The Making of an A.R.M.Y
My Story of Discovering BTS and Myself
This paper could trigger anyone with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. PLEASE be advised, and do not read this if you don’t think you can handle these themes.
The setting is two years ago, the end of my junior year of high school, leading into my senior year. Everything fell apart around me, and nobody was there to care that I was falling apart, too. Nobody was there to catch me if I fell, and if I failed. I had nobody, and nothing. I was with a boy who distanced me from my friends, and made me feel that only he cared about me, but he really didn’t. He took advantage of my vulnerabilities.
At the same time, we found out that my dad had cancer. At first, we thought he was going to pull through. We all had hopes, his being the highest. For the first time in my life, after we found out that he was going to die, I saw the bravest man I’ve ever known cry. I had never seen him so vulnerable, and I knew immediately what it meant.
I watched all the life drain out of my dad’s eyes at the mere age of 16. Some people have to suffer this younger, I know. But it’s a bad memory no matter your age. Following his death, our landlords sent a sympathy letter, and within it, an eviction notice. They kicked us out of the only place we had to live because they thought we wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, even after we proved that we could.
Flash forward to my senior year. I miss my dad, now more than ever. I took a full-time job as a parcel clerk to help my family financially in my dad’s absence. I did full-time high school online, and ran myself into the ground in the process. During this time, after my dad’s death and moving from my home, the boy I mentioned dumped me for somebody else, truly making me feel as though nobody cared about me.
Moving forward again, we get to the day where I was to kill myself.
But first, backstory. My childhood certainly was safer than some had it, but my parents were absent. I love them nonetheless, but they weren’t very good parents in my most vital years. I instead raised myself and my younger sister, sustaining myself on music and books. Music made me feel apart of something I’d never had before, making me feel like I belonged somewhere. That’s not something I could get from anywhere else. My family was the definition of dysfunctional, and I was bullied all throughout school for various reasons. Even when I made friends, they would always leave me for someone better, someone worth spending time with.
This lead to me developing depression in my early childhood, and I’ve been living with it since. After the break down that occurred after last years in high school, I’ve been struggling massively, asking myself who I was before depression. But for me, that question is a hard one to answer, since I developed it so early. Many people struggle with rediscovering who they were before depression, but for me… There was no “me” before depression. There’s just depression. And it is so scary to try and figure myself out at such a late age. I’ve always struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, it’s all I can definitively remember.
I blame myself for everything, and I keep it all inside me. I never let anyone know, because I feel that my problems aren’t real, and that if I tell anyone, I’ll annoy them so much they’ll leave me, too. Even if it’s my family, and they really can’t run away from me. I internalize everything, and it used to be so much worse, because I had no outlet to get it out of my system. I was a ticking time-bomb, my end unknown to everyone – Nobody even saw me suffering, which made it easier to suffer in silence.
All of this building up did, eventually, cause me to break. This breakdown triggered me to finally end it all. I felt that I was a burden on my family – I’d have given anything to be dead rather than my dad. I would’ve taken his place without hesitation, and I wouldn’t have regretted it for a second. But that’s not how life works. He’s gone, and I’m still here. And now I have to take care of my family. I figured if I killed myself, that would lift financial burden from my mom, and make things easier for her to take care of my little brother.
My grades were looking horrible, my job left me in pain for a very meager salary, and I felt that nobody was there for me, especially if I broke. And I knew I would break at any moment. I was working so hard, and I had nothing to show for it. Even with how hard I was working, running myself into the ground to make money and get into college, I felt that it was for nothing. I still feel that way sometimes, but that’s when I turn to music.
That day that I planned on ending it is so vibrant in my memories. I planned to kill myself in the bathtub, so the cleanup was easier on… Whoever found me. I had pills, I had a knife, and I had my phone playing music to cover up any sound I might make as I caused pain to myself. I’d never inflicted damage on myself before, so I didn’t know what to expect. This is important – My phone was on a Spotify radio. Those songs can change at any moment depending on your music history on the app, and which songs you like. I don’t know what it was – A fluke in the system, a glitch with the algorithms – But by some crazy turn of fate, BTS came onto that radio. It was a song called “Spring Day”. And I will admit, I’ve always had a very big issue with being able to respond to emotions correctly. I was never socialized very well (I sound like I’m talking about a dog, but this is true), and so I don’t respond like a regular human. My biggest flaw besides being so hard on myself, is my sociality. I. Can’t. Human. Not even alone by myself. It’s gotten better, but at this time, I had no idea how to work emotions out, or form very coherent thoughts on how I was feeling, or why.
I struggled mostly with expressing my emotions in a “correct” way. I had only cried very few before this mental breakdown, and one of those was when my dad died. But this song. This. Song. The second I heard their voices, I started crying. I cried so hard, and so loud, I swear to this day whatever nasty thing was in me, making me want to kill myself, I just cried it out. I mean, I cried for hours because of this song. But you know what? It’s just what I needed. I needed to feel, to let it out, and to grieve. I couldn’t understand the words then, but I could understand the feelings. And looking back at the words – The song means to me just what I needed it to mean.
This song is about missing someone, and how things can’t go back the way they were before. Everything changes, seasons come and go, Spring ends. For me, I miss two people. I miss my dad so much, everyday of my life. We all do. He was the smile of the family, he brought us together. It’s been two years, and we’re still so mopey without him. He was the one that made us all laugh and smile no matter what type of mood we were in. In our little universe, I truly think he was the stars. His beauty alone might not outshine the sun, but there’s so much of him, so much of that bright, happy personality, that it overtakes even the darkest parts of your mind, reaching farther than the sun ever could. He might not have known the issues we were facing, but he could still make us smile.
Out of all the regrets in life, I regret not spending more time with him. I regret that I hated fishing, and hunting, and having asthma to prevent me from going on hikes with him. I regret that he had to work so much, that we never got to see him until he was sick. But I am thankful that we got time with him after his illness became a reality – I’m so thankful for everyday more we got with him. Everyday I was hoping, asking the universe to just give us one more day with him. Just one more day before all those bright, beautiful stars died out, leaving us in the dark.
I still wish we could have him back. I can’t make my family happy like he could, especially with us all missing him. I know he wouldn’t want us to remember him and cry, but I can’t help it. I miss him so much.
Of course, this is a more pessimistic interpretation of the song – But it means more to me as well. As I said before, I’ve had depression since my early childhood. Discovering your personality before depression is a difficult task in the first place, but I have even less to work with than some people. The other meaning of this song to me is, I miss myself. I want this eternal winter to end – For the depression to leave me alone, and for spring to begin. My dad was my spring, the cherry blossoms in the wind, the vast, endless starry sky at night. He was that peaceful bliss that spring brings to all of us. But now I have to get through winter without him, and make that spring myself. Winter will end, I will make it. I want to get to spring, and I will fight to get there.
BTS helped me gain myself back. Now it’s my turn to take over, and beat my depression. I will get through this, I know it. And I cannot wait to see the cherry blossoms, the beautiful night sky, and all of the wonders that spring brings. I will see them someday, because I won’t give up again. I am so thankful that BTS appeared during such a vulnerable time for me – I can’t imagine leaving my family behind, or the pain that might bring them. I wouldn’t be able to go on without them, and I imagine they must feel the same. And I should have realized that sooner.
This song, and this band, also helped me reconnect with those friends that I thought I had lost during those two years. I realized that they can’t hurt me in a way that matters if they reject me, but that if we can become friends again, they would learn to love me for who I truly am, the person I am now.
My family and dear friends are all I have left, and I love them with every single fiber of my being. Now I’ll fight for them, and for myself. And I will bring us spring.