Yesterday, I received shocking news about the suicide of my favourite k-pop artist, Kim Jonghyun, while I was at a yoga studio I’ve been going to regularly. I just finished a Pound Fitness class when my friend texted me to ask if I heard about it yet.

If you don’t know, I have been a huge k-pop fan since I was 13 years old. At the time, I fell in love with a k-pop group called SHINee. It’s a group of five boys and I’ve been a devoted fan and supporter ever since. I sat at my computer everyday to make sure I was all caught up on the latest SHINee news. I was on Omonatheydidn’t (a k-pop forum site) everyday. I sat at my television to watch their performances every week. I followed every comeback, every album release, every single release, every music video release, every concert, every award show. I bought every album, I own so many of their posters. So, imagine how sad I was when I heard the heart-wrenching news. Jonghyun was my favourite member so it made the news even more devastating. And it just made mental health awareness even more prevalent to me.

Jonghyun was such a talented man. He was so kind-hearted and humble. He was a beautiful soul. He constantly gave kind, empowering and motivating words to others. He was dedicated and hard-working to his work, to his music, to his fans. He cried at every concert because he always felt so overwhelmed by the love he gave and received. He was loved by thousands and thousands of people. But he was still depressed and hated himself. I can’t imagine the pain he was in that it actually drove him to take his own life. The pain he felt must have been so strong that the only way he could shut out his inner demons was light a fire and experience a very slow death.

The amount of love he is receiving even after his passing is absolutely incredible and it crushes my heart. The tears people are shedding and the kind words people are sharing. Jonghyun was such a big part of my life that I had friends who texted me to check if I’m okay, that my family immediately thought of me when they saw the news. Even when they know little to nothing about k-pop. An old high school friend who I haven’t spoken to for six years got my number and texted me to see how I was holding up. It’s amazing how his death is bringing people together and it breaks my heart to know that he can’t see it.

Mental health awareness has always been an important issue to me. I know how hard life can get. I’ve been there. I have never been severely depressed and I have never had to fight suicidal thoughts but life is hard for me too. I try hard to keep things together but some days are harder than most days. I have my own inner demons that I have to fight and to be honest, the fight has been a bit tougher lately. My negative thoughts have been a bit louder and I’ve had to fight them more often. Just two Saturdays ago, I was bawling my eyes out in my room. I was sad for very little reason, and I was more sad that I was sad for very little reason. I can have a thousand good things and one bad thing happen to me in a day and my mind would always wander to the one bad thing that it drives me absolutely crazy. My mind is attracted to negative emotions like a moth is to flame. I’m lucky that I’m strong enough to know when my negative emotions are unwarranted. I’m lucky that I’m strong enough to be able to let out some tears then pick myself up and choose to take charge of my emotions. But not everyone is as lucky to be as strong and I know that.

If you’re dealing with mental health issues, please get help. Call a hotline, talk to someone. Please know that you’re not alone and I am here with you. Please know that you’re strong enough to fight the voices in your head, that you can take charge, that you can choose to not let your depression consume and define you.

In regards with SHINee, I really do hope they will disband. As much as I would like them to move on, I don’t think the group can ever be the same without Jonghyun, especially with how tragic their lost is. If they do decide to disband, I hope they end it with a song dedicated to him. Jonghyun was preparing for a new album too, I hope SM would release the album. I think that’s what he wanted. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have worked so hard on it while planning his suicide.

Goodbye, Jonghyun. We all love you very much.

Talk again soon,
Hani Lutfi

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