You did well, Jonghyun

On 18th December 2017, the world lost a gem who would have given anything in his power to make his fans and loved ones happy. On the ill-fated Monday evening, Kim Jong-hyun, also known as Jonghyun left for his heavenly abode, leaving his friends, fans and family devastated and stunned. The singer was 27.

Losing his battle with depression, Jonghyun committed suicide. Fulfilling singer’s wish, Junghyun’s friend Nine revealed a written will after the day of singer’s death. Nine was well aware of the singer’s condition and supported him throughout, trying to help him overcome his hardships but destiny had other plans. Taking permission from the singer’s family, she decided to grant her friend’s wish and shared his will via Instagram.

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The will/final letter puts forth a heart-wrenching confession of confusion and sadness Junghyun felt over his condition. It depicts disappointment and showcases the deterioration depression can bring to one’s mind, body and soul. His words give us a glimpse of the extent to which he was suffering because of his condition.

Jonghyun’s Final Letter

As shared by Soompi, below is the translation of Jonghyun’s last letter,

I’m broken on the inside. The depression that slowly gnawed away at me eventually devoured me. I couldn’t overcome it. I hated myself. I resolved to hold on to memories and shouted at myself to come to my senses, but there was no answer. If there is no way to relieve stifling breath, it’s better to just stop.

I asked who can be responsible for me. It’s only you. I was utterly alone. It’s easy to say you’re going to end things. It’s hard to actually end things. I lived with that difficulty this whole time. You told me that I wanted to escape. That’s right. I wanted to escape. From me. From you. You asked who is over there. I said it was me. I said it was me again. And I said it was me again.

I asked why I keep forgetting my memories. You told me it was because of my personality. I see. I see that everything is my fault in the end. I hoped that people would notice but nobody knew. You never met me so of course you would not know I was there. You asked why I live. Just because. Just because. Everyone just lives just because. If you ask why people die, they would probably say it’s because they’re exhausted. I suffered and agonized about it. I never learned how to turn this pain into happiness.

Pain is just pain. I tried to push myself past it. Why? Why am I keeping myself from putting an end to it all? I was told to search for the reason why it hurts. I know all too well. I’m hurting because of me. It’s all my fault, because I was born this way. Doctor, is this what you wanted to hear? No. I didn’t do anything wrong. When you told me in that calm voice that it’s because of my personality, I thought how easy it must be to be a doctor. It’s almost fascinating, that it hurts this much.

People that have it harder than me seem to get along just fine. People weaker than me get along just fine. But that must not be true. Among the people in this world, no one has it harder than me, and no one is weaker than me.

But I still tried to live. I asked myself why I had to do so hundreds of times, and it was never for me. It was for you. I wanted to do something for me. Please stop telling me things you don’t understand. You tell me to figure out why I’m having a hard time. I told you several times why. Am I not allowed to be this sad just for those reasons? Does it have to be more specific and dramatic? Do I need to have better reasons? I already told you. Were you even listening?

Things you can overcome don’t remain as scars. I guess I was not meant to confront the world. I guess I was not meant to lead a life in the public eye. That’s why it was hard. Confronting the world, and being in the public eye. Why did I make those decisions. It’s ridiculous. It’s great that I even made it this far.

What more can I say. Just tell me I did well. Tell me I did well enough and that I went through a lot. Even if you can’t smile while sending me off, don’t say it’s my fault. You did well. You really went through a lot. Goodbye. [Bold Ours]

Calling Out the Responsible

Jonghyun’s letter is an eye-opening account of the flawed diagnosis the society recommends for mental illness. In his letter, the singer calls out his doctor who failed to look into his problems as an individual and instead adopted institutionalized methodology to “cure” his depression. The letter also calls out to people who failed to look Jonghyun’s dilemma beyond “sadness”, a general misconception that exists with regards to the condition.

In “4 Things Show”, Jonghyun revealed how hard he tried to show his “real side” to people but ended up quitting because no one was interested in “knowing” him.

As we grow up, everyone tells us that we should only worry what our loved ones think about us and not give a dime about the world but people often fail to realize that being a “conscious” and that too “self-conscious” social species, it is difficult for humans to avoid their surroundings. “Perception” and “assumptions” lead to the kind of judgments that sometimes, completely alters how we view an individual and affect our attitude towards him or her.

The Curse of “Fame”

For a celebrity, the case is even worse. While fans have a right to choose their idol and look up to them for motivation, it by no means gives them a freedom to criticize and judge their idol for smallest of things. Idolization brings with it certain expectations that create pressure on a celebrity to lead his or her life in a certain way. It turns him or her into a caricature that “cannot be flawed”.

Jonghyun’s relationship with fame and his dilemma of not being able to reveal his true personality made him suffer a lot, made evident from his letter. Apparently, celebrities like Junghyun and Chester Bennington are not the only one to suffer.

Global Statistics for Depression

As per the data revealed by WHO,

Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability (7.5% of all years lived with disability in 2015); anxiety disorders are ranked 6th (3.4%). Depression is also the major contributor to suicide deaths, which number close to 800 000 per year. At a global level, over 300 million people are estimated to suffer from depression, equivalent to 4.4% of the world’s population.

Even though the Depression is a “common” mental illness, there is a lack of conversation in the society for the condition. Instead, the stigma of depression and anxiety disorder is so prevalent that people don’t want to be educated with regards to the myths and common misconception for the conditions. Our society seems to be living in a denial mode which is making it difficult for people like Junghyun to even being a discussion.

Today artists like Logic are trying to bring the problem to the forefront in a hope that people would realize the amount of damage their ignorance can do to the affected.

What Do We need to Know and Do?

It is high time that institutions, workplaces, and individuals make an effort to educate other people about mental disorders and provide pathways to help those in need. For this, people will first have to throw their assumptions out of the window and learn about the difference between what they believe in and what the actual fact is. To help begin a discussion, CM Cares list down a few myths that exist with regards to Depression and the actual fact we all should be aware of:

Depression is nothing but “sadness” and one can overcome it with positive thoughts

Not everyone in this world can be cured by Tim Ferris books. Sometimes, one needs a patient listener to help overcome one’s problems. Depression is not just “sadness” that one can overcome within a day. It is a complex mental disorder originating from social and biological factors. Unlike sadness that one can overcome through activities one love, one cannot overcome depression with such activities. The reason lies in the fact that the condition makes it almost impossible for an individual to even carry out basic actions like combing, leave along carrying out hobbies and fun activities.

Men cannot have depression

Masculinity is such a fragile construct that it fails to take into account any factor that would deem men “sensitive”. Having depression is not a choice. As per the statistics made available to us by organizations like WHO, the conditions exist in amongst both males and females. It is the reason for the existence that differs but not the fact that depression as a disorder affects people, irrespective of their gender.

Antidepressants are the only cure for Depression

Not really. There are some people on whom antidepressants don’t work. To know if a certain medication is effective or not, it is important that an individual seeks a professional to look into her/his condition. One must make choice of the medication only after a thorough examination.

If you know someone who is going through depression or someone who shows the symptoms of being affected by the condition (including you), here is the list of helplines where you can seek help.

Take Rest, Jonghyun

Jonghyun did everything in his power to help overcome his suffering. He was an artist who always tried to support his juniors, a friend who was always there for his loved ones and a socially aware being who used his popularity to draw people’s attention to issues concerning his country. We are proud of whom he was and we will always look up to him to motivate ourselves to work hard for our happiness and dreams.

You did well, Jonghyun. Please rest now.

To the readers, who are reading this post, please remember that you are not alone. Even though you feel like there is no hope left, just remember that there is always one person who loves you more than you love yourself. Reach out to your loved ones, talk to them and seek help. There is no need to feel embarrassed. We are human beings and we have right to feel sad and we definitely have the right to lead a peaceful life. So, please talk.

CelebMix is all ears and we are rooting for you.

Written by Ayushi

Hi! I am Ayushi from India. The only thing that is consistent about me is my passion for writing and reading. Weaving words to form a story is the best thing I know and the only thing I want to do.
"Writer by nature is a dreamer, a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

If you want, you can follow me on Twitter using the handle @ayushidelhi1996