden you are not all alone in the dark void of shitty things, you’re with someone who gets it. Min Yoongi (Suga) of BTS is one of the three rappers on the seven men group. I am not in any way shape or form a rap connoisseur, but I do know his rapping style is my favorite among the three. His lyrics not only on the regular albums but during his solo projects constantly talk about his battle with depression, anxiety and struggles with his identity as an Idol, the shifting of his aspirations and dreams, the ever consuming greed for more he feels growing inside of him and the worries of losing himself amidst all the trappings of his success.
As someone who has for more than a decade followed the Hallyu industry I know how outside the norm it is for any of its cookie cutter, seemingly perfect members to talk about a culturally taboo subject like mental illness.
In December 2017, Kim Jong-hyun a beloved member of the Kpop band Shinee lost his battle with depression and died by suicide leaving a heartbreaking note for his family, requesting to say he “did well” despite everything. To say it rocked the world of everyone who knew of him is an understatement. Min Yoongi said he understood Jonghyun.
‘I really want to say that everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad, and if we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say that we miss someone when we miss them.’
He is a very outspoken advocate for therapy, and for asking for help, mental help, in a country and culture where mental illness, situational anxiety or depression is seen as a weakness and something to deal with by yourself. It is not unlike the mentality of people around the world that subscribe to the theory of pulling yourself by your own bootstraps. Sometimes you can’t, you know? Sometimes you need someone to just put a hand inside, grab you by the wrist like in some Kdrama and drag you out of the hole and say “Oh my God, me too”
For the longest time I thought about Min Yoongi an introspective, smart, attractive, famous, uber talented, rapper, music producer who hopes can be a rock in his next life…full of social anxiety and depression, opening up to the world about his struggles and finding healing not only in therapy but in discussing and sharing and showing to all of us in the same boat that it is okay to need help.
Along with the lovely ladies of My Favorite Murder (A true-crime comedy podcast I follow religiously) I felt like the people I admired the most were telling me it was okay to feel shitty, it was okay to feel anxious and I wasn’t crazy because of it. Specially if you are the problem solver in the world you live in, it can feel particularly daunting to realize you don’t got your shit together and no I can’t solve this for you, no I cannot do this favor, no I cannot answer this question, because this tiny thing you are asking of me and that I used to be able to handle with my eyes closed, suddenly feels like climbing Everest…because I am both empty an too full. Too full or worries and fears and filled to the brim with words and empty of give a fucks but full of too much giving of fucks about the world.
So, I am thankful to Min Yoongi of BTS and Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff of MFM for pushing me to go to therapy. I am thankful for Heather, my therapist who worries about me every time she sees some new political, social or environmental nightmare developing and wonders how I am handling it. I am eternally grateful because now more than ever I need that. Every morning when the president of this country gaslight us and rains a new horror on us I cling desperately to the happiness that BTS brings to my life. I run and hide in their comfortable embrace, their kind words, their hopeful message and their true words that we sometimes need outside help.
And thanks to Min Yoongi and BTS when their loveliness is not enough, I have Heather and she gives me the tools for when self-help and BTS alone cannot light the path out of darkness.