Health and K-pop Part 3 — Depression and Coping

By itself, music can be a fantastic coping mechanism, especially for fans with depression. It can be so easy to channel emotions through song selection and find solace in the lyrics or instrumentals.  One great benefit of listening to K-pop as an international fan is the inability to understand the language at first; while to some it may seem like a barrier in music appreciation, most know that not being able to understand the lyrics allows the listener to learn how to appreciate the music first. The lyrics–whether they are sad or joyful–are simply an added bonus.
With those two aspects, though, some unsafe consequences tend to arise. In the past, unhealthy and dangerous movements like self-harming for idols have occurred as a result of depressing music or a dating scandal and the biggest sufferers of these movements are the fans. Fans get so wrapped up in using music as a means of expression or relation that they often forget how many other coping mechanisms besides music exist; their condition can also be made worse by upsetting lyrics when an idol reveals personal struggles. For example, if a fan who deals with battling suicidal thoughts and depressions were to hear a song that speaks of the artist’s personal conflict with those issues, it could trigger the fan increase of harmful thoughts.
Usually, if an average person sees that they and the idol they love are struggling with the same symptoms it becomes very difficult to heal oneself. Because fans’ love for idols is so strong, they often worry about making the artist feel better before they worry about taking care of themselves and this can stunt mental growth and well-being.  As a human being, it is extremely important to recognize that your own mental health should come before anyone else–famous or not.  Therefore, experimenting with other coping mechanisms besides music is a wonderful opportunity to not only improve your own current mental state but to also pick up tricks on how to avoid becoming overly involved with an idol’s issue in the future as well.
When thinking of a comparison for this, the best that comes to mind is an oxygen mask on a plane. Those who have flown before are aware that before every flight takes off, the flight attendants instruct passengers that in a situation that calls for the use of the oxygen masks, it is important to secure your own mask first before helping others. The same can be said for fans and idols. When dealing with depression, it is important to take care of your own mind and make sure that you are healthy and well before attempting to help others. Remember that idols have their own family, friends, members, and managers who can help them with their rough times.
Some examples of other great coping mechanisms are: physical activity, reading a book, sleeping, styling hair and makeup, cleaning, cooking, eating, and writing. When you are depressed and wish to listen to music, it’s best to just focus on the instrumentals in the song and not necessarily the lyrics. This effectively allows fans to channel their energy through a song but also gives them freedom of thought and emotion while listening. But most importantly, remember to talk to someone! In the present moment, talking may seem like an ineffective method of coping, but speaking with a licensed therapist or psychologist is the first step to improving mental well-being.

For more information about music’s effect on the mind, read this article on Psychology Today . If you want to know more about various coping mechanisms for dealing with depression, click here.

*To find a local psychologist in your area, please click here.
*If you feel like you pose an immediate danger to yourself or to others, please contact 911 immediately*

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