I remember watching the Billboard Music Awards this past May when I stepped out of the living room briefly, only to come sprinting back as there was an audible change in the audience’s cheers. Typical sounds of clapping and cheering turned into high-pitched shrieks. Was One Direction back for a surprise reunion? Was Justin Bieber descending from the ceiling with angel wings? I bolted back into the room only to discover Korean boy band BTS taking the stage. If you haven’t heard, BTS is taking over the world. Winning over hearts, topping charts, and dropping singles like it’s their dang job. In 2017, they were the most tweeted about celebrities worldwide. I mean, same.
With so much real estate taken up on power lists and international charts, these boys seem to be living the dream and then some. However, as we have learned with some of our fave celebs such as Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Lili Reinhart, with great fame comes great pressure, responsibility and anxiety. Two of BTS’ members, Suga and RM, have been extremely vocal and open about their struggles with anxiety and depression while on their meteoric rise to success. Suga and RM both released mixtapes outside of the group, which served as a platform for them to individually highlight their struggles. Suga released his mixtape Agust D in 2016 and received tons of attention due to the serious subject matter, which Billboard.com reviewed, saying:
“Agust D then transitions into the raw reality of depression, OCD and social phobia that has plagued Suga between the time he left his hometown to pursue his dream in Seoul and the anguish he’s felt about selling out. Unusually frank for Korea, where suicide is prevalent and mental health care faces extreme stigma, the mixtape climaxes with “The Last,” as Suga relates seeking psychiatric help and coming to terms with the fact that he is in fact an idol and part of the mainstream pop industry.”
In a recent interview with Korean outlet Naver.com, RM and Suga both address living with anxiety and how they learn to cope with it. In the interview, RM notes that “anxiety is like a shadow” and he taught himself how to keep the shadow at bay by doing activities that make him happy and connect him back to the world. He says that the anxious feelings become stronger when he has less to do and feels disconnected.
“So now, rather to become friends with the anxiety, I constructed many resting places such as collecting figures, buying clothes that I like, and going to random places and seeing how people live. I take a bus, get off at an unknown town, and realize that I’m not far from the world. It helps shorten the distance between me and the world. Then my anxiety gets dispersed.”
While Instagram, social media and media outlets can portray an image that celebrities like Suga and RM are living their dream lives, it’s important to remember that everyone is facing challenges and stressors. Instead of allowing anxiety and depression to get the best of us, we must instead focus on the many methods that allow us to combat both. Perhaps that means taking a bus to unknown towns like RM, or maybe you simply temporarily unplug from social media like Selena Gomez. Maybe, it’s changing your diet to include plant-based supplements that can help your body better manage anxiety and stress. By creating coping mechanisms like Suga and RM and remembering that anxiety is found within in all walks of life, even celebrities, we are able to become strong than these feelings that can make us feel so small and helpless.
Lastly, in light of recent celebrity deaths this week and the potentially sensitive subject matter of this article, I want to include the National Suicide Prevention Hotline as a loving reminder that you are bigger than any negative feelings you have about yourself or life, and that Zenzy is always here for you.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
COVER IMAGE: @yoongibts